Tag Archives: Swift

Suzuki SA-310 (1983-1988)

This is a post where I will share various bits of information regarding the Suzuki SA-310 – including adverts, articles, forum posts, pictures, media appearances and more.

One of the first few cars from then Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Suzuki, the SA-310 came to market in late-1983 in Europe. The small car was set to compete against the popular small cars at the time from Ford (Fiesta), Fiat (Uno), Nissan (Micra) and Austin (Metro). With a starting price of £3,999 (1984, Motor Magazine) for the GL trim level the car was the cheapest of its rivals. Like its competition the cars main aim was economy – however according to the Star Road Test conducted by Motor Magazine in 1984 it has the best standard equipment options, including:

  • Cigar lighter
  • Clock
  • Cloth trim interior
  • Dipping mirror
  • Fresh air vents
  • Head restraints
  • Heated rear window
  • Intermit/flick wipe
  • Laminated screen
  • Petrol filler lock
  • Radio
  • Rear wash/wipe
  • Rev counter (tachometer)
  • Reverse lights
  • Seat recline
  • Tinted glass

One of the options that was not included by standard was a rear fog lamp, however many models have had an aftermarket one fitted to the rear bumper as it is required to pass an MOT.

Very few examples of the SA-310 exist on UK roads today as many were simply used for their intended purpose; a small, cheap and consumable vehicle for driving to the shops. For this reason many of them were retired to the scrapyard. Also considering that some of these vehicles have been subject to 30-34 British winters (which means road grit, lots of it), combined with typical thin Japanese 80s steel – most of these cars were probably sent to the scrapyard on rust and corrosion issues alone.

The SA-310 is also a good example of badge engineering, with the car adopting many different names across the globe:

  • Suzuki Cultus (Japan)
  • Suzuki Swift (Later Models in Europe)
  • Suzuki Khyber
  • Suzuki Forsa
  • Holden Barina (Australia)
  • Chevrolet Sprint (USA)
  • Chevrolet Sprint Metro (USA)
  • Pontiac Firefly (Canada)
  • Isuzu Geminett (Japan)


Media Appearances


  • Motor Magazine – 21st January 1984 [PDF] Star Road Test

Notable Registrations (VRNs)

The following vehicle registration numbers could be considered notable for their appearances in magazines, brochures, newspapers, adverts, television programmes or films.


This registration plate appears on a red SA-310 press car that was featured in Motor magazine’s January 1984 Star Road Test. However the DVLA records this car as being Silver and not the red colour that it wears in the road test. The DVLA also currently have this vehicle as having no tax and no MOT.


Notable Forum Posts