The instant first impression is of a ‘Mini-me’ Suzuki Jimny but the new S-Presso arrives as the cheapest car on the South African market and the first major launch to be hit by Covid-19 in the form of a cancellation.
Thankfully, the digital age meant Suzuki could compile a video of the actual planned launch event and live-stream it to motoring writers around the country – obviously the only thing lacking being the tactile sensation and a launch drive.
However, with pricing in the auto market extremely critical in these tough times, Suzuki’s little urban creeper is welcomes with open arms – and it comes, not as ‘cheap’ but well priced since the car comes with dual front crash bags, anti-lock braking with EBD and reverse parking sensors as part of the standard fare.
The S-Presso joins Suzuki’s range of urban SUVs with a choice of five model derivatives and two transmission options.
“We are very excited to introduce the new Suzuki S-Presso in South Africa. It combines many of our most advanced technologies, such as our HEARTECT platform, with our compact SUV expertise to offer a compact, but roomy and well-specified new urban SUV that is truly within everyone’s reach,” says André Venter, divisional manager for sales and marketing at Suzuki Auto South Africa.
Viewed from the front, the S-Presso has a four-slot grille with large S-emblem. The grille is flanked by squared-off halogen headlamps, with a distinct differentiation between the integrated indicators and main headlamps.
Below the grille, the lower black bumper is swept up in a trapezoidal shape into the coloured main bumper to create a larger air intake and the visual impression of a high-riding SUV. Not that it is simply a visual trick – the S-Presso has a ground clearance of 180 mm on all models, thanks in part to its the 14-inch steel wheels.
The wheels have been placed at the outer corners of the S-Presso to ensure good road holding and to allow the engineers to fit a 2,38 m wheelbase into this 3,56 m long vehicle.
All models also feature colour-coded door handles and side mirrors, with the choice of six exterior colours: Sizzle Orange, Pearl Starry Blue, Fire Red, Metallic Granite Grey, Metallic Silky Silver and White.
At the rear, a small integrated spoiler is added to the hatch door, while the square rear lights with their C-design have been moved above the shoulder line to strengthen the SUV design theme. A black rear bumper, with a design similar to the front bumper, is fitted below the coloured section and features the number plate recess and integrated parking sensors, which are standard across the entire S-Presso range.
For buyers looking for something more exclusive, Suzuki has designed a premium S-Edition model that highlights all of the S-Presso’s most prominent SUV features. The S-Edition draws its SUV inspiration from the Suzuki Escudo S-Edition, which was launched in Japan in 2004.
This model features silver highlights in the four-slot grille, silver front and rear skid plates and bold side cladding over the wheel arches and on the lower sections of the doors. The protective side cladding on the doors is further emphasised by a large silver panel insert, which visually connects the front and rear silver skid plates.
The bulky design of the S-Presso, its high ride height and wide track allowed the engineers to fit the S-Presso body on to Suzuki’s proprietary HEARTECT platform.
HEARTECT is Suzuki’s latest-generation platform that underpins models such as the Dzire, Ignis and Swift. It utilises precision engineering and high and ultra-high tensile steel to create a platform that is not only very light, but also very rigid. This translates into better performance and handling, lower noise, vibration and harshness as well as class-leading passive safety.
Sitting atop the HEARTECT platform is Suzuki’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) bodyshell, which uses all of the same materials and engineering principles to create an equally safe and rigid shell around the occupants.
“By using our modern passive safety technology in the design of the S-Presso, we have proven affordable vehicles do not have to compromise on family safety,” says Venter. “It also means our active safety features, which include two crash bags and anti-lock braking with EBD, will offer the best possible protection within the TECT safety cocoon.”
Inside, The centre console houses a digital speedometer and trip computer, the radio or infotainment system and the centrally mounted power window and hazard switches.
All versions of the S-Presso feature power windows for the front occupants, rear parking sensors, air-conditioning, power steering and a multi-information display, which includes information such as distance to empty, trip duration and distance travelled.
On the GL+ model, Suzuki has bumped up the specification with its full colour infotainment system. This system is touch sensitive and includes full integration for most smartphones through the in-built Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems.
This full colour infotainment system also offers USB and auxiliary ports and Bluetooth connectivity as standard and will display the image from the in-built reverse camera on the screen.
S-Edition models retain the infotainment system and mirror the silver detailing on the exterior with similar highlights on the centre console, air conditioning louvers and side door panels.
All versions of the S-Presso have a foldable rear bench seat and parcel tray as standard, with extra storage spaces available in the front and rear console pockets, the door pockets with integrated bottle holders and the large glove box.
The new Suzuki S-Presso shares its engine with the Suzuki Celerio. This three-cylinder engine is code-named K10B and offers 50 kW at 5 500 r/min and 90 Nm of torque at 3 500 r/min, thanks to its use of multi-point fuel injection and four valves per cylinder.
The K10B engine drives the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automated manual transmission (AMT), with the latter using Suzuki’s Automated Gear Selection (AGS) technology for smooth shifts using a manual transmission with self-actuating clutch. The AGS system also has an in-built crawl function to allow for fuss-free driving in stop-and-go traffic.
Under the skin, the S-Presso rides on a combination of McPherson struts in front and torsion beams linked to the rear wheels. This system has proven itself in several other compact Suzuki models and helps to keep the kerb weight – a maximum of 770 kg with all extras on the S-Presso – to an absolute minimum.
Suzuki Auto will offer all versions of the Suzuki S-Presso together with a 2-year / 30 000 km service plan and 5-year / 200 000 km mechanical warranty, along with a year of complementary insurance included in the price.
The mechanical warranty includes a 3-year / unlimited roadside assistance plan, which now includes features such as battery and locksmith support, call-out services, mechanical and electrical support, breakdown towing and emergency medical rescue. The service also includes stand-by-you roadside security, while you wait for roadside assistance.
“With our long list of standard features, our stand-out design, the option of manual or AMT transmission and our comprehensive service plan and mechanical warranty, we want to introduce a whole new segment of the market to Suzuki’s generosity. We hope that the all-new S-Presso will help us grow our family and prove to the market we are the value-market leaders,” says Venter.
1.0 GL MT R134 900
1.0GL+ MT R139 900
1.0GL+ AMT R152 900
1.0 S-Edition MT R147 900
1.0 S-Edition AMT R160 900