Car Review: New Suzuki Swift Sport and Vitara Turbo

Suzuki boosts its Swift and Vitara range with these exciting additions. We’ve had some time with both new models and here’s what we think you should know…

This week (July 2019) Suzuki South Africa added two exciting range-topping models to the local market. With both models having received an extra ‘boost’ with the addition of Suzuki’s 1.4-litre BOOSTERJET engine, we headed to Red Star Raceway – dubbed ‘TURBO TOWN” – for some exhilarating fun with the new Suzuki Swift Sport and Vitara Turbo.

The 2019 Suzuki Swift Sport

Suzuki’s hottest hatch adds sporty appeal and enhanced driving dynamics to the brand’s latest standard Swift – which has been the brand’s strongest seller for 2019.

“The Swift Sport heralds a new era for Suzuki South Africa by introducing our modern BOOSTERJET turbocharged engine technology to our range. This engine won the IATIA Engine of the Year Award in 2018 and with 230 Nm of torque, it will no-doubt be welcomed by Swift Sport and hot hatch enthusiasts alike,” says André Venter, divisional manager for sales and marketing at Suzuki Auto South Africa.

Super Swift Styling

As you’d expect the Swift Sport is by no means sedated when it comes to styling. It has every intention of standing out with enthusiastic, racy looks that include an all-new front design – unique to the Swift Sport – 16-inch diamond-cut and polished alloy wheels with low profile tyres, and all the sporty kit you’d expect to give it its ground-hugging, hot hatch look. If you want the specifics click here.

While the Swift Sport’s design work, with its front splitter and spoilers, sure do look good, they also serve an important role when it comes to performance. In fact, these design elements contribute to 10% more aerodynamic efficiency over the Swift Sport’s predecessor.

Champion Yellow is one of the iconic exterior colours that 2019 Swift Sport buyers have to choose from, and avid fans may recognize it from the championship-winning Super 1600 Suzuki Swift Sport that claimed the Junior World Rally Championships in the early 2000s. Six other colours are available, namely Burning Red, Speedy Blue, Pure White, Super Black, Premium Silver and Mineral Grey.

Inside, the Suzuki Swift Sport offers a vibrant and sporty interior that includes highlights like red and chrome detailing, a thick-rimmed D-shaped steering wheel, stainless steel sport pedals and special semi-bucket seats, to name just a few.

The model also features Suzuki’s new 7” touch screen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a reverse camera, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, steering mounted controls and cruise control.

Extra Torque for the Swift Sport

Powered by Suzuki’s 1.4-litre BOOSTERJET engine (replacing the previous generation’s 1.6-litre engine), the 2019 Swift Sport gets 230 Nm of torque (70 more than the outgoing model,) which makes for livelier acceleration and less work at the gearstick. It also delivers 103 kW of power and because the new Swift Sport is so much lighter in body weight (and lower in height) it can rocket from 0 – 100 km/hour in just 8 seconds! We were treated to various track activities at Red Star, and during a fun hot lap session with the Swift’s manual gearbox, most of us could practically do the entire half-circuit while staying in fourth-gear.

That being said, the Swift Sport isn’t designed to be powerful. Instead, the real joy of its performance comes from its lightweight body structure that Suzuki engineers spent many long and hard hours perfecting in order to offer new customers an enhanced driving experience. “To shave more than 10% of its body weight in this iteration took a great deal of planning and design,” says the automaker. All aspects of the vehicle, including its doors, body construction, allow wheels, engine, seats and interior fittings had to be lightened – and it all had to be done without compromising on safety.

DID YOU KNOW? The new Swift Sport has twice as much ultra-high tensile steel as its predecessor.  

On The Topic Of Safety… 

The Sport model has no less than six airbags (two front, side and curtain airbags), electronic stability control (ESP) and ABS braking with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assistance (EBD). There are anchored ISOFIX mounting points for infant and child seats, side impact protection and child locks on the rear doors.

The Suzuki Swift Sport is an exciting contender for our local market and for those looking for an affordable hot hatch – or perhaps, for regular Swift fans looking to kick things up a notch. If you’ve experienced the regular Swift’s lightweight driving dynamics, the Swift Sport is going to impress you even more!


Suzuki Swift Sport 1.4 TURBO MT: R315 900

Suzuki Swift Sport 1.4 TURBO AT: R335 900

The Swift Sport will be sold with a 4-year / 60 000 km service plan and a 5-year / 200 000 km vehicle warranty.

The 2019 Suzuki Vitara Turbo

We know that the Swift Sport is one exciting little car that’s got everyone talking, but the Vitara Turbo is likely to be the model that our readers will want to know about – because after all, SUVs are all the rage when it comes down our female market. If you think the new Vitara Turbo is going to be underwhelming after reading all about the new Swift Sport, the good news is that Suzuki has added the same 1.4-litre BOOSTERJET engine to this particular derivative. That means that customers can now opt for 220 Nm of torque, which – for a 1.4-litre SUV – is pretty impressive and noticeable on the highways, especially when overtaking slow-moving vehicles. It comes in at a price of R378 900 for the 1.4 TURBO GLX manual derivative, however customers can still opt for the regular 1.6-litre model in the range, which starts at R287 900.

We had the opportunity to sample the new TURBO Vitara for ourselves during our test drive from OR Tambo Airport to Red Star Raceway this week, and that extra bit of oomph is worth the extra expense if you’ve been waiting for it. Still, even with extra torque fuel consumption is claimed at 5.8-litre for the manual model and 5.9-litres for the auto. We only had the manual option (which adds a sixth gear) to sample at the launch and we averaged around 6.2-litres in heavy traffic and heavy-footed driving due to our over-excitement on route to the racetrack.

We had the opportunity to drive over a fair amount of gravel road during our test drive and I found that the level of comfort when driving over bumps (and there were lots of unexpected and unavoidable ones) was outstanding. As the Vitara TURBO’s power is sent to the front wheels, driving behaviour needs to be appropriately adjusted when travelling on dirt roads – if you don’t want things to get slippery.

In terms of its looks the Vitara TURBO gets the same specification and equipment levels as the range-topping GLX grade. This includes 17-inch alloy wheels and the choice of five solid colours and seven dual-tone colours, where the body colour is contrasted by the choice of a black or white roof, depending on the colour chosen.

If you want to know more about what the new Vitara TURBO offers click here.