This is a one-year update on my original owner review.
So, one year and about 30,000km later, what’s the little yellow boi been like to live with? Well, pretty damn good.
The car is still as rock solid as the day I bought it, with no rattles or squeaks to be found or heard anywhere, nothing has fallen off, or even had so much as a scuff mark. Say what you want about hard plastics abounding in an interior, but they’re almost indestructible.
The same can be said overall for the car itself. I don’t exactly drive lightly most of the time, and over the course of a year ‘Lemon Drop’ has seen extended highway use, dirt and gravel roads, trips to Toowoomba, Noosa and Coffs Harbour, day to day suburban driving, and more recently, the multi kilometre carpark that is Brisbane’s Centenary Highway.
And it hasn’t missed a beat at all. Highway use is a little taxing on the ears, given that at 110km/h the car will sit around 3500 rpm (I would cut off a limb to have sixth gear), and being a manual, constant stop-start traffic is just plain annoying.
But, nothing has gone wrong, and no issues have reared their heads. In fact, driving this along some dirt roads at reasonable speed was amazing fun. Even with the stability control on, the back of the car plays around a little bit, without letting you be an idiot. It’s an excellent system, and very well tuned for dirt roads. It’s great in the wet too.
The seats are okay over longer distances, but don’t have a huge amount of lumbar support, and the bases are a bit narrow in width, plus I wish they’d go lower. But it’s not a deal breaker, by any means.
The seats themselves have worn very well, and seem particularly resistant to getting any sort of stain on them, despite a concerning amount of fast food consumption (don’t eat your feelings, kids). They’re also still very red, with the colour not fading away at all, which is more than can be said for some other Swift Sports out there.
Other small things that are great? The car has excellent all-round visibility, the air-con is amazingly cold and very quick to kick in, and the high beams are way, way better than they need to be on a car like this, with a wide beam and good spread.
The ride and handling is also still a complete joy. Yes, it’s a little bit firm, but the trade-off is superb levels of grip and real sense of what the car is doing. It’s an absolute riot to drive this car around, even day to day, but especially on a track or on a faster, sweeping road. It gives you complete confidence to wring the little engine’s neck, make it scream up to the 7500rpm redline, and snatch another gear.
The engine is still a delight too, with a beautifully revvy nature, a great induction sound, and a surprising amount of low down go, which is great when pottering around. It also refuses to use more than 7.4L/100km, even with my lead foot. Maintenance wise, it’s been faultless too. Plus it’s cheap to service.
Other bits aren’t, though. The fuel filter on my example needed replacing as per the service schedule, and whichever idiot decided that it should be an in-line filter that is part of the entire fuel pump assembly should be slapped. The tank has to be dropped, and a whole new pump assembly put in. The cost? North of $1000 (from an independent mechanic, too. Hate to think what Suzuki would charge). I’ll be waiting a little while before that gets done.
Other annoyances are the speakers, which, while I said were great in my original review, have proven to be not quite as great as I thought. They’re certainly loud, and have a pretty good level of quality, but definitely struggle with bass, and seem to lean towards producing a lot more treble than is necessary.
The boot is also pathetic, and basically just a token gesture. The floor divider is handy though, but even with it removed, I couldn’t fit a normal, full-size suitcase in the boot without having to fold down the rear seats. Even then, it’s not exactly capacious.
The lack of rear seat space is also annoying for anyone taller than about 1.8m. Other annoyances are the thirst for 98 octane (thanks, high compression engine!), lack of cruise control, short service intervals (six months/10,000km), and a combination of a factory tyre size that’s quite hard to find, and a complete lack of spare tyre, as experienced when a stray bolt mangled my left rear. An expired can of ‘get-me-home-foam’ wasn’t going to cut it.
But those annoyances are really only minor, and definitely haven’t put me off my little yellow rocket. It’s quick, fun, frugal, and cheap to run and maintain, plus you can park anywhere you damn please, and people won’t hate you for driving one. It’s something of an unsung hero, and I like that.