Provided by Sunday World

I CAN’T recall the amount of times that I’ve been asked ‘what are you driving?’

Being a motoring hack, people want to know if I follow my own advice and, if I’m honest, I rarely do because I’m a hot hatch fan and they can be pretty impractical for a family man.

When I answered ‘I have a Suzuki’ a few months back, people were taken aback that it wasn’t actually a 100cc bike.

Too many people don’t give Suzuki enough credit for the cars they make.

The owners I’ve spoken to don’t have a bad word to say about them and swear by their reliability.

My Suzuki Swift Sport, which has now sadly moved on – I can’t believe I let it go – was one of my favourite cars. I have a soft spot for Suzuki, as it is a brand that doesn’t have the budget of the big players, but keeps plugging away and does a great job with the tools they have.

The fourth-generation Swift arrived this year and my fear was that the little Japanese car would lose its characteristics.

It’s bigger, more polished and, thankfully, fun to drive.

Suzuki has done a fabulous job evolving its little supermini and with the addition of the brand’s new 1.0-litre Boosterjet petrol engine, the Swift has got the powerplant it always deserved.

Suzuki has sold more than a million Swifts since 2005, so the new version has a lot to live up to.

It shares its high-strength, steel-rich ‘Heartect’ lightweight underbody with the Baleno and Ignis. The platform is said to be 30kg lighter and a lot stiffer than its model it replaces.

The Swift is still a supermini, but it looks much bigger than the previous model. The new version is 10mm shorter, 15mm lower and 40mm wider and the wheelbase has been extended by 20mm.

The increased space gives passengers more room and this is a good improvement as the older models felt a little cramped in the back.

Suzuki has also increased the boot space by 25 per cent, giving a decent 265 litres of space, which isn’t bad for a car this size.

Suzuki has decided to ditch the threedoor version, which is a bit of a shame as it was a real looker.

The five-door does give a bigger impression, but I really hope the new Sport comes as a three door.

The Swift was always big on value and it was one of the cheaper superminis, but it seems to have gone a bit upmarket in its latest guise.

A better quality finish brings with it a bigger price and with a starting point of €15k the Swift is no longer cheap as chips.

However, I still think it’s a decent price for a really good car that offers more fun and spec than many of its rivals. The interior has improved immensely and doesn’t look like an ocean of plastic.

There are three spec levels, SZ3, SZ-T and SZ5.

I’d pay the extra to go for the midrange of high-spec model as you get the touch-screen colour display with rear parking camera and sat nav in the top-of-the range model.

It gives it a more premium feel and takes away from the drab plastics of yesteryear.

My test car was the rangetopping SZ5 model and you get plenty of goodies.

Apart from the touch-screen infotainment with sat nav and reversing camera, you get alloys, cruise control, LED lights and Apple car play.

Even the entrylevel model gets air con, Bluetooth and tinted windows.

The heartbeat of the Swift has always been a perky little engine and handling that airs on the sporty side.

That DNA is still in the new Swift and with the addition of the new 1.0-litre Boosterjet, the fun is there in abundance.

You can go for the 89bhp 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol, but you’ll be missing out as the new 1.0 is so good.

You can get it in either 109bhp or 125bhp outputs. If you have the budget, go all out for the 125bhp version in top spec; it’s a hell of a lot of car for the money.

The Swift has always been about having fun behind the wheel.

This fourth-generation model doesn’t let you down and delivers sharp handling and grip that’s hot-hatch like.

With the power from the Boosterjet, you can really tackle the back roads with a smile on your face. It feels much more potent than you’d imagine from the little 1.0 under the hood.

Suzuki has done a great job with the new Swift; it’s bigger and better than before and when you go for the 1.0-litre Boosterjet, you’re getting one of the best superminis around. I can’t wait for the new Swift Sport (left) to arrive, although I’m not sold on the look just yet.

Until then, I’m getting back online to see if I can get my little sporty number back.

Provided by Sunday World