Suzuki will launch its new Swift Sport this summer with a special launch offer that removes £1500 from the list price.
For the month of June only, buyers will be able to purchase the new 975kg pocket rocket for £16,499. From 1 July, the starting price of the third-generation model, which offers higher performance than its predecessor despite a decrease in engine size, will go up to £17,999.
The old car's naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre engine - which was the last in its class to breathe atmospheric air - has been swapped for a 1.4-litre turbocharged motor making 138bhp at 5500rpm and 170lb ft from 2500-3500rpm. Not only are these gains of 4bhp and 52lb ft, but also those respective peak outputs arrive 1400rpm and 1900rpm earlier.
The new model, equipped with the same six-speed manual gearbox as its predecessor, is therefore described by Suzuki chief engineer Masao Kobori as "more fun to drive" across a wider band of the rev range.
Was Suzuki's iconic miniature off-roader’s long-overdue overhaul worth...
The extra grunt also translates into more accelerative performance, with the 0-62mph sprint taking 8.1sec, 0.7sec quicker than the old car, while top speed is 130mph, a 9mph improvement.
The new Swift Sport is Suzuki's first car to be tested under the new WLTP regime, for which it is listed as producing 135g/km of CO2 and offering a combined 47.1mpg. In the outgoing NEDC test, the car produces 125g/km of CO2 and achieves 50.4mpg combined.
As standard, the new Swift Sport sits on 17in alloy wheels and features sportier styling than its siblings. Inside, it features six airbags, automatic air conditioning and a DAB radio with Bluetooth. Additionally, there's a smartphone link touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and a rear-view camera.
Driver assistance technology includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.
Suzuki is confident its new Swift Sport's light weight - it's 70kg lighter than the previous model - and driver-focused handling will be enough to compensate for its power defecit to to rivals, such as the 197bhp 1.5-litre three-pot Ford Fiesta ST.
The Swift Sport's 1.4-litre engine is actually the biggest petrol unit Suzuki now makes, but Kobori believes that the firm doesn't need to give the engine a greater amount of power for the car to hold in an increasingly competitive class.
"Other manufacturers have higher-performance engines,” he said. “Our car is fun to drive and doesn't need a powerful engine. When you combine the lightweight technology with the 1.4 engine, you have a fun-to-drive feeling. The handling of the car and the acceleration of the response are better."
Of just as much significance to the Swift Sport is its lighter, sub-tonne kerb weight of 975kg, a drop of 75kg from the precious car. This has been taken out of the body of the new Swift Sport, while increasing rigidity. The wheelbase has been increased 20mm, while the width is increased by 40mm, all to aid stability. Wider tyres are fitted to the car’s 17in alloys, too.
The development of the car has in part taken place on UK roads, which was important in finalising the damper tuning, according to Kobori.
The UK is one of the Swift Sport’s key markets, with around 1500 finding homes each year. Built in Sagara, Japan, the model has sold in 11,535 units worldwide since it was launched in 2006.