Gas prices hit a record high in 2004 of all of $1.738 a gallon. It is no surprise, then, that Suzuki did not choose to federalize the Suzuki Swift for sale here in America. No surprise, sure, but still an open gash in my heart, a wound that has not healed.


I can tell you two things:

When we didn’t get the Suzuki Swift here, every day I felt the pain of its absence.


I would read about the Suzuki Swift Sport (debuting in 2005) in the pages of EVO Magazine, about the Swift-only rally series that one staffer entered. The bright-eyed car was low power (123 horsepower in Sport trim) but it was light. At a little over 1000 kilos it was crazy light compared to just about everything else on American roads. I wanted one desperately.


In the years since, I hate to say that my desire for the Swift has grown even stronger. I drove one on the Nordschleife, one that had been prepped by Rent4Ring, with a cage, seats, harness, brakes, tires, and suspension. It is difficult to overstate just how good the car drove, grippy and secure but happy to be hurled into a corner, always eager and aggressive but never unpredictable or frightening.


That could have been us. We could have driven the hell out of this car. And when the economy tanked in the Recession, gas prices spiking, Suzuki could have made a killing. Hell, if you ask me, the Suzuki Swift would have saved Americans from hurting in the global financial crisis—if not averted it entirely.

But no. Forever forbidden fruit. Dammit. Why Suzuki? WHY?

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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