WRC Aspirations: The HKS Swift

GT-Rs, Supras, NSXs, Evos, WRXs. Do we tend to focus a little too much on the higher end of the Japanese sports car spectrum? Sure, it’s unavoidable getting drawn to the most powerful and fastest cars out there, but it’s equally important to remember that fun in cars is not all about sheer power and figures.

In fact, I’d happily argue with anyone that doesn’t believe this to be true. And it’s little cars like the Suzuki Swift Sport that I’d bring up as examples in a debate. We’ve seen this chassis at time attack events forever now, and there is a very good reason why. People like them; they are affordable and a great way to get into some fun driving.


Because of this, the Japanese aftermarket has responded with a wide selection of parts – anything and everything you need to fine tune your Swift into a precision carving tool. And the word ‘carving’ here is in reference to corners; this is not a car for quarter miles and high speed runs.


Cars the like Swift Sport instantly remind me of the massive fun I had in my early motoring years behind the wheels of hot hatches. Although these cars generally have slightly less power than you may have hoped for, they make you work hard to extract speed. And that is where true motoring satisfaction really lies.


It’s all about the work you have to put in, refining lines, shifting fast so as not to waste even a quarter of a horsepower, and my favorite of all – braking late and using momentum as you set up for a corner.

Fast and powerful cars driven to this degree are beyond scary, and if you’re driving them with that sort of involvement you are most definitely doing something dangerous and illegal and probably should be on a track.


Apologies for the lengthy intro, but I felt like I should give you some context to this piece on a very special HKS demo car. One as special as it is bright.


This is another car that HKS built for TAS 2020 and it wears every single part that the famed Japanese manufacturer produces for the ZC33S chassis, plus some extras, like the the carbon fiber WRC wing that Saito-san at HKS found in Poland of all places.

It’s something he knew would set the car off rather well; what a great internet find!


To visually support the large piece of aerodynamic appendage, HKS crafted this front spoiler, finishing it off with a wood splitter section to ensure that when it rubs and scrapes it doesn’t hurt quite as much as if it was pre-preg dry carbon.


Like all of the HKS cars we saw last month, the Swift sits on Yokohama wheels, specifically 18×7-inch Advan Racing TC-4s shod in 215/40ZR18 Advan Neova rubber.

Braking is addressed with Endless 4-pot calipers that bite down on 2-piece rotors up front, resulting in more stopping power than you would ever need in a small car like the Swift.


HKS Hipermax Max IV SP coilovers take care of the handling, which is geared towards a mix of fast road use and the ability to be fun on the odd track excursion.


Power-wise, the Suzuki K14C 1.4-liter turbo mill has been given a power-up with HKS’s GTIII Sports Turbine kit.


At 1bar (14.7psi) of boost, the turbo and HKS Mastery ECU combo lifts output to 200hp, a 35hp increase over stock. That said, even a simple turbo swap would be enough to reduce back pressure and increase spool-up on a stock engine. HKS says that even with a 10hp hike the engine instantly feels more responsive and alive.


The demo car runs HKS’s front-mounted intercooler kit, because when you bump boost pressure the inlet temperature rises, so improvements to the way the intake charge is cooled are required. There’s also an HKS oil cooler kit fitted.


The HKS twin-exit exhaust is mated to a stainless steel front pipe section and a sports catalyst to get the best out of the mods up front.


When on boost, the HKS Swift sounds like a WRC car coming towards you on a mountain tarmac rally stage. Which is pretty much what the road we were shooting the car on looked like.


So what do you do after you’ve created a 200hp go kart?


You sort out the seating. The last thing you want to do when linking up tight second and third-gear corners around Mr. Fuji is be thrown around the cabin.


Enter Bride, who sent over a pair of seats – a carbon fiber fixed-back LowMax bucket for the driver side, and a reclinable LowMax with high bolsters for the passenger side.


Yep, you’ve guessed it, there was no way in hell my very Western-sized posterior was going to fit in the small Bride bucket, so the best I could do is imagine what sitting at the controls of the HKS Swift would be like from an interesting vantage point – one of the harness openings.


I’ve gotten this far and failed to mention one of the most important things about the ZC33S – it’s manual. The 6-speed is nice and tight and has closely matched gears so you get the very best out of the engine. No CVTs to be seen!


If your goal is to create a fun, affordable and very current hot hatch, the HKS Swift certainly shows you the way.


Powerful GT-Rs and Supras are fun, but cars like these are even more fun for a totally different set of reasons. When in doubt, simplify. Now, if I’d only followed that advice with my own cars…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Absolutely bonkers! I love it!

Brennan McKissick

Cars like this are what I think I enjoy the most. I sincerely wish the US had more cars like the Swift from the Japanese manufacturers. Right now, my GE8 Fit does the trick with coilovers and brakes upgrades but the Swifts are so cool.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

US gets forgotten when it comes to the smaller cars


US doesn't get forgotten, we don't buy these kinds of cars unless gas hits $5 a gallon.. If I sold small cars I wouldn't bother with the US either.. I drive an '18 GTI and I feel barely visible most of the time..


Well I guess it is time to start charging $5 a gallon for gas then!!! Lol

On a serious note, I think Cali and NY are places where it does cost close to $5 a gallon. I could be wrong but I know they pay a lot more than we do in Oklahoma. 87 here in OK is $2.14 gallon


The US and gas prices. Last time i payed 5.60€ per US Gallon per liter. At least as long as i do not confuse the us gallon with a imperial one. That are about 6.25$ per Gallon. But on the other hand there no speed limits here ...


1.49€ per liter for super plus (roz 98 / aon 93)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes forgot your best selling "car" is a pick up the size of a Japanese home lol


I really like suzuki swifts, there rare to see modified. but its great to see an HKS demo car again <3


Dino Dalle Carbonare

Not rare in Japan, the Swift Sport is a cheap entry level to fun motoring.


Suzuki is one of the most underated brand imho.. they do know how to build a fun and existing cars.. i've driven on of these and even in highways they are better (enough power and not nervous at highspeed) than some bigger mpvs


Sry for my bad english.. i mean exciting not existing

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I agree, they've shown time and time again what they are capable of doing.


Dino, I wish you someday can show us something about of the little Suzuki Alto Works... but if you can't fit into the Swift, hardly you will make it into a Alto.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Altos are super cool too!


The stock engine power is 140 hp. So the increase of 35 hp give a 175 hp as result (not 200)!


Yes, the stock engine output is 140 as Suzuki says, but stock cars run on dyno shows that a stock car is closer to 155hp


This looks like so much fun to drive!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

My ass didn't fit in case you were wondering.... :(


At 1bar (14.7psi) of boost, the turbo and HKS Mastery ECU combo lifts output to 200hp, a 35hp increase over stock.

In the EU, the stock car have 140 hp (not 165), is the JDM version different?


JDM version has a different gear ratio than the EU car, engine and power output is the same.
140hp on paper, but closer to 155hp when running stock car on dyno


It has only 138bhp stock! Wish it would have closer to 160-170 atleast


Want! Want! Want!!!


The 139bhp figure is only the official power at 95 RON. A tuning company in the UK has indeed proved once run in the engine can output 160-165 bhp from standard on 98 and above RON. Check out CTC Performance.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Japanese being conservative again...


This looks incredibly cool. Also, isn't that the exactly same wing HKS used on TRB-04? I wonder if they're going to redo the TRB-04 bodykit for road cars as well.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yep. No clue what they plan for that car now


I own a Swift Sport (ZC31S version) and ,yes, it's so much of a fun-to-drive car! Go to a twisty mountain road and you'll find yourself with a permanent smile on your face, thinkning "ok, let's go one more"!


I have a 2018 ZC33S with Ohlins Coilovers, Endless brakes, LSD Front diff, Upgraded Clutch and Stage 4 Engine tuning from CTC Performance.
This is to date the best, most fun car i have ever driven on track and it keeps up with a lot of faster cars!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Damn that sounds pretty serious! Care to share a few pix?


Yes, it turned out to be a bit more serious than I planed. But its all to beat the 8 min mark on the BTG part of Nurburgring.


Oh yes!
The HKS Swift on my birthday!


Is it me or does the steering wheel resemble a BMW or Mini wheel? Just a random thought...lol


Citroen Ds3 wrc wing.

Dino Dalle Carbonare



Have 2 Suzuki 's swift gti a 93 and 94 here in California

Dino Dalle Carbonare



These kind of cars are my favorite. I love big power, and enjoy the rush they give you. But i don't know why. Not much can compare with driving a lower powered car to the absolute limit. It's oddly satisfying.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's the satisfaction you get from raping small cars with not so powerful engines. Do the same to fast and powerful car and you scare yourself silly, or die lol


Two questions:
1) Who made the rear wing?
2) Will they make one for the new GR Yaris?!

Philippe Nicolay

One answer:
1) Look up on Facebook: 'DYTKO SPORT - official site' - They make their own bodykits.
They have a complete photo album of a widebody converted Swift Sport.


Suzuki for the WIN + HKS


That wing is EVERYTHING <3. Amazing