It's hard not to love hot hatchbacks. These pocket rockets offer the performance and capabilities of sporty cars. At the same time, these cars do not compromise comfort, practicality, and useability.
So when Toyota first announced they were going to launch the GR Yaris in the country, many were excited. With a 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder that puts out 272 PS and 360 Nm of torque with all-wheel-drive capability, it has the makings of a fun-to-drive three-door hot hatch.
But at nearly PHP 3 million, there it's not what one could call affordable. However, there is an alternative from Suzuki. Unfortunately, it's not offered here, at least for now.
Just recently, Suzuki launched the Swift Sport over in Malaysia, marking the model's debut in the ASEAN region. With a turbocharged 1.4-liter Boosterjet inline-four, the Swift Sport puts out a respectable 140 PS and 230 Nm of torque. Power is then sent to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Besides having a turbocharged heart, the Swift Sport also comes with a tweaked suspension. The front axle gets thick stabilizer bars for improved roll stability, while the wheel hub and wheel bearings are now a single unit to provide better camber rigidity. The rear axle, on the other hand, gets new trailing arms that provide better cornering ability. Topping it all off are unique shock absorbers from Monroe.
But can the Swift Sport actually go one-on-one with the Toyota GR Yaris? With the GR Yaris putting out 132 PS and 130 Nm more, as well as having the benefit of AWD, Toyota's hot hatch easily beats the Swift Sport through sheer power. However, what it lacks in power compared to the fire-breathing Toyota, it more than makes up for it in price. In its home country, the Swift Sport starts for less than PHP 1,000,000.
If Suzuki PH can somehow find a way to offer the Swift Sport for around its Japanese price, it will be a tempting performance proposition. It may not be as powerful as the GR Yaris, but it could deliver the same level of driving fun, for less.
With no word yet as to whether the Swift Sport will be available in other ASEAN countries, all we can do for now is hope and wait that it will be launched in the Philippines too. Just think about it, it's a subcompact hatchback that can give a few sporty cars a scare, all while carrying some groceries in the trunk.