The performance flagship of New Zealand’s most popular small car has taken out another independent award.
The new generation 1.6-litre Suzuki Swift Sport, which was launched to the local market early in 2012, was named Small Car of the Year at the AMI Insurance New Zealand Autocar Car of the Year awards on December 11. Applauded as the ultimate expression of Swift’s DNA, the well equipped Sport model is already the recipient of several European awards.
The Sport is based on the mainstream Swift which is the top selling new car to private buyers in New Zealand as well as being the best selling small car. Swift has won no fewer than 63 car of the year awards in 19 countries, including the 2011 AMI Insurance New Zealand Autocar small car prize a year ago.
In announcing the latest award, Kyle Cassidy, Editor of New Zealand Autocar magazine, said, “The Swift was a winner last year, and with its sportiest halo variant again eligible for the award on the account of a new powertrain, we couldn’t help but vote it a winner again in 2012.”
The magazine said the Swift Sport was a lot of car for less than $30,000, and that Suzuki had added refinement and economy yet kept the performance and fun-to-drive nature intact. The frisky five-door hatchback was described as “more liveable yet still lovable”. In an on-line readers’ voting poll conducted by New Zealand Autocar, the Swift Sport also won the people’s choice award for small cars.
Autocar writer Rob Maetzig said, “This car does a great job of carrying on the Suzuki tradition of producing hot little hatches.”
Fellow contributor Shaun Summerfield commented that the Swift Sport was “more refined but still fun...and naughty if required.” Regarded as the best value performance hatchback in New Zealand, the Swift Sport has a full driveaway recommended retail price of $27,500 for the 6-speed manual model and $28,990 for the CVT automatic version.
“We’re naturally delighted the Swift Sport has been rated so highly by both New Zealand Autocar staff and its readers,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.
“The Sport has been an extremely popular seller right from launch, and its credentials complement other Swift models,” he said.
“It is the icing on a sweet Swift cake, a model that continues to do extraordinarily well,” said Tom Peck. “The Swift is taking just under 24 per cent of New Zealand’s light car market, while its nearest rival has less than 16 per cent penetration.”
Year to date sales of new Suzuki Swifts in New Zealand are up more than 13 per cent compared to the same period in 2011.
Earlier in 2012 the Swift Sport was named best hot hatchback of the year by Carbuyers, an influential British car review website. What Car?, the UK’s biggest car buyers guide, voted the Sport the best buy hot hatch at its 2012 awards in London, and said the Swift was keenly priced and surprisingly well equipped, too.
Auto Express magazine in Britain rated the 100kW Swift Sport the top car in a review of 30 sports models, scoring the Suzuki five out of a possible five points. Judges agreed the latest model is agile and entertaining, has a low kerb weight, and sparkling performance, all at a very affordable price.
In Australia Wheels magazine praised the Swift for its driving dynamics, accurate steering, well-tuned suspension and willing engine, while presenting the car with the light car title in its annual Gold Star awards.