WITH its undoubted charm and fun-to-drive character, the Suzuki Swift Sport has been an unsung hero of the hot-hatch sector since its launch in 2006.

That’s probably because it’s not really a hot-hatch at all. Rather, it is merely warm in nature when compared with more powerful offerings from the likes of Peugeot and Volkswagen.

Now we have a revised Swift Sport that might be a tad quicker, is certainly more mature and is wrapped in a package that Suzuki hopes will tempt more buyers.

For starters, it’s 70kg lighter than the previous model at 975kg, which is an astonishing achievement when you consider the extra gear that’s on board.

But the highlights are the switch from the much-loved 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine to a 1.4-litre four-cylinder Boosterjet turbo engine already used in the firm’s Vitara SUV and the accompanying 44 per cent greater level of torque over the previous Sport model.

So the new Sport will propel you from 0 to 62mph in 8.1 seconds and in torque terms you will find 230Nm available from just 2,500rpm.

Key to the sales strategy is the decision to offer only one specification, and that includes six airbags, auto air conditioning, DAB Radio, privacy glass, LED daytime running lights, leather steering wheel, Bluetooth, smartphone link display audio, rear view camera, front fog lamps, satellite navigation, LED headlamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear electric windows, keyless entry, dual sensor brake support and adaptive cruise control.

You also get a quite unnecessary lane departure prevention system which, thankfully, you can switch off.

Of much more use is a forward detection system that combines a monocular camera and a laser sensor for advanced safety functions, including autonomous emergency braking, the lane departure warning and high beam assist

But is it more enjoyable to drive? Having tried it on road and a race track, I have to say I prefer the the old version, for much the same reason as I enjoyed the former Ford Focus ST more than its present turbocharged version.

Yes, it is still a smashing little car to drive, thanks in part to the new i platform, but it has lost some of its youthfulness in maturing to this new level of sophistication.

There’s plenty to admire, though. Turbo lag has been virtually eliminated, the steering is even sharper and the six-speed manual transmission has a 10 per cent shorter throw.

Lower, wider and more aggressive, it’s a nimble and agile car, and it is undoubtedly a better looker with its flash alloy wheels, squat stance, roof-end spoiler and added points of drama.

For the interior, Suzuki have used a combination of black, silver and red to create a very attractive cockpit centring on an LCD display unit.

Alloy pedals highlight the sporting character, while the front semi-bucket seats include tubular frames and urethane pads for additional support during cornering at high speed.

Despite its size, there’s ample space between occupants and a decent amount of headroom and legroom. The luggage capacity with rear seats raised is 265 litres, which is 25 per cent larger than the previous Sport.

The Swift Sport costs £17,999, which may seem quite expensive until you consider all the kit that comes as standard – including metallic or pearl colours. Act quickly and you can get one for a launch offer price of £16,499 before the end of June.