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Wednesday, 08 June 2011 (3015702)
Video: Suzuki Swift Sport
by David Simister

EVER wanted to own your very own sports car but never could because you'd struggle to get the kids, the shopping and your suitcase in the back?

Well anyone familiar with the letters G, T and I will already know you can, because ever since the hot hatch was invented in the late Seventies it's been showing the family man the sort of full-throttle thrills he'd normally miss out on. Whether it's the Golf GTi of the Seventies, the Peugeot 205 GTi of the Eighties, or the Renault Clio Williams of the Nineties, chances are there's a go-faster shopping car from your generation that proved you can pack both a big punch and a big boot.

Fast forward to 2011 and Suzuki's Swift Sport, yours for a smidgen under thirteen grand, brings the familiar formula bang up to date. Although it's based on the outgoing model rather than the new range brought in last year, it mixes funky styling with sporty touches like a rear spoiler, alloys all round and bucket seats on the inside, and definitely looks the part if you're a keen driver.

With the same practical touches and easy-revving nature as its slower siblings in the Swift range, it's a doddle to drive around town. It's a shame the boot doesn't offer the room of larger rivals like the Fiesta or Corsa, but it's very easy to get comfortable inside, with plenty of space front and rear. But you can do all that with a normal hatchback, which is why to see the Sport in its element you have to get off the housing estates and onto the hills, like the Yorkshire Dales.

Take it to somewhere like the Buttertubs Pass, one of Britain's toughest driving roads, and you'll see exactly where the Sport shines. Out here, its handling is as impressive as much more expensive sports cars like Mazda's MX-5, and the 126bhp engine eggs you on into every corner, giving you all the confidence you could ever ask for.

After tackling the Buttertubs I could have pulled over, but I carried on, heading right through the Dales and across the whole of Cumbria, simply because it's a car you never get tired of driving. It's never anything less than a giggle from behind the wheel, and when you do decide you've had enough fun for the day the price and practicality prove plenty to smile about.

Forget your posey, pricey sports cars - get yourself one of these and get into the countryside. This is one of the best hot hatches you can buy today.


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