Here's a question. If your mainstream (i.e. not exotic) car choices were restricted to a single brand for the rest of your life, which brand would you choose?
This is a difficult one for poor old Shed because Lea Francis went out of business more than fifty years ago. But if you forced him to choose between the car companies that are somehow still managing to stay in business today, in spite of everything that's going on, he might well plump for Suzuki.
Why? Well, there's a no-nonsense honesty about the company that Shed really likes. Their products are in no way flashy, but they are functional and reliable and they have a certain sense of self-deprecating charm and style, the latest Jimny being a good example of that. With the possible exception of the latest Swift Sport, Suzuki prices are generally on the button too. Given Mrs Shed's trencherman appetite for chocolate eclairs, this is a major point in their favour.
Perhaps most importantly of all from Shed's perspective is the fact that Suzuki also makes excellent motorcycles. When you're putting big, fast performance bikes out into a market populated by engineering titans such as Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha, you soon work out which end of a spanner is the right one, and which materials are the best ones to use.
Knowing that a company like Suzuki has high engineering values is a comfort when you are looking at buying something like this week's Shed, an Ignis Sport from the very last year of production.
The cooking Ignis is the sort of car you'd happily give to your offspring as their first motor. The Sport, maybe not so much, but Shed would be more than happy to be given one as his last motor.
How does it compare against PH's most beloved rollerskate, the Fiat Panda 100HP? Damn well, is the answer. The top whack of 115mph is the same for both, but beyond that it's all Suzuki. At 945kg, it's 30kg lighter than the Fiat. In non-domestic (i.e. Shed) spec - the JDM one had 116hp - it's putting out 107hp against the Panda's 99hp. It all boils down to a 0-60 time of 8.9sec, which is 0.3sec less than the Fiat.
For these pleasing performance specs you can thank the VVT-S's 1.5 twin-cam variably-timed engine, as also seen in the Toyota Yaris T Sport, where it's obliged to breathe through a more restrictive zorst. Suzuki's version of VTEC gives you a thrunge step-up at about 4,000rpm. You have just five ratios to play with, but that's enough for loads of fun, and there are vented brake discs to come to your rescue when that combine harvester appears out of nowhere.
As you can see, the Sport has that slightly peculiar body flangery going on. Luckily it's not so noticeable in red as it is in silver. Inside, you have a nice pair of Recaros to hug you through the corners and give your backside some respite from the merciless pounding being dished out by the less than plush suspension. If Shed's glasses prescription is still up to date, that's a leather-trimmed steering wheel. The rest of the interior is pure plastic of the thin and creaky variety.
Fuel consumption is surprisingly decent though and you get a full MOT on this one, the only advisories pointing to a little play in the offside front top strut mounting, a slightly worn front brake disc, and some brown stuff on the tail pipe - but we've all had that at some point in our lives. Nothing to be ashamed of.