The so-called ‘gen II’ Suzuki Swift Sport launched in Oz in 2012. It arrived off the back of complicated history of badge-engineered Holden Barinas, an early Noughties Suzuki Ignis Sport (known as Swift Sport in Japan), and a properly global ‘RS416’ Swift family, complete with a version of the Swift Sport light sport hatch as Aussies now know it, lobbing in January 2006.
To confuse matters for the contemporary used tyre kicker, a whole new (slightly) larger ‘AZG’ Swift family lobbed internationally in 2010 and locally in 2011, styled so similarly to its
predecessor to be almost unnoticeable if you didn’t pay attention to, say, its 50mm longer wheelbase and slightly rounder design.
Well, versions other than the feisty Swift Sport. Trivia suggests that the Swift Sport version made its global debut in concept at the 2011 Australian Motor Show as the S-Concept, with the production version surfacing in local showrooms in early 2012.
Buried in an era when ‘sport’ in small-stature motoring meant little more brash colour and stickers, the Swift Sport was the real deal and its frisky driving experience would catch the unknowledgeable by pleasant surprise. It grabbed the sporty groundwork of its similar looking forebear and, critically, ran with it in the right places if you were after a bit of cheap fun.
Known as the FZ series, it hit the market starting from $23,990 for the no-brainer six-speed manual, undercutting the older version’s 2005 debut by a thousand bucks. For the first time, you could also have the Swift Sport as an auto, with its paddleshifter CVT – marketed as a “seven- speed” – wanting for two-grand-higher outlay.
Power arrive via a version of the M16A 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four used in the rest of the range, tuned to 100kW at a lofty 6900rpm and 160Nm well up at 4400rpm. Reviews around the time of launch pegs performance at around the eight second mark for 0-100km/h. Driven sedately, it’s claimed to return 6.5L/100kms in manual or 6.1L in CVT guise.
The big drawcard, though, is the frisky chassis. The combination of low-profile 17s, firmer suspension and some extra body stiffness in a package tipping the scales at just 1050 kilograms kerb (manual), it’s been widely praised for its lithe dynamics, precision and grip. Strong braking, too, conspired to a package that begged to be spanked and reward handsomely once you did, making it something of a sporting bargain on a shoestring budget.
The Swift Sport also offered a decent features list for the dough. A subtle body kit separated it from the grocery-getter range mates, it fits bi-xenon headlights, leather sport seats, six-speaker audio with CD player, cruise control, climate control, a multifunctional leather wheel and power windows.
The extra wheelbase, too, paid dividend in second-row cabin space and being a five door it’s reasonably practical for its diminutive, sub-four-metre size.
Probably the pick of the generation are MY14 or latter examples that arrived from October 2013. It here that the five-cog manual was upgraded to a proper six-speeder, albeit with no extra herbs under the bonnet.
The ‘gen II’ FZ Swift Sport would continue in release until mid-2017, when it was replaced by an all-new Swift range, headlined by the current, angular-styled, 1.4-turbocharged Swift Sport successor, itself a barrel of laughs for what remains quite a sharp price point.