The Swift Sport, as you may know by now, is the definitive affordable Japanese hot hatch in the same way the Mazda MX-5 is Japan’s affordable roadster. But it certainly was not the first – plenty of cars had come and gone, ranging from the Civic EK hatch, the Colt Ralliart Version R, 323 GTR, Starlet GT, YR-V Turbo and the Pulsar GTi-R. Whew.
The formula for its success couldn’t be simpler: A fun driving attitude, and a buzzy engine to keep drivers on the edge. In fact, there is little to fault the ZC32S – we forgive its rather cramped rear seats and boot, because it is such a hoot to drive.
Why don’t you see many of these around though? It was introduced at the worst possible time, with the COE pushing over S$70k, making it pale in comparison to the direct rivals which offered more performance on paper, at least. However, Suzuki has made a big comeback, and looks poised to make yet another with the newer turbo Swift Sport.
Before we get too carried away with the newer model, let us honour one of the last of the naturally aspirated wonders of the world. With an engine that is eager to rev anytime, it makes good use of every rev because… it’s an automatic.
Of course – the first choice would be a manual transmission, but this car has to serve the family, not just one. Thus, the reluctant decision to go with the CVT option. There is some saving grace however – Suzuki had tuned this transmission to reduce the “rubber band” effect that is associated with traditional CVTs.
As a relatively comfortable, fuss-free daily driver, any extensive power upgrades would have a reduced effect once they pass through the gearbox. But, a raspy sounding HKS Legamax muffler and mid pipe gives it that perfect tune, combined with a custom air intake for the right roar. That said, the engine is very stock, so a custom painted coil pack cover, plus heat shields were made to keep the engine bay cool, and look cooler!
Handling is one of the hallmarks of the Swift Sport, as this ride gets upped with the inclusion of an aftermarket coilover setup and dumped to an almost floor-scraping ride height. To keep things nice and taut, an underbrace, cusco strut bar and a rear cross bar were installed to keep this rock and roll hatch well-behaved, even on the track.
Shuffling between grocery runs and time attack laps, the Enkei RPF1 wheels are shod with one of the most versatile tyres on the market today, the Bridgestone Potenza RE003 which performs just as well on the street as it is on the track. Finally, to complete the track preparations, n brake 800 deg pads were called upon to withstand the track abuse.
Be it daily drive or maxing it out during track days, there was comfort in his fitting Bride seats, while the passenger seat was stock for the sake of the family’s comfort. It would be hard to not push this ride a little bit harder for the sake of watching the custom-mounted gauges react to the pedal input.
By now you might be wondering, the Porsche 997 Slant Nose was the inspiration behind the custom fog lamps assembly, a result of the owner’s love to tinker and fabricate his own parts – an interest which he picked up from the days of customizing bicycles.
For maximum visual impact and real weight savings, there is no doubting that the Monster sport bonnet and grill will grab attention with that beautiful carbon weave – plus a front lip which adds a hint of aggressiveness into the styling. The rear isn’t forgotten too, with bumper cut-outs which is said to help release trapped air from the inside of the bumper. While enthusiasts argue over the effectiveness – there is no doubt that it makes this car so visually exciting!
Suzuki Swift Sport
HKS legal max muffler and mid pipe
ZC31 Coil pack cover
Aliexpress EG/EK customized fat tummy intake
HKS Superfire sparkplugs
Clear coolant reservoir hose
Cusco strut bar
DM coil over on custom weight springs
Rear X bar
Enkei RPF1 rims
Bridgestone Potenza RE003
N brake 800 deg pads
Defi water temperature
Defi oil temp
Greddy oil pressure
Monster sport bonnet
Monster sport grill
Greddy front lip
Custom rear bumper vent