RE: Shed of the Week | Suzuki Swift Sport

RE: Shed of the Week | Suzuki Swift Sport

Friday 6th September

Shed of the Week | Suzuki Swift Sport

Another Shed debutant, as the first - and some might say the best - Swift Sport drops below that magic threhold



Relatively happy times in the Shed household just now. They've bought a carpet.

Not a new carpet. A carpet. It's their first. Up to now Shed has always resisted the cosy allure of shag pile. Mrs Shed's eating habits are such that, for really fast and efficient room cleaning, vacuum finishes a long way behind water pumped in at very high pressure.

However, advancing years and the increasing porosity of the brick flooring have brought a change of heart. With a strict promise from Mrs Shed that she will only eat standing up in the utility room from now on, Shed has agreed to the installation of a knockoff Axminster remnant in the lounge. Now he will grudgingly admit that he is enjoying the feeling of warm fibrous tufts between his toes, rather than the usual squelch of a mushy pea or the irritating grind of a sesame seed bun crumb.


Mainly, though, he's enjoying the novelty of something new and different. He gets a similar jolt of joy whenever a new car pops up on his Shed of the Week radar, like this Suzuki Swift Sport.

The Sport was launched in 2005 as a rorted-up version of the gen-two (2004-10) Swift. Grossly overpaid footballist Christiano Ronaldo pretended he liked it in this German telly ad, but the car actually didn't need any grubby selling tactics. It sold itself through positive road tests, which quickly revealed that Suzuki had neatly leveraged its move into WRC by creating a properly sorted supermini. With 123hp from the zingy 7,000rpm 1.6 VVT motor, uprated clutch, sharpened gearchange, steering and throttle, 0-60 in the eights, stiffer Monroe dampers and springs, 17in alloys, beancan zorsts, bumper-car body kit and a tough contrast-stiched interior, it was the sort of thing ordinary punters might have made for themselves if it hadn't turned up in the showroom.

Obviously the Sport was a good bit down on power against something like a Renaultsport Clio 197, and the combination of low gearing (4,000rpm/70mph) and a long trek up the tacho for peak power (6,800rpm) meant that it wouldn't be your first choice for long motorway drones, but on smaller roads the 1105kg Sport did a more than passable impersonation of a 106 GTI, albeit without the real or imagined flimsiness of the French motor.


Subsequent models have progressively lost the up-and-at-'em Jack Russell charm of that first Sport. Gentrification and currency fluctuations have hiked the prices too, so a clean-looking example of what some consider to be the seminal Sport for just Β£1,200 has plenty of appeal.

Our one seems to have a small tear on the driver's seat bolster, but that's the only flaw that Shed can see. There's no mention of any service history, and the MOT isn't that long, but there's nothing on the MOT record to suggest any serious problems either now or in the past. It failed last November on an illuminated engine management light, but that was rectified. Some front suspension wear was noted as an advisory, along with a worn rear tyre. Oddly, the car doesn't seem to have done any mileage since that test pass, which would certainly warrant a polite inquiry if you're thinking of taking the plunge.

If you do reawaken this little Suzuki from its slumbers, what foibles might you encounter? Well, they are a bit famous for developing squeaks and rattles, which seems to be almost a rite of passage for many firmly-suspended small cars. Windows, exhaust heat shields, suspension components and in particular the dash are known for making their presence felt. Fixing the dash may well require a complete stripdown and reassembly with new clips. Rattling windows might be nothing more than a loose bolt, but again it's a time-consumer to sort. If you're slightly deaf or you drive everywhere at 6,000rpm and above then none of this will be an issue.


The M16A 1.6 engine runs its cams by chain rather than belt, which is potentially good, but Swift transmissions and clutches aren't up there with the best in terms of reliability or ease of use. The Sport box's input shaft is a weak point and can cost upwards of Β£700 to put right. The handbrake mechanism isn't that clever either and can uncalibrate itself. Even after the factory recall they never worked that well. Paintwork can seem a bit thin and small bumps can be very expensive to repair if you want to restore panels (especially the big wraparound bumpers) to pristine condition. The front tyres will wear away quite quickly, and some owners recommend posh petrol for smooth running.

All that apart, the Swift Sport is a game little chappie that will make you smile when you walk up to it in the mornings. At Β£1,200, this one looks like real value to Shed. He paid more than that for his new carpet - and according to the last line of the ad, this car comes with its own front passenger. Anything has to be an improvement on the one he's got at the moment.


Here's the ad

Search for a Suzuki Sport Swift here

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Author
Discussion

Cambs_Stuart

Original Poster:

596 posts

29 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
I didn't realise these were getting that cheap. Looks like a great fun town/station car. Or an entertaining second car that can carry children...

Edited by Cambs_Stuart on Friday 6th September 22:29

Nerdherder

1,273 posts

42 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Cambs_Stuart said:
I didnt realise these were getting that cheap. Looks like a great fun town/station car. Or an entertaining second car that can carry children...
Excellent car for the school run! Wish they'd dip into shed (money) territory on the continent too!

Arsecati

292 posts

62 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Absolute little cracker! If I was still living in the city and still needed a cheap, fun runaround, I don't think this could be beaten for the price (and would save putting unnecessary mileage on my 205 GTi!!). Then again, if I was also a young fella again looking for a cheap first or second car - this would probably tick most boxes too...... assuming the insurance wasn't too much of a killer! Admittedly, I much prefer seeing big V8 barges coming in to shedland, but I can totally appreciate this little terrier too - far less a heart-breaker to run too!

Jayho

1,814 posts

115 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Great wee little shed for nipping round town. It would have been brilliant if they retained the recaro seats previously found in the Ignis Sport.

I'm pretty sure the Suzuki was already completing in rallying with the Ignis before the swift came along though?

Gandahar

7,074 posts

73 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
This is the short of car that you buying for nipping about and dog walks and then Mrs Shed catches you on Demon Tweeks looking at track day tyres. You spend more and more time on PH finding out about EBC and Pagid.

2 months in

Mrs Shed "Where have the rear seats gone?"

PS Another funny piece from Tony. Can you still buy that book you did?


Quadcamboy

35 posts

152 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
They're great on track too! I chased one all night at Teesside autodrome and couldn't get passed. Misfire above 5000rpm when hot is my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Fella said all he'd modded was removing spare wheel and air con.

Gandahar

7,074 posts

73 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Quadcamboy said:
They're great on track too! I chased one all night at Teesside autodrome and couldn't get passed. Misfire above 5000rpm when hot is my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Fella said all he'd modded was removing spare wheel and air con.
Your keyboard misfiring made me first in our "great minds think alike" posts tongue out ..

RaineyDays

72 posts

45 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Had one for a couple of years (YG07 XSB if you are still around) and found them great fun, very reliable and cheap to run.

Interior is a little ‘cheap’ but you get that will all budget Jap cars

Sadly a job change meaning a quite long motorway drive meant the little SSS had to go. I used it for a couple of months but the noise was just too harsh.

I’d certainly have another as a shopping car/ school run car

generationx

2,348 posts

50 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
I worked at the rally team when Suzuki did these for the JWRC. Road car: great. Rally car: awesome!


horsemeatscandal

441 posts

49 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Often consider buying one of these on the cheap to complete the collection. Look cool in white with the black chequer decals.

Cold

7,293 posts

35 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Quadcamboy said:
They're great on track too! I chased one all night at Teesside autodrome and couldn't get passed. Misfire above 5000rpm when hot is my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Fella said all he'd modded was removing spare wheel and air con.
They don't have a spare wheel.

Ilovejapcrap

2,673 posts

57 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all

The swift sport mk1 and mk2 are so underrated (yes i have a mk2) sick of hearing not fast enough not enough power etc. I say it on many swift threads they are a hoot.

My 66 plate is my daily and used from thrashing around the back lanes to 300 mile trips to sisters (the 6th gear in mk2 helps).



still have fond memories of the day i picked mine up smile

Cambs_Stuart

Original Poster:

596 posts

29 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Gandahar said:
This is the short of car that you buying for nipping about and dog walks and then Mrs Shed catches you on Demon Tweeks looking at track day tyres. You spend more and more time on PH finding out about EBC and Pagid.

2 months in

Mrs Shed "Where have the rear seats gone?"
3 months. "Was the suspension always that hard?"
4 months. "The exhaust seems to be really noisy?"

Edited by Cambs_Stuart on Friday 6th September 22:31

trickywoo

8,035 posts

175 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
I had a 1.5 in that shape and now the next model on sport.

Great cars and cheap to run too.

I bought my 1.5 as a bit of a shed with 50k miles on highly suspecting it hadn’t had an oil change for a long time. I took it to over 90k with no problems. Never used a drop of oil and sounded sweet.

Quadcamboy

35 posts

152 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Cold said:
They don't have a spare wheel.
Musta been back seats, foggy recall

durbster

7,312 posts

167 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
My car had to go into the garage a couple of weeks so we were forced to take the wife's one of these on a long Bank Holiday drive up to the Lake District. As much as I enjoy the odd blast in it, I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of a long drive in a car that's quite noisy at motorway speeds and a bit too hyperactive for heavy traffic. It has a bit of an excited puppy on a lead feel when you're crawling.

As it turned out, it was bloody brilliant. It ate up the miles, five hours passed in no time and of course when we got off the motorways it was a joy. It reminded me of my MX-5, where even journeys that should be a chore are still somehow fun.

It's not perfect - the driving position is too upright, the gear lever is in an awkward place for me and it's crying out for the clicky precision of a Honda or Mazda gearbox. It's also surprisingly thirsty and does have a few creaks and rattles as in the article, but all of that falls away when you're chucking the thing about.

To be honest, that journey has had me thinking of how I can get that driving buzz back in my life.

Court_S

1,159 posts

122 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
I didn’t realise these were so cheap! Should have bought one for my other half instead of her cheapy 116 we bought from the in laws.

I really like these, there’s something very cool about them. An uncle had one of the early ones way back in white which he bought from a family member. That was a really reliable little thing.

PaulV

223 posts

171 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
They are great little cars.

As well as a normal round town car we use it for:-
  • Autotest
  • Autosolo
  • 12 Car & 20/20 Navigational Rallies
  • Targa Rallies
Also did the Gurston Down Hillclimb school.

Will probably get a newer one for the town work and migrate this into a bit more hard core.



Turbobanana

1,465 posts

146 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
It's a few years back now, but I sold Suzukis for 3 years and almost exclusively ran one of these as a demonstrator because the sales manager needed a 5-door. Some thoughts:

- Massive fun to drive, even though my commute to work was a 60-mile A-road round trip
- If you're tall, they're really only a 2-seater because the (comfy) sports seats are so huge
- Be prepared for 27 mpg if you "extend it throughout its operating range"
- Dull colour choices (Mk1s like this were red, black, silver only - white came along later then the Mk2s got blue, yellow etc): this is why most seem to have a stripe kit, whether OEM accessory or otherwise
As has been hinted at in other posts, they are noisy but in a good way (never put the radio on in mine), do not need more power but could use a 6-speed (came later), have a tolerable ride and handle well.

For the money this is a grade A Shed.

Dabooka

248 posts

50 months

Friday 6th September
quotequote all
Currently running a Z32, and yes it is more refined but it's also better to live with day by day.

However I'd have one of these in a heartbeat, and at that price it's a no brainer. Cheap as anything to run including decent tyres, I've always used 'posh peteol' too, and easy to self service. Apart from the above points handbrake cables are known to stretch but again cheap to replace and easy to do.

Paint is thin, panels do show car park battles and rattles do occur. New headunit recommended as are the speakers (possibly) otherwise don't be tempted to modify it and enjoy it as is.

You'll leave nothing standing as they're too slow - you can fun with diesels coming off roundabouts who try and shove you aside - but b roads are great fun. Great city cars to boot. Oh, speaking of boots there isn't one (or a spare wheel either). Big shops are a challenge.

To think you can buy a tidy unmolested example for this little is astonishing.