I’ve owned a 2008 Suzuki Swift Sport Mk1 for a year or so now, but lately have been doing a lot of motorway miles and the short gearing of the Mk1 is really starting to grate. In case you are not aware, at 70mph (GPS-verified rather than speedometer) the engine is pulling 4000rpm in 5th gear and is quite a noisy and unrefined place to be. It can get very wearing.
Today I test drove a 2015 Suzuki Swift Sport Mk2, and here are my thoughts on it.
First the good things:
It feels like it is in the next class up, with a much more contemporary interior, nicer seats, much better ergonomics, much higher level of equipment, and all altogether much nicer place to be. The leather steering wheel is a nice bit of tactile luxury. It also has a lower seating position which I liked a lot. It makes the Mk1 look and feel very dated, basic and cheap.
The 6th gear is a very welcome addition, as is the more comfortable ride and much better sound proofing. It is far quieter, more refined and more comfortable than the Mk1. When I took it out onto the motorway and set the cruise control, it felt like a car that could eat up the miles on my daily 100 mile round trip commute. Overall, a much more grown up car, and something you could use every day – far more so than the Mk1 which is extremely wearing on the motorway.
Now the bad things:
It has no character. All the fizz, vigour, vivaciousness and hooliganism of the Mk1 has been dialled back or lost altogether, and the Mk2 feels rather soulless and anodyne. The controls are way too light and lack the precision of the Mk1. Also completely gone is the way the Mk1 will pivot around you and put a smile on your face from doing something as trivial as a flick-flack through a mini-roundabout. It just all felt a little joyless in the Mk2. Furthermore, you forgive the lack of power in the Mk1 because it has such great throttle response, and because it is such fizzy fun. However, it’s much harder to forgive the Mk2 because, although it has more power and is lighter, the throttle response is much less sharp, there is more flywheel effect, there is less engine braking effect, and the whole thing feels more sluggish despite also feeling slightly more accelerative. I realise that this doesn’t really make much sense, but it’s palpable.
After I had finished the test drive and returned to the dealership, I realised that for the whole drive I had been trying to like the Mk2, and had been trying to convince myself that it would be ok if I bought it. There were rare fleeting glimpses of the Mk1 but they were mere echoes. When I left the dealership in my Mk1, it only took one mini-roundabout to get me grinning and thinking “God, I love the Mk1”. That pretty much said it all really. The clutch in the Mk1 felt really heavy after the Mk2 though, but the steering had so much more heft and precision, the gearbox was more snicketty, the brakes were more positive (although that might be down to the fact that I run EBC Yellow Stuff pads), and it just felt so much more alive.
Summary: (for those for whom the above is TL;DR)
The Swift Sport grew up and is a better daily driver for it. But also far less fun.