Of the many oddities in the English language, which make it so difficult for foreigners to learn and understand, is the ability of one word to have polar opposite meanings and go from compliment to offensive depending entirely on the speaker, the recipient and the tone of voice.
Even in these days of sometimes outrageous political correctness, it is hard to reconcile a small; four-letter word could wield the power to please or the power to insult.
That word is ‘cute’.
So, in the context of what follows, it should be taken as non-gender specific and being unquestionably complimentary.
The Suzuki S-Presso is cute.
That’s it, that’s my review. It needs nothing more.
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.
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 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 light, but also 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) body shell, which uses all of the same materials and engineering principles to create an equally safe and rigid shell around the occupants.
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.
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 transmission – other variants have a five-speed automated manual transmission as an option.
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.
On the Road
Despite an engine note that sounds like a highly stressed Singer sewing machine, the Suzuki Spresso is happy to be revved to the full and responds quickly to throttle inputs, even in higher gears. While no robot dragster, it can do more than pull the skin off a rice pudding.
As an urban runabout, the high seating position and large windows give the driver an excellent field of vision all round and, being so small and cute, will easily sneak into the most miniscule of the generally undersized shopping centre parking spaces.
On the road, it sits confidently and remains quite solid with limited body roll even when being pressed through corners. Overall handling is quite neutral and the 14-inch wheels do define the limits as being ‘early’. On our badly maintained roads, the ride quality asks questions of quite a few far more expensive cars and even the seat comfort over longer distances is a class above average.
Being so small and light, its one failing is it is susceptible to cross winds and drivers need to be vigilant.
The test fuel consumption average came in at 5,2 l/100 km but there was some of that aforementioned crosswind at play. It is likely it could be shaved slightly lower.
However, it is simply a fun car to drive and, hell yes, it is cute.