• The Vitara Brezza range includes a 1.5-litre engine delivering 77kW and 136Nm.
• Pricing starts from R244 900.
• Suzuki claims an average fuel consumption reading of 6.2-litres/100km.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.
I've been privileged to have driven a large chunk of Suzuki's latest offerings like the S-Presso, Swift, Swift Sport, Vitara, and more recently, the Vitara Brezza.
The latter is the Japanese brand's latest offering in the market with a starting price of R244 900, sitting alongside the original Vitara as the SUV options in the local model line-up.
Producing frugal small passenger cars is Suzuki's forte. They've managed to establish a firm foothold in the market wherein it competes - combining fuel-sipping credentials with that of affordable pricing - which is proving to be a winning recipe at present.
It just gets Brezza
Seeing the TV advertisement about 'our little Daniele' shows off the SUV's best aesthetic bits, but any vehicle can't be judged on looks alone. Things like fuel consumption, driving dynamics, and overall value for money plays an integral part in choosing where to channel your money for the next few years.
Do you own an old or new Suzuki model, and what makes it special to you? Email us, or share your thoughts in the comments section below.
One thing I've noticed is that the price of the top-of-the-range Vitara Brezza GLX with an automatic transmission is just a couple of thousands short of the original entry-level Vitara. There generally tends to be a big gulf between SUVs of various sizes from other automakers.
After piloting a test unit in the higher-spec GLX trim (priced at R289 900) for a week, I channelled my inner Randall Abrahams from Idols to gauge whether the hype surrounding the Brezza was genuine.
1. Cheaper than its rivals
The Hyundai Venue (priced from R311 900), Ford EcoSport (priced from R303 400), Honda WR-V (priced from R289 900) and Mahindra XUV 300 (priced from R254 999) are some of the Brezza's (priced from R244 900) closest rivals at present. It trumps them in the pricing department by some considerable distance.
Suzuki is not a brand for messing about with niceties, and even though the Brezza is the 'flashier' option, the price is often the clincher for most people in the market for an affordable SUV.
2. Low fuel spend
Powering the Brezza is a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre engine with outputs of 77kW and 136Nm, mated to either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.
Suzuki claims a fuel consumption of 6.2-litres/100km, and having driven a model equipped with a five-speed manual in GLX trim, the best return I could muster was around 6.8. While that figure might seem somewhat high on paper, how the fuel is spent in actual driving situations is not an accurate representation.
The fuel blocks take a good while to drop, and with good driving, the range extends ever so often.
3. Great boot space and nifty storage sections
One of the SUV's esteeming qualities is the boot space on offer. Even though the Brezza's capacity (328-litres) offers the least space in the rear compared to its directs rivals, other than the Toyota Urban Cruiser - Venue (350-litres), EcoSport (333-litres), WR-V (363-litres) - it certainly doesn't feel smaller when you're loading items in the boot.
Also, there are cool storage sections on the boot's side and in front of the passenger on the dash where additional items can be stored - something which is often lacking because most just use the cubby hole. The inner boot tray can also be removed to free up a bit more space.
4. Selection of trim levels to suit different budgets
With a range starting from R244 900, there isn't a better priced compact SUV on the market at present. Customers can choose between GL or GLX trim levels and can customise their models with a host of additional accessories like wheel arches, grille garnish or side cladding.
Suzuki does affordable and brand-new really well, and it shows with their model line-up. The original Vitara is only a few thousand rands more expensive than the top-specced Brezza.
5. It drives like a passenger car
One would assume that an SUV would drive a but different to a typical passenger car because of the bigger body. That most certainly is not the case in the Brezza. Having driven the Swift previously, the driving dynamic is very similar in the SUV. There is no lag between accelerator, clutch, and rev range, which you tend to feel in heavier bodied vehicles.
Besides the extra gear available, the manual transmission is seamless and should be considered.