One of our favorite cars to pop up on the show circuit this year was the Suzuki Swift Sport. It managed to capture our hearts with its chunky Mini-like bulldog stance. No normal Swift, this 126-hp version looked to deliver on the promise of its name. Alas, it isn't headed to the States and therefore joins the C1 Focus as one of the cars we must pine for from afar. But maybe our love was only infatuation. Nihon Car has driven one and came away wanting.

More after the jump and click here for a full high resolution gallery of Suzuki Swift Sport shots.

[Source: Nihon Car]

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Based on the new-in-2004, fourth generation Swift, the Sport was added to the Japanese market menu in '05. Along with the top of the line powerplant, Sport buyers get fog lamps, a new body kit, 16-inch alloys and some suspension tweaking. And the interior receives a makeover that lends a sportier appearance too. Sounds good so far. But looks can be deceiving, according to Nihon Car.

They were disappointed by the spartan interior that seemed old-fashioned and lacked comfort, but admitted keeping the price low made it an understandable compromise. More troubling were the driving dynamics. Despite high hopes, the VVT DOHC 1.6-liter 4 felt lethargic to them from the first kilometer. They blame it on a lack of torque (148Nm) and an inappropriately geared transmission that couldn't seem to move even the 2400 lb Swift with much verve. Such a pitty. We had high hopes for this little hatch.

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