Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nostalgic Subcompact: 1989-1994 Suzuki Swift GT

What happens when you take a Suzuki Swift (aka Geo Metro) and inject a larger, twin-cam engine, a few suspension tweaks and some ... fun? You get the Suzuki Swift GT.

Offered in the U.S. from 1989-1994, the Suzuki Swift GT took what was a fairly mundane mode of transportation and made it a great little pocket rocket. The GT (or GTi in '89) featured a 1.3 liter, 100 hp engine (the G13B) and a 7,400 rpm redline. Although it still sounds like a small mill, it was bigger than the standard 1.0 liter, three-cylinder powerplant found in the Geo Metro, and more powerful than the 1.3 liter single-overhead cam engine in the standard Suzuki Swifts. The 0-60 times were usually measured just under 10 seconds; EPA fuel economy was 28/35.

All Swifts had four-wheel independent strut suspensions, although the GT variants had a firmer suspension and a rear sway bar. Motor Trend was able to get a .80 skidpad rating from its Swift GT (August, 1991 issue) with the standard 14x5 steel wheels. The GTs also got different body moldings, better front bucket seats, and disc brakes front and rear.

The Swift GT was a scrappy little vehicle with a lot of bang for the buck. It's still got a cult following, as evidenced by Web sites such as www.ssgti.net, www.teamswift.net, and Redlinegti.com to name a few. There are companies still making aftermarket parts for the vehicle, and people still modify them, sometimes extensively. There are a number of turbocharged Swifts that are petty darn fast, as evidenced by videos on YouTube.com.

The Swift GTs can still be found, and they're pretty inexpensive. There were a couple of them on craigslist just the other day. Kelley Blue Book places values from about $800 for a 1989 Swift GTI to $1,600 for a 1994 Swift GT. (This is private-party value, 100,000 miles, "good" condition with a manual transmission in Portland, OR.)

The Swift GT died with the introduction of a new bodystyle in 1995. The Swift name disappeared from the U.S. altogether in 2001. An all-new Swift is allegedly reappearing in the U.S. in 2010, which will be great, since this new model has been highly praised by the automotive press.

Edmunds.com Suzuki Swift Review
Suzuki Racing Development
Suzuki Swift Wikipedia Page


nlpnt said...

I was looking for one of these back in 2001 to replace my '93 Metro- naturally, I couldn't find one anywhere feasibly near me. My loss, I guess...

Andy Lilienthal said...

The Swift GT is on my short list of vehicles I'd love to have for a project car one of these days! I've always liked them. I remember wanting a new one back in high school. One of these days I'll pick one up. There's one for sale out here in Portland, and it's been available for a while.

Anonymous said...

Great car!

I've never seen a car like Swift: very cheap, awesome fuel efficiency, great gearbox and very very fun to drive! I love the design: clean lines, simple shapes, easy to park, very good. The squared and long taillight is a great 80's reference.

In my country (Brazil), only few units came from independent import during the years of 1992 and 1995. Unfortunately, here people prefer the VW's and Fiat's low-cust trash cars than the great japanese rocket-pockets, like the Swift GT.

I found a 1993 5-door hatchback with the 1.0 3 cylinder engine in a used car dealer and I want to buy it... It's hard to find a car like Swift in good condition nowadays. It's like a rare jewelry!

Thank you for the post! Real nostalgic!

DJ Kenny said...

In 1995 I looked at a new Swift GT (pulling up in my 87 Sprint Turbo). It was a nice handling, solid little car... no comparison in terms of speed though. My 3 cylinder even lighter weight Sprint would blow the doors off it. But the handling was hands down better, likely more to do with the larger wheels and tires compared to my Sprints silly small 12" 155 R 12's.

Defranco said...

Sprint turbo with its whopping 73 hp would get its ass handed to it by a swift gt. That's a joke you think it could even compete with the swift. I have both cars and I laughed at your comment. Cheers

BV1 said...

^^I had an 88 1.0 NA and a 87 also in the turbo version and currently drive a 97. DJ Kenny is right the older 1.0 turbo is 300-400lbs lighter and quicker then the 95 GT. I raced them both in SCCA, even my NA did extremely well with 185 Rs on it. The turbos did but out about 70HP.... But it was a full 70hp to the wheels, slightly underrated were easy to boost to about 100HP. Just saying....

Jane said...

Do you know if it is still available?