We’ve come to expect these small-but-great cars from Suzuki by now, but the Suzuki S-Presso genuinely caught us by surprise. I’m still having a hard time placing it. Is it a micro car? A micro SUV? Suzuki’s own website classifies it as a hatchback. But none of that really matters, because while the Suzuki S-Press is all cute on the outside, it’s when you delve into the details that you see that it’s much more than the sum of its parts.
It’s clear that Suzuki was targeting the ultra-affordable market here, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first glance. We wouldn’t blame you if you considered the Suzuki S-Presso to be a crossover. It’s got an athletic profile thanks in part to sculpted wheel arches, a large SUV-like front grille, and relatively high ground clearance of 180mm. There’s a lot of plastic on the outside, but the black moldings contrast so well with the fun-looking orange our test unit came in, that we’re not even complaining. The 14-inch steel wheels with hubcaps are par for the course at this price range, though we’ve already started to see some S-Pressos going around the metro with upgraded rims, emphasizing the S-Presso’s potential as a base for some seriously awesome aesthetic modifications.
Figuring out which category the S-Presso belongs becomes even more confusing once you sit inside. You’ll get an SUV-like commanding view of the road as the S-Presso’s seats are positioned rather high – so high in fact that I was surprised my head wasn’t hitting the roof. The front row seats only adjust four ways, so there’s no way to lower the seat height. It only takes a moment to get used to it though, and isn’t really a bothersome point. You’ll immediately notice the absence of a traditional instrument cluster, with a large digital speedometer located at the center console together with another digital screen relaying your odometer and fuel information. No tachometer here, folks.
The rest of the cabin is fairly straightforward, with a generous use of black plastic. The S-Presso is still a Suzuki product, however, and with that pedigree comes a certain level of build quality that is never compromised. The plastics still feel solid, and the buttons and knobs feel great to the touch. You’ll see some cost-cutting with the 90s-inspired air-conditioning controls, manually-adjusted side mirrors, and roll-up windows for the back seats, though Suzuki was thoughtful enough to equip the S-Presso with a 7” touchscreen powering two speakers up front. Bluetooth and USB connectivity is present though, so that’s a nice upscale-level touch from an entry-level car.
The seats at the rear offer a surprisingly generous amount of legroom, though three passengers are in for a bit of a squeeze due to the limited shoulder room. Up front, Suzuki opted to move the power window switches to the center giving you more elbow room – a page taken from the Jimny – though expect to hit your front passenger’s elbow once in a while when shifting gears. Equally surprising is the amount of luggage space available at 239 liters. Not a ton of space, but still more than the average entry-level micro car, and certainly enough for four large duffel bags. Folding the rear seats down opens the S-Presso up to even more space for larger cargo if needed.
At the heart of the S-Presso is the same K10B 3-cylinder, 1-liter engine found in the Celerio, producing 67 hp and 66 lb-ft of torque. And while the S-Presso and Celerio share the same powerplant, it’s worth noting that the S-Presso is almost 100 kg lighter, with a curb weight of around 750-770 kg versus the Celerio’s 805-860 kg. This contributes to making the S-Presso a lot livelier than it has any right to be, eagerly jumping off the line when prodded, and producing some nice pull when downshifting for overtaking.
Its taller profile and higher center of gravity does make it prone to some slight wind buffeting and body roll on corners, but you’ll find yourself caring very little. And its minimum turning radius of 4.5 meters makes it ridiculously easy to maneuver through even the sharpest of tight corners. Even better is its fuel consumption, rewarding us with a fuel economy of 15-16 km/l on combined highway and city driving conditions.
Priced at PhP 518,000, the S-Presso is Suzuki’s most affordable car, and one of the most affordable cars in the market in general. Yet despite its entry-level pricing, you’ll find important safety features such as dual SRS airbags, rear parking sensors, ABS with EBD, and even ISOFIX child seat anchors. Suzuki once again offers a remarkable level of value with the S-Presso and is an easy recommendation not just for those looking for an entry-level personal car, but for enthusiasts to tinker and toy around with as well.
|Engine||Inline-3, 998 cc, dohc 12V, Multi-Point Injection, VVT, 5-speed M/T|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||67 bhp @ 5500 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||66 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm|
|Top Speed||150 km/h (93 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||14.3 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||16 km/L Overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 518,000.00|
|What's Great||Excellent value, above average fit and finish and build quality, unbeatable price|
|What's Not So||Fixed steering column, steering not as precise as we’d have wanted|
|C! Editors Rating||8.5/10|