These Are The Cheap Cars You Wish Were Still On Sale In The US

A vintage advert showing the Suzuki Swift GTi hatchback in a green border.

Photo: Suzuki

“This was a ridiculously tiny ‘economy’ hatchback, with the three-cylinder putt-putt motor replaced by a 1.3l, DOHC, 16 valve four-cylinder making 100hp. It was a hoot to drive. I almost bought one… the ‘rents wouldn’t let me because ‘what if you get hit by a truck?’.

“But I test drove it three separate times for over 100 miles total… I couldn’t get enough. That thing was all point-and-squirt and just ludicrous fun. Only small car that came close for years was the Impreza 2.5 RS (which made me giggle like a little girl when I drove it on tight, curvy, undulating back roads).

“Years later I bought an ‘04 Mini Cooper S, which was much bigger, much heavier, and quite a bit faster…it also handled better and was a ton of fun, but that stupid little Suzuki was just so insane that the Mini felt big and safe in comparison.

“If I could find one, I’d buy it in a heartbeat… if I could find one with a bad body and a Geo Metro ‘vert with a bad motor, I’d take the drivetrain and suspension from the GT and merge them into the ultimate summer-idiot car.

“P.S. I was going to say Ford Maverick, but I figured you weren’t looking for 52 year old cars that aren’t really small or cheap by today’s standards…but since I grew up in the back seat of a red one for the first 13 years of my life, I’ve always wanted one (that I could then make handle and go fast but still look econoFord).”

Available as a three- or five-door hatchback and a four-door sedan, the Suzuki Swift was a popular option in its day. Especially this amped up GTi model, which added in a 16 valve, 1.3-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that produced 101hp.

Suggested by: osmodious