October 18, 2020 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

2020 Suzuki S-Presso GL

Endearing and Simple

The all-new 2020 Suzuki S-Presso crossover-styled entry-level city car is a real gem. Much like the unique euphoria of taking a shot of really good Italian Espresso, the little Suzuki immediately creates that warm feeling inside. Alright, so of course after driving it for a week the S-Presso exposed some very acceptable compromises. I immediately want to express to you all that the compromises are acceptable beyond the obvious reason of pricing.

Even at the retail price of P518,000.00, it is still a healthy sum of money to spend on at a one-time purchase during these challenging times. So aside from the price, sure, I wish the audio system had 6-speakers instead of the two that it has. I wish the rack & pinion steering was sharper instead of feeling like it used a rubbery recirculating ball system. And of course, I wish it had more power too. But within mere minutes behind the wheel I just couldn’t stop smiling. The Suzuki S-Presso has so much character that it entertains you like you stumbled into a coffee shop and discovered, while in line, that there was a stand-up comedian performing, and he or she was intelligently hilarious.

It has been decades since I’ve driven a new car that had the combination of 14-inch steel wheels (fitted with Madras Rubber Factory or MRF for short 165/70R14 81S Z VTV Ecotred tires) with plastic hub caps, rear manual windows, manual mirror adjustments, a 5-speed manual transmission, and a tiny powerplant. Yet, it was so enjoyable to drive around. It is endearing in its simplicity.

It is an attractive and versatile utilitarian hatchback that can sincerely be used every day as a workhorse as long as you accept its limitations. It looks deceivingly tall accentuated by its 180 mm ground clearance and spindly tires. Our Metallic Silky Silver test unit (also available in Sizzle Orange, Fire Red, and Metallic Granite Grey) reminded me of my high school days driving a silver Toyota Corolla XL (E90) that also had unpainted bumpers. That Corolla had 14-inch Rota Italia alloys, and everything was manual. The only sophisticated component on the car was the aftermarket Alpine cassette head unit powering 4-speakers. The 66 hp/72 lb-ft Corolla had a carbureted 1.3-liter 12-valve sohc inline-4 engine mated to a 4-speed manual, and had unassisted steering with vented discs up front and drums. It had no tachometer, no airbags and no ABS. I mastered my j-turns and car-tricks on that noble steed. The Suzuki has a smaller cabin than that old Corolla XL, but it has a livelier and more efficient modern engine mated to a good 5-speed transmission and managed by good brakes with ABS. It has rear parking sonar, rear ISOFIX child seat mounts, power door locks, keyless entry, front powered windows, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, simple but neat digital instruments, and a strong aircon.

The cabin is straightforward, modest, and tasteful. The build quality as well as the fit and finish are very good. It seats really only 4 adults with 239 liters of trunk space with a foldable rear seat. The S-Presso is a spunky little car that aims to please. I enjoyed driving it way more than I did with the new Toyota Wigo TRS S despite its more generous amounts of standard kit.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-3
Displacement 998 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 12V
Fuel Injector Multi-Point Injection, VVT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 67 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 66 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
Transmission 5-Speed MT

Performance

Top Speed 154 km/h (96 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 12.7 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 16 km/L Overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 518,000.00
What's Great Exceptional value, very fun and practical
What's Not So Fixed steering column, no front fog lamps, only 2-speakers
C! Editors Rating 9/10
© C! 2003-2020. All Rights Reserved. Designed by