- Suzuki has refreshed its popular S-Presso model.
- It is the most affordable new car on the local market.
- Pricing starts from R162 900.
We recently got reacquainted with Suzuki's super-affordable micro SUV on some good Cape roads. News24 Motoring contributor Calvin Fisher drives the updated S-Presso.
I don't just mean affordable for an SUV; I mean affordable overall. Like, one of the cheapest cars you could buy new - and I'm saying this even though brands hate being associated with that word. But it's cheap. As low as R162 900 for the entry-level GL manual all the way to the range-topper at R199 900 for the S-Edition AMT (automated transmission).
They all share the same one-litre three-cylinder K10C engine from the new Celerio, featuring stop/start technology and churning forth a modest 49kW and 89Nm. Anoraks will remember the previous model made a solitary kilowatt more power, but this new unit is more efficient with a conservative 4.4-litre/100km fuel consumption figure. I had the pleasure of a GL+ manual model for my drive along the coast - yours for a sensible R169 900. Again, I think it costs more money to walk.
Differences between the new car and the one launched in 2020 are threadbare, with changes mainly manifesting in the new S-Edition trim levels. Those get silver side skirts and bumper moulds. The S-Edition and GL+ now feature alloy wheels instead of hubcaps, with the more expensive model receiving a 9" inch touchscreen. While my GL+ had to make do with a lesser 7-inch screen.
Also present is a rearview camera, Isofix mounting points and a raft of safety options. Speaking of which, the outgoing S-Presso's safety was rated at 3 stars, but this model is further blessed with ESP, so it is arguably safer still.
But what's it like to drive?
In terms of torque, it could barely pull the blanket off your bed, but once you're up and running, it is an absolute pleasure to cruise along the coast. We pottered around Chapman's Peak, meandered around Misty Cliffs and ascended Red Hill Drive with no hassle around Cape Town. A pleasant experience made all the more enjoyable thanks to the naturally aspirated engine enjoying a jaunt at sea level.
I can imagine it struggling somewhat at altitude, but that's the challenge its rivals must also face. I refer primarily to the Renault Kwid and Mahindra KUV100 - both of which are trounced by the Suzuki, in my opinion. The handling is fair, behaving exactly the way you'd expect something both tiny and tall to do. Perhaps adding levity to the experience was the S-Presso's bright colour palette - the same six hues as before, including bright red, orange, blue and white.
Ultimately, the S-Presso is a fun little car that plays well on tar and is unafraid of gravel but knows its place in the market. I could argue for it across many segments - with space as its only fundamental limitation.
Suzuki S-Presso pricing
1.0 GL 5MT R162 900
1.0 GL 5AMT R176 900
1.0 GL+ 5MT R169 900
1.5 GL+ 5AMT R183 900
1.5 S-Edition 5MT R185 900
1.5 S-Edition 5AMT R199 900
Prices include a two-year or 30 000km service plan and also a 5-year or 200 000km promotional warranty.