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Old 12-29-2011, 12:49 PM   #1
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so JDM Suzuki Swift is coming to the US

2011 Suzuki Swift First Drive
An Engaging Hatchback That Could Make It in America

By Nick Hall, | Published Dec 29, 2011

The United States has never been into small things much, especially when it comes to cars. While buyers in Europe and Asia gravitate toward compact, city-friendly vehicles, American tastes have always skewed in the other direction.

Recently, however, the Fiat 500, Mini Cooper and Ford Fiesta have shown that there is an appetite in America for small hatchbacks done well. With that in mind, Suzuki is seriously considering entering the U.S. market with a unique compact entry of its own. It is called the Suzuki Swift Sport and it's a small hatchback that has made quite a name for itself overseas thanks to sharp styling, nimble handling and a reasonable price.


The Swift is Suzuki's volume seller around the world, and a far cry from the Grand Vitaras and Kizashis it already sells in the U.S. But the previous Suzuki Swift Sport was widely regarded as one of the best bang-for-your-buck cars around, so there are high hopes that it might be time for a U.S. debut.

How Much Sport Do You Get?
The 2011 Suzuki Swift Sport comes with a modest 136-horsepower 1.6-liter engine hooked to a six-speed manual transmission. Thankfully, the inline four-cylinder engine is only asked to push around 2,304 pounds worth of car. Suzuki says it's good for a 0-60-mph time of around 8.7 seconds, so it's not bad for the class.

The low power means you plant the throttle on every bend. It's not a machine you have to respect, as you can just throw it into a corner and deal with it at the apex. The engine is thrashy, loud and unrefined at high revs, which is a shame, at it makes peak power at 6,900 rpm. All 118 pound-feet of torque is available at 4,400 rpm, so there's some punch at lower engine speeds.

The snappy throttle response makes it feel more urgent than it really is and even the gearshift has been given a sporting feel. It adds up to a comically rich driving experience that makes you love the car more than you should.

Feels as Small as It Looks
With its front-drive setup and direct steering, it's easy to really throw the Swift around on the twisting Catalan ocean roads in Spain. There's a slight numbness to the steering right on center, but if you trust the car to hold on, it rewards you with admirable grip.

Compared to the standard Swift, the 2011 Suzuki Swift Sport gets a retuned suspension with new bushings, stiffer springs and revised damper settings. There's also a retuned power steering setup along with 17-inch wheels and tires.

It works best with the stability control turned off, as it prevents the overbearing computers from scrubbing off too much speed and sending the car wide through hairpin bends. Without the electronic intervention, the tail tucks in much more readily and the car occasionally even cocks a rear wheel into the air and threatens, just for a split second, to oversteer. Don't be fooled by the power output: it's a little go-kart.

Even under duress the Brembo brakes refuse to fade, another legacy of the low curb weight. And its compact dimensions mean it's easily placed on the road. The Swift Sport measures 153.1 inches long and 66.7 inches wide, which makes it slightly longer than a Mini Cooper and about the same width.


It Definitely Looks Sporty
Designwise, the 2011 Suzuki Swift Sport is anathema to the retro-styled offerings from Fiat and Mini, with its squarer lines, a relatively high profile and a muscular waistline. The front is as vicious as a cute small car can be, with a mass of straight lines and a near cheese-grater front grille that sets off the aggressive body kit.

There's a hint of testosterone compared to the more androgynous-looking base version of the Swift. There's no getting around the fact that the rivals look more expensive, but the Suzuki's straight-edged, modern look is at least retro chic in the small-hatch world.

Inside there's a raft of relatively cheap-feeling plastics that at least fit together well. The figure-hugging bucket seats blend with the red stitching and chrome-lined dials to emphasize the sporting nature. Glamorous it is not, but then there's an unpretentious honesty to the Swift Sport that fits its budget price tag.

Can It Make It Here?
That unpretentious honesty has been the key to the 2011 Suzuki Swift Sport's success in Europe. Well, that and a price tag significantly lower than the comparable Mini Cooper.

Whether it would be a success in the U.S. is still very much a question mark. It would have to contend with the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper on the styling front while at the same time offering good value in the face of strong domestic hatchbacks like the Chevrolet Sonic and Ford Fiesta.

It's not an impossible task and we hope Suzuki at least takes a shot. The Swift is a neat combination of unique styling and a fun-to-drive feel that most inexpensive hatchbacks rarely have. It might not be the success it was in Europe, but even if it's just a toe in the water, it's a step in the right direction for Suzuki.




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Old 12-29-2011, 12:56 PM   #2
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FYI, this is one that we have here...



and here's the JDM one

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Old 12-29-2011, 12:59 PM   #3
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Yay, no more Korean Swift!
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:02 PM   #4
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The front looks like

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Old 12-29-2011, 01:09 PM   #5
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the rear looks like

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Old 12-29-2011, 01:26 PM   #6
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Finally our market receives the real Suzuki Swift, not that stupid bullshit piece of crap that's been rebadged a few times.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:40 PM   #7
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Haven't seen much Suzuki spotlight lately. Maybe this is what they were waiting for
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:03 PM   #8
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EDIT: Reread the article after getting too excited. It's a "could be". Well, it could have always been a "could be". Chances are that Suzuki may bail out on North America in the next few years. Suzuki is the 3rd most popular car in the world, but just doing shitty in North America due to being poorly managed.

If Suzuki just did this years ago they would have been a lot better off by now.

Now they need to bring Swift R and Jimny.

I would much rather have a Jimny than a Jeep.



The current Swift+ that we have in Canada is not a Suzuki. It's a goddamned rebadged Daewoo... Grr Suzuki North America pisses me off so much for how poorly managed they are.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:32 PM   #9
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better late than never i guess
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:44 PM   #10
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wouldn't ever consider the Swift since I've seen the new Kizashi

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Old 12-29-2011, 09:14 PM   #11
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About time...I would've bought one if they had been available here. I went into a Suzuki dealership and they looked at me like I was retarded.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:26 PM   #12
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JDM version looks a hell of a lot better, damn!
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:40 PM   #13
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I hope they will bring the JDM swift to this side of the pacific.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Yay, no more Korean Swift!
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Except now we get the China made Fit.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:17 PM   #15
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I would drive a swift if it was available.
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I like the look. I bet it would be fun on some small trails, but the wheel base is still sketchy, Tho i guess it would be similar to a Tracker/Sun runner.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:37 PM   #16
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drove a base sx4.....will never go near a suzuki again.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:57 AM   #17
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the last suzuki i drove was a swift gti 16v circa 1994... ah memories. but then after they turned to rebadged daewoo crap (thanks a lot GM! everything you touch from suzuki to saab has turned to poison ) the only suzukis that interested me were only the two-wheeled variety.

suzuki dealerships locally seem so scare these days. i used to go to the one in north bby on hastings st. but that lot has been gone for a long time. for a brief moment there was one near metrotown on kingsway but that one disappeared as fast as it was opened up??? what's left?
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:26 AM   #18
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The only Suzuki I will ever drive has a G and a S and X and a R on the badge

Berz out.
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:55 PM   #19
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OMGWTFBBQ!!!! JDM Red Stitching on the seats and shift boot? That's sweet!
I drive a Suzuki Aerio sometimes, its So sweet! I love it. haha. Got any more photos of the interior. I think it would look even better with a lower ride height and maybe a nice, clean front lip?
Either or I like this JDM Swift.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:30 PM   #20
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Wow that's great news. I really like the swift sport. It's a popular modding platform out here in Japan.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:24 PM   #21
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get rid of the daewoo crap!

I was woo'd by the real swift when I was in asia.
Such a better model.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:16 PM   #22
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my fiance's dad is a diehard suzuki fan in Asia...he has two Suzuki bikes, Suzuki Kei Turbo, Suzuki Every, Suzuki Swift 1.3 (sold) and 1.6.

The look for the JDM Swift is great, but overall price, build and ride quality aren't the best in its class. I prefer his wife's Mazda Demio or the last gen Honda Fit over that. Oh, the old 4spd auto tranmission sucks, hope they fix it in this gen.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:35 PM   #23
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drove a base sx4.....will never go near a suzuki again.
Auto sucks + CVT sucks... The 6 speed is much more fun. Also good if you get put AWD lock on and go through some mud.

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suzuki dealerships locally seem so scare these days. i used to go to the one in north bby on hastings st. but that lot has been gone for a long time. for a brief moment there was one near metrotown on kingsway but that one disappeared as fast as it was opened up??? what's left?
Orca Bay Port Coquitlam + Langley, I also believe there is a small one in Richmond. They have been closing dealerships all over North America in order to help sales by getting rid of the weak ones, or so I have read.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:30 PM   #24
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jdm swift looks great actually. saw tons in macau and looks much better than the equivalent sized mazda 2, etc.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:29 PM   #25
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i always bought this car in gran turismo haha
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