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First look: Suzuki heralds next Swift Sport

R treatment: Last year's Swift R concept was built to mark Suzuki's Chinese expansion at the 2010 Beijing motor show.

Swift S-Concept previews a more sporting version of Suzuki’s brand-new light car

10 Feb 2011

SUZUKI has provided a hint of what to expect from a replacement for its superseded Swift Sport by revealing a computer-generated image of the Swift S-Concept, which has now been confirmed to make its world debut at the Geneva motor show on March 1.

Not to be confused with the Swift R concept, which appeared at the 2010 Beijing motor show last April and was based on the previous-generation Swift, the Swift S concept for Geneva is of course based on the redesigned AZ Swift released in Australia earlier this month.

More details of the concept are due to emerge at Geneva in three weeks, but for now Suzuki says only that “A more sporty and exciting design theme is reflected by a look in which sportiness has been added to the Swift’s stylish design.

“In line with Suzuki’s brand philosophy of delivering excitement, the overall development concept was to create a premium sport compact with uncompromised performance.”

30 center imageWhile the expanded fourth-generation five-door hatchback range comprises three model grades powered by a new 1.4-litre engine, the replacement for the outgoing Swift Sport (which packs a more powerful 1.6-litre engine) is widely tipped to employ a force-fed engine – possibly courtesy of Suzuki’s new industrial ally, Volkswagen.

Last priced at $23,990, the outgoing Swift Sport was one of Australia’s few remaining affordable hot hatches, with 92kW and 148Nm available from its 1.6-litre four.

If the S-Concept is anything to go by, the new Swift Sport will address criticisms the latest Swift – which will not be available here with the 1.2-litre petrol, 1.3-litre diesel and all-wheel drivetrains on offer overseas – looks too similar to the model it replaces.

Although it is not as pumped up as the Concept R was, from what we can see in the dimly-lit teaser image the S-badged show car features a prominent high-mounted tailgate spoiler, aggressive front bumper and grille and heavily flared wheel-arches.

The Mk4 Swift, which features a class-leading seven airbags and electronic stability control as standard, was last week awarded a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Joining it in the five-star safety club is the revised 2011 Kizashi, which now features a driver’s knee airbag and audible front seatbelt reminders, in addition to the six airbags and ESC that were standard since Suzuki launched its first mid-size sedan in Australia last year.

“ANCAP works well with all sectors of the automotive industry in identifying important safety features, advocating for their incorporation into production processes, and then testing the new vehicles to see if they are up to the five-star mark, said ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh.

“Crash tests showed the Swift and the Kizashi held the shape of the passenger compartment well. Occupants were well protected with seven airbags, including a driver knee airbag.”

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