What do you already know about the Suzuki Swift Sport? Well, you probably know it as a character-packed hot hatch with a lot of fun in its heart, and you can’t really mistake its head-turning style. Now, this smart little Japanese firecracker has grown up a bit for the current model year, especially in terms of technology. Autocar has been finding out how it fares during one of their signature long-term reviews.

They seem to peg the Suzuki Swift as a great hot hatch, but not one that’s overly concerned with the minutiae of performance. As their reviewer James Attwood notes: “In my short time with the Swift Sport so far, I’ve revelled in its relative simplicity.” Instead of feeling tedious to set up – which is a problem endemic in the hot hatch community – the Suzuki Swift Spot doesn’t make you “wade through various drive mode options and fiddle with settings before you can really enjoy driving”.

Of course, that’s not 100% good. The fact that the Swift Sport doesn’t have any drive modes might put some off instead of drawing them in. Attwood noted that the vehicle is “zippy to drive, sharp to respond”, but there’s little room here for putting your own stamp on performance. He also remarked that “it’s not as pliant in soaking up bumps as a regular Swift” – that said, it wasn’t a deal-breaker: “it doesn’t take long to adjust.”

It’s also surprisingly efficient for a vehicle in the hot hatch class. Attwood made 300 or so miles of driving between stops at the petrol station, which is a good figure in anyone’s book.

Each car gets a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, plus a specially tuned exhaust, LED headlights, 17-inch alloys, and the distinctive Sport body kit. Slip inside and you’ll find a surprising selection of high-end fittings and features, including a leather steering wheel, colour touchscreen, and the ubiquitous air conditioning system. Even safety is top of the line thanks to the following advanced driver assistance technologies:

  • Forward Detection
  • Lane Departure Correction
  • Adaptive Cruise Control

The only drawback? Attwood was frustrated by slow start-up times for the sat-nav system: “It takes an age to lock in its location when you first turn the car on.”

Overall, Autocar admired the “balance between everyday usability and sports tuning”. It might not be as complex as other performance hatches on the market, but it’s still a thrill to drive.