1989-1994 Suzuki Swift: Fast Frugal and Fun
Suzuki Swift was a subcompact sold in America during the 90’s. Its platform mate, the Geo Metro was a nearly identical twin sold at Chevrolet dealerships. The GM designed and Suzuki engineered line of frumpy to cute looking GEO cars consisted of a sedan, coupe and even a convertible (Geo only). Why the style concious were content with GEO’s convertible offering, fans of real performance went to Suzuki dealerships for their version of a four wheeled motorcycle (or the closest thing to it that seated four). That variant was the Suzuki Swift GT. The GT was the pocket rocket formula taken to the extreme, in the true sprit of a rally sport car: Stripped down and basic. The GT started with the already small and light Swift 2 door hatchback and bumped up its 3 cylinder engine from 1 to 1.3 liters for 100 hp.
That may not sound like much now, but back then that kind of power in a car weighing about 2300lb. made it able to embarras drivers of more expensive GT cars. The GT was visually distinct from the run of the mill Swift by virtue of its larger 15in wheels and wider tires and a tasteful ground effects package leading up to a revised air intake and fog lights in the front. The interior featured sport seats with improved fabrics. Shifting duties were simple: a 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic transmission . The brakes were disc all around and while all Swift/Metros had a fully independent strut suspension, the GT had firmer tuning and a rear anti-sway bar.
GT now enjoys a cult following and has no real equivalent in todays marketplace. Swift production never stopped elsewere in the world and at one time was rumored to make a return to the US market soon.
1995 Suzuki Swift GT
Scrappy, Stripped down and basic, but fun to drive, for a little while at least. The simple nature of the GT split the automotive press in reguards to it’s overall performance and mission. Some like the fact that the small GT was tossable in the curves with a go cart like feel and it’s small engine was responsive. Other’s felt that the overall package need more refinement and was too close to a go cart, being that it was noisy, uncomfortable and too cramped. Either way the GT was still essentially a economy car, one capaible of 0-60 in undr 10 seconds while delivering 35 mpg on the highway.
The GT was discontinued when the third generation was introduced in 1995. While Geo still had no GT equivalent, they no longer sold a convertible. The Swift/Metro was cancled in 2001 with the 5 door Geo sedan lasting until 2002. Some older variations of the Swift are still being produced in Pakistan and Hungary under different names (called Subaru Justy in Hungary).