17 June 2021

Used Car Review: Suzuki Swift Sport (2012)

The second-generation Suzuki Swift was unveiled in August 2010 and was an instant hit.

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Suzuki Swift Sport (2012)
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Suzuki Swift Sport (2012)
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Suzuki Swift Sport (2012)
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Suzuki Swift Sport (2012)
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Suzuki Swift Sport (2012)

People around the world have fallen in love with the pint-sized Swift, and it keeps getting better with each generation.

Our review car was a five-door 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport - the model with some added panache. It combines hatchback practicality with a hot power plant, firmer suspension, more agile steering and some sporty enhancements to the bodywork.

When we first reviewed this frisky model back in 2012, we saw it’s potential. It was great fun to drive with its inherent go-kart-like handling. 

Sporty Stance

The exterior styling of the Suzuki Swift Sport is excellently executed with standard 17-inch alloy wheels and a small spoiler.

The front has a long narrow latticed grille that looks more like that of a modern European car than something from Japan.

Low down, there are two deeply recessed front fog lights with aggressive black shields surrounding them. The rear of the car has pert dual exhausts that peer out of the black styled valance.

The overall dimensions of the Swift Sport are just 3,890mm long and 1,695mm wide. With a compact wheelbase of just 2,430mm it’s slightly shorter than the third-gen Mazda Demio, and also possesses a shorter wheel base, giving it an ace up its sleeves in terms of maneuverability.     

Sassy Interior

The interior of the Swift looks great, with little details like blood red stitching throughout the dark hardwearing fabric on the bucket seats. ‘Sport’ has also been stitched into the seat backs to help create a very good-looking, sporty interior.

There are drink holders in abundance inside the Swift Sport, with one for the driver and a pull-out dashboard drinks holder on the passenger side. There are also generously-sized drinks holders in all four of the door pockets.

At the rear of the front passenger seat, there’s even a hook that holds up to 3kgs - perfect for a weighty shopping bag or even a freshly ironed business shirt. There are also map holders built into the seat backs.

Despite having some great storage options, as you might expect, the rear is rather confined and would best be reserved for the kids. While on that point, there are also two top tether points for child car seats.

Back in the front, the gauge cluster is rather conventional, however, the steering wheel adds a sprinkle of excitement with a selection of controls for you to flick through your favorite radio stations or to pop on your cruise control.

With it being the Sport model, behind the steering wheel are large paddle shifters, which can even be used when Drive is selected.

The seats-up storage comes in at 210 litres.


When compared to the first model, the second-gen Swift Sport brought vastly improved fuel efficiency to the table, engineers managing to squeeze another 8kW and 12Nm out of the existing 1,586cc 16 valve engine.

The 1.6-litre engine now produces 100kW and 160Nm, with a fuel efficiency rating of 6.1L/100km. We averaged about 5.9L /100km during our testing. The 2012 Swift Sport also has a CO2 efficiency rating of 144g/km.

A number of tweaks to the engine account for these improvements, including increased valve lift, revised intake and exhaust ports, a new variable intake system, improvements to the cooling system and, last but not least, a greater volume muffler, which not only improves exhaust gas flow but also gives a more meaningful sound to the exhaust.

Interestingly, we were hesitant with the new seven-speed CVT transmission back in 2012 when we first reviewed this model, but time has showed us that the unit is not only robust but, in practice, it doesn’t significantly detract from the fun experience of the Swift Sport.

The 2012 Swift Sport also benefits from an extensive use of higher strength steels, making it 30kg lighter but considerably stronger.

A revised front suspension setup was also adopted to provide more responsive handling and better yaw response. Stiffer front and rear suspension reduces body roll and improves high speed cornering stability.


Driving the Swift Sport is a joy, particularly in and around the city. Performance is excellent, with the finely-tuned suspension offering great handling, stability and comfort when compared to previous generations.

On open roads, the 2012 Swift Sport is good, but it really is more at home as a city commuter. There’s a reason why the Swift Sport is so popular - it takes a practical car and just spices it up to make it feel like the modern day equivalent of what the MINI Cooper once was, which has appealed to both older and younger drivers since its launch.

At a glance

Model and year

Suzuki Swift Sport (2012)



Date Tested



$11,995 (+ORC)




Seven-speed CVT

Fuel economy, CO2

6.1L/100km, 144g/km

Towing capacity



2WD (Front)

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

211 litres (third row folded)

Safety features include:

  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Airbags
  • ESC
  • Push Button Start
  • Cruise Control
  • Paddle Shift
  • ISOFIX/LATCH points for Child Safety

For more information on safety ratings visit rightcar.govt.nz

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Thank you to AA Preferred Dealer Portage Cars for supplying us with the 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport for review. For similar listings, click here.

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