Launch Report: Suzuki S-Presso

Suzuki isn’t exactly known for innovation. Value for money, yes. Reliability and no-frills motoring, most certainly. But now the Japanese brand may add more glory to their local, award-winning reputation with the innovative launch of their new S-Presso compact urban SUV.

Innovation isn’t just defined by doing something new… Suzuki South Africa proved that it’s also showcased by the speed and efficiency of re-arranging big plans. Their huge media and dealer launch of this cheeky new city SUV was set to brighten up Cape Town just two days after our prez told us to stay at home because of hashtag coronavirus.

Barely 24 hours before I was due to check into a trendy hotel for the start of their S-Presso launch, they phoned me to cancel the physical event. After providing my home / quarantine address, they sent me a media pack as well as multiple emails where I could remotely witness the launch and media presentation.

Typical Suzuki S.A.

It was short, schweet, and highly professional. Typical Suzuki S.A. The only thing I have to beg your pardon for, dear reader, is the fact that I haven’t driven an S-Presso yet but – thanks to its maker’s sterling efforts in the face of adversity – I am now well-qualified to tell you all about this new cabbie.

For starters, this vehicle was developed in conjunction with Maruti Suzuki; their Indian division. The looks and proportions are so indicative of this that at first I thought this was a rebadged Mahindra KUV100. Nope, perhaps it borrowed some design elements and stance from its countryman but this is an all-new Suzuki product.

The Indian market was obviously a strong inspiration for crafting this tall but slim SUV facsimile with small wheels, decent space, generous 180mm ground clearance and a raised driving position. Based on their HEARTECT platform, the S-Presso offers three trim lines, two transmissions (5-speed manual or automated manual) and front-wheel drive only.

Every S-Presso is powered by Suzuki’s beloved K10B engine whose 50kW or 90Nm also propel the Celerio. This 1-litre (998cc) three-cylinder petrol engine features four valves per cylinder, multi-point fuel injection, low emissions and a high compression ratio (11:1) so you can (and sometime have to) rev the nuts and bolts off it.

Textbook city car and Suzuki.

Claimed average fuel consumption is just 4.9L/100km while other crucial dimensions include a 27L fuel tank (for a theoretical range of 551km), 239L of boot space, 4.5m turning radius, sensible 165/70R14 tyres on four steel wheels, 750kg kerb weight, 1.56m height, 1.52m width and just 3.56m from nose to tail.

As for safety, Suzuki isn’t forging new paths but at least they didn’t stray down the wrong one like some of its budget competitors… Hence, every S-Presso is shipped with driver and passenger airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters, as well as ABS (anti-skid) brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD).

Other standard items include an immobiliser, rear parking sensors, child-proof rear door locks, 14-inch plastic wheel covers and the choice of six colours: white, silver, metallic grey, red, bright blue or orange! All Suzukis are covered by a 3-year/100,000km warranty and each S-Presso gets a little 2-year/30,000km service plan, too.

The entry-level GL model features a normal radio while GL+ and S-Edition derivatives get a cool 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with smartphone integration and reversing camera. S-Edition cars also have lots of macho cladding and paneling, although these (and other visual goodies) can be found on the options list.

Again, I’d love to tell you what this little car feels like to drive but some virus got in the way of our planned excursions. I suggest you have a good look around and if you really want to take on for a test-drive, sanitise your hands and head down to your nearest Suzuki dealer.


March 2020

S-Presso 1.0 GL MT R134 900
S-Presso 1.0 GL+ MT R139 900
S-Presso 1.0 GL+ AMT R152 900
S-Presso 1.0 S-Edition MTR147 900
S-Presso 1.0 S-Edition AMTR160 900

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