THERE is one feature concerning a hatchback I would always go for even though it is slightly more expensive and that is it should have five doors because such models are so much more practical than a three door hatch for passengers getting into and out of the car and they are also far more convenient for placing shopping and baggage on the rear seats writes Bryan Longworth.
I was reminded of this situation when testing the new Suzuki Swift Sport five door model costing £14,249 which is £500 more than the three door but is well worth it because the front doors in particular on a five door car are also smaller making it much easier for the driver to get in and out especially when parked close to walls and other vehicles in car parks.
Introducing a five door model to the fabulous Swift Sport has given it much wider appeal because the fast flagship model of the Swift range is now in my opinion the complete fun car and I am sure there are admirers out there who were put off by the three door model and will now go for five doors.
The five door Sport also benefits from a six speed manual gearbox like the three door model along with minor styling changes including a new design front bumper and grille plus a new LED type high level brake lamp.
Suzuki has got the styling just right for the Sport with its very cool 15 spoke alloy wheels is one of the best looking small cars in this segment and its large front grille reminds me of the face of Audi which I suppose is not a bad thing.
But it is when driving the Swift Sport I was reminded that Suzuki has done such a good job in producing a hot hatch that may not be as lively as some rivals but it provides far more enjoyable and exhilerating motoring because the car has spot on steering and handling that can be appreciated especially when driving on fast and winding country roads.
The smooth and slick new gear box also helps with the driving enjoyment for the gears slip into place so easily which surprisingly is not always the case with test cars especially some costing far more than the Sport and which have rather notchy transmission systems.
What gives the Sport plenty of fizz is the 1.6-litre 134bhp petrol engine that provides the car with a top speed of 121mph and a zero to 62mph time of 8.7 seconds with a combined fuel consumption of 44.1mpg and C02 emissions of 147g/km which are 10 per cent lower than the previous Sport model.
The five door Sport has a very good standard specification that includes HID projector headlamps which provided an excellent spread of light making night driving more relaxed and safer especially when negotiating unlit rural roads.
There is a comfortable interior with user friendly controls and I liked the instruments especially the speedometer which was easy to see in all light conditions and was another feature of the Sport that helped to make it so enjoyable and fulfilling.
The rear load area is only average and if there were four or five on board with baggage it would be difficult fitting it all in but I am sure that the rear seats will frequently not be used so they can be folded for extra load space.
For me the Sport five door is now the complete small hot hatch and I am sure this car will also be very much appreciated by potential owners who will prefer this more driver friendly Suzuki.
My Verdict: A fun five door flyer.
Model: Suzuki Swift Sport five door.
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol.
Output: 134bhp @ 7000rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 121mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 8.7 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 44.1mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 147g/km.