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SSS as a "first" car

Hi guys,
Throughout this, I am referring to the First and second generations SSS.

I'm new here and new to forum-type of things. First things first, I currently drive a Peugeot 207 1.4 HDi but things are starting to look like I need a different car as it might be failing its next MOT and it needs some stuff doing to it that just isn't financially worth it for the car. (I also hate the way it looks) So I've been looking around for a potential for a different car, (I'm only 18 and passed my test almost 2 months ago), and I like Japanese cars so I've been drawn to a Suzuki swift but I'm particularly interested in the sport due to its rev-happy nature and I've heard the transmission is better in the sport. I've had a quote for about £1.6k with a black box which is fairly decent for what else I've been looking at (I have no no-claims).

I just had a few questions as my dad is against the idea of me getting a SSS.
Me being ≈197cm tall I was wondering if I could even fit in a swift, yeah it'd be great if I could test sit one but I haven't had the opportunity yet.
How reliable the engine is. My dad is calling it "soft and weak". "the cams wear quickly", "the bore scores easily".... which I can't find any evidence to back his point up? And if I do run into an issue how much will it cost to repair, I read somewhere that the parts are cheap, is this true?
On reliability, How long is a clutch expected to last?
If my budget allows for it should I extend for a newer one rather than an older one, I have a tight budget so I want to spend less rather than more.
Should I go for an older one with lower miles or a newer one with more miles? are they still good even after 100k miles?
There is probably something I forgot to ask but if there is any advice you can give id be happy to listen, I'm here to learn.

Cheers in advance,

My son's bought one for his first car on a 15 plate and he loves it. He's 6'2" tall, whatever that is in new money. I'm just back from Iceland, the country not the shop, and the most popular cars I could see were Swifts and Dacia dusters so I'm guessing neither can be that bad coping with that weather.

Interesting that Swifts are a popular choice in Iceland. Lightweight and 2 wheel drive doesn't fit. Life is full of surprises.