After the formation of subsidiary Naza Eastern upon the Naza Group’s 45th anniversary, the new entity has wasted little time getting its foot in the door of Malaysia’s automotive scene, representing a beloved brand that has had deep roots with a local base of customers and fans: Suzuki.
Following a corporate restructuring that saw the group’s previous automotive brands such as Kia and Peugeot swiftly scooped up by BAuto (Bermaz), Naza Eastern’s next stab with Suzuki does hold a great deal of promise. Though, understandably, the car-buying public will need more than friendly words and big promises to be fully convinced.
With the new A2L414 Swift Sport, launched this evening at the Naza Automall PJ, Suzuki’s re-entry into the Malaysian market is spearheaded by an interesting choice of vehicle, apparently in total rejection of capitalising on the ongoing SUV craze with more predictable models. Instead, we have a driver-focused lightweight hot hatch. We’re not complaining.
However, priced at RM139,900 (on-the-road without insurace), this is clearly not a car that everyone will be clamouring for. For those who were fans of the previous generation Swift Sport sold here last in 2013, that price doubling might certainly catch you off-guard. That said, Suzuki has made some significant strides to make this newest version a far more capable little beast. But is it enough to justify its asking price?
Fully imported in limited numbers from the Suzuki factory in Makinohara, Japan, this Sport is based on the 3rd-generation (A2L) Swift hatch and is headlined by a 1.4-litre Boosterjet four-cylinder petrol engine alongside their new HEARTECH vehicle platform, endowing it with improved structural rigidity, high-speed stability, chassis balance, and superior refinement.
Power from that K14C motor is rated at 140PS at 5,500rpm and 230Nm of torque at 2,500-3,500rpm, which might not sound like an awful lot of punch these days, but given how lightweight the Swift Sport is, performance should be pretty impressive.
Despite being armed as standard with a 6-speed manual transmission in other countries, units bound for Malaysian customers will only be fitted exclusively with a 6-speed torque converter automatic to send drive to the front wheels. Still, acceleration is claimed at 7.0 seconds to reach 100km/h from rest, which apparently is actually quicker than the 3-pedal alternative can manage.
Though there is no Tiptronic shift method on the gear selector itself, paddles shifters are thankfully fitted as standard here. However, we’ll need to wait to actually drive it before commenting on how responsive the paddles themselves or the gearbox feels to shift in anger.
Aside from the obvious styling tweaks given to set it apart from the standard Swift hatch - such as the aggressive front and rear end treatment, faux-carbon fibre weave around the skirting, and dual exhaust exits - the Sport is equipped with 17-inch wheels wrapped around wider Yokohama Advan A13 tyres in a 195/50R16 fitment.
Stepping inside, a highlight of the Swift Sport’s cabin is the rather sizeable bucket-style sports seats for the driver and front passenger. Breaking apart the monotony of the black interior is a nice peppering of red trim accents and contrast stitching to blend alongside the satin-finished metallic surfaces reflective piano-black accents.
There’s also a decently sized 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support for Apple CarPlay connectivity, positioned along the centre stack, sharing vertical space with the knobs for the car’s single-zone climate control, among other switchgear. The gauge cluster remains faithfully analogue, thankfully, but is supplemented by a multi-info display sandwiched between the tachometer and speedometer.
The Swift Sport is available in four different colour options: Champion Yellow, Pearl Pure White, Speedy Blue Metallic, and Burning Red Pearl Metallic. Naza Eastern offers each Swift Sport comes with a 3 year manufacturer warranty. The question remains, though: where is the Jimny and when can we expect to see it officially sold here?
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