If you thought the Oxford-built Mini had cornered the market in supermini charisma it might be time to think again.

Suzuki’s new Swift Sport is light on its feet, agile and dynamic and as nippy as its name suggests.

Quicker and lighter than the previous model, the little car is as bright as a button – particularly when it comes in Champion Yellow, a colour taken from the works junior rally car.

Unlike the stripped-out rally car, this thoroughly likeable road car is full of creature comforts, with automatic air conditioning, DAB radio, privacy glass, LED daytime running lights and Bluetooth fitted as standard.

The single specification model also includes smartphone link display audio with a seven-inch touchscreen, rear view camera, front fog lamps, satellite navigation, LED headlamps, polished 17-inch alloy wheels and rear electric windows.

Inside, the surprisingly spacious, fuss-free interior has plenty of sporty appeal with red panels around the cockpit, a red-dial rev counter and silver speedometer and a set of alloy pedals.

The front seats are of semi-bucket design and have exclusive tubular frames set within the side supports of both the seatback and seat base cushion with bolsters for extra support when cornering. The steering wheel is also exclusive to the Sport with a dimpled leather design, satin black inlays and red stitching.

The Sport lives up to the promise of its sporty interior and exterior design with a 140 horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-litre, four-cylinder engine, mated to a short-throw, six-speed manual transmission.

Matched by a taut suspension, the package delivers peace of mind, especially on tight, twisting country roads.

Should you need further reassurance, the power available is backed up by a host of electronics designed to protect and, more importantly, prevent problems.

On the safety front, the car packs in six airbags and a range of systems from electronic stability program, which helps ensure stability while driving, to a forward detection system that combines a camera and a laser sensor to control everything from autonomous emergency braking and high beam assist, to radar-operated adaptive cruise control.

If the car spots a risk of collision, it issues both an audio and visual warning. If there is a high risk of collision and you hit the brakes hard the system deploys brake assist, increasing braking force. If the risk of a collision increases even more, the system takes over and applies full automatic braking in an effort to avoid the collision or reduce damage.

At speeds of 25mph or higher, high beam assist is designed to automatically switch the headlights between high beam and dip.

A lane departure warning system not only vibrates the steering wheel and lights a warning indicator in the instrument cluster to catch your attention if you stray off the straight and narrow, but also delivers an automatic input from the steering wheel.

On a practical note, the luggage capacity is 25 per cent larger than the previous Swift Sport.

If you don’t feel you can carry off the head-turning qualities of the car in dazzling yellow, the Sport also comes in red, blue or grey metallic, or black or white pearl finishes.

Whatever the colour, the Swift Sport is a fine driver’s car, even though it faces stiff competition from the likes of the Peugeot’s 208 GTI, Ford Fiesta ST, the considerably cheaper Volkswagen up! GTI and, of course, the Mini Cooper.

Auto facts

Model: Suzuki Swift Sport

Price: £17,999 on the road

Insurance group: 9E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 50.4mpg

Top speed: 130mph

Length: 389cm/152.7in

Width: 175.5cm/68.9in

Luggage capacity: 9.3 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 8.1 gallons/37 litres

CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles