We had our day planned: First, we will all go get our renewed passports from the Foreign Affairs office, which we weren’t able to renew in time because of the pandemic. Then, we will go to the mall to get new cases for our home computers. If there’s a watch strap shop in the mall, I’ll get a leather strap for one of my wrist watches. We didn’t plan to stay too long in the mall since the COVID virus is still mutating and considered contagious. Better be safe than sorry, we always say.
When we – my daughter Vette, my son Chevy, my wife Shawie, her brother Jericho and I – went to the garage, we decided to get into the 2022 Suzuki S-Presso Special Edition (SE) instead of our family car. The SE is the upgraded version fitted with grille garnish, side fender garnish, front and rear spoilers and a different set of 14-inch alloy wheels to achieve what Suzuki Philippines (SPH) dubs as the “mini SUV look”. We wanted to see if the five of us will fit comfortably into this Pearl Starry Blue subcompact 5-door hatchback, and fit we did. Chevy and I were comfortable at the front while Shawie, Vette and Jericho had to squeeze a bit at the back. So, off we went to our planned destinations.
Playing a Tune from the ‘90s
On the road, we inserted a USB into the 7-inch infotainment system and played some music from the Nineties. R.E.M.’s “Shiny, Happy People” came on and I realized when I looked around the car that we were indeed shiny, happy people inside the S-Presso SE. We were smiling at how this subcompact Suzuki looks small on the outside but feels big inside. The head room was high, the seats were mounted more upright to create a suitable amount of legroom within the 2.4-meter wheelbase, and the ride was a bit more comfortable than we expected.
The Suzuki engineers must have been great at putting puzzles together because they were able to package the drivetrain and passenger compartment in a two-box design that is only 3.5 meters long, 1.5 meters wide and 1.6 meters tall. They designed the doors to open at a wider angle to allow easier ingress and egress, designed the front seats to be comfortable and supportive, and placed the instrument panel in the center of the dash above the infotainment system. This would also allow easier assembly of the interior whether left-hand drive (LHD) or right-hand (RHD). The Suzuki engineers must have been shiny, happy people, too.
Space, the Final Frontier…
Despite its compact dimensions and central instrument panel, the driver’s cockpit is still ergonomic with all the controls falling readily to hand. The manual rotary controls for the air-conditioner are mounted low but these are often set prior to the drive and won’t cause any distraction when the temperature or fan speed needs to adjusted while on the go. Our only complaint is that the center A/C vents are mounted too high up the center of the dash and have a tendency to freeze your hands on the polyurethane steering wheel. Also, the front power window switches mounted on the center dash will need some getting used to.
The fabric-covered seats are attractive, sufficiently padded and comfortable for city drives. They do not retain heat, which helps the A/C cool the compact interior quicker when the S-Presso is left parked under a hot sun. The rear bench seat features a folding backrest to increase its cargo capacity and achieve its mini-SUV functionality. We were happy to find that the two computer cases and the other accessories we bought at the mall fit at the 239-liter luggage space behind the seats. We were happy that we didn’t have to leave anyone behind after we bought all the stuff we needed.
It Does What It’s Meant To Do
On the road, the little blue S-Presso SE does what it’s supposed to do. As its name implies, it transports 5 passengers and their stuff expressly and expressively. The transverse-mounted K10B inline 3-cylinder pumps out 90 Newton-meters at 3,500 rpm to provide sufficient acceleration for this 770-kilogram subcompact hatchback. It was a joy to row the 5-speed stick shift to make full use of the 67 horsepower engine that peaks at 5,500 rpm and allows it to flow easily with traffic at the speed limit. It also returned a respectable 14.3 kilometers per liter during our drive through Metro Manila traffic.
The front McPherson struts and rear torsion beam suspension system do an admirable job of absorbing the road shocks and keeping the four wheels perpendicular to the ground. The 165/70R14 MRF ZVTV Ecotred tires provide adequate grip and absorption of the road undulations but, as expected, the short wheelbase transmits the vibration from the road on to the chassis, resulting in a ride that’s a wee bit choppy, especially over the less-than-perfect road surfaces around Metro Manila. The rack-and-pinion steering allows a tight 4.5-meter turning radius to make maneuvering this cute hatchback around tight spaces a lot easier and a lot more fun.
We got home as fresh, happy and shiny as we did when we left. Our computer components were not jarred from the journey and worked perfectly after Jericho installed them in our reassembled PCs. I was able to buy a nice black alligator skin leather strap for my wrist watch and we all got our renewed passports. Aside from our errands, I thoroughly enjoyed driving a stick shift again. I looked out into the garage to glance at the little blue Suzuki S-Presso SE and realized that at P588,000, it’s an ideal city hatchback, err… mini-SUV for people who value function and mobility without having to pay a huge premium. And with its cute design, it’s really a subcompact for shiny, happy people.
Model: 2022 Suzuki S-Presso
Vehicle Type: Front-engine, FWD, 5-door subcompact hatchback
Engine: K10B liquid-cooled inline-3 12V
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Power: 67hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 90Nm @ 3500 rpm
Wheelbase: 2380 mm
Length: 3565 mm
Width: 1520 mm
Height: 1565 mm
Minimum Ground Clearance: 180mm
Minimum Turning Radius: 4.5 m
Curb Weight: 770 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 27 liters
Front Suspension: Independent, McPherson type
Rear Suspension: Independent, Torsion beam
Front Brakes: Ventilated discs
Rear Brakes: Drums, leading and trailing
Steering System: Rack and pinion
Tires: MRF ZVTV Ecotred 165/70R14
Best Fuel Mileage: 22 km/liter (as tested by the AAP)
Average Fuel Mileage: 14.3 km/liter (as recorded)
Suzuki Philippines, Inc.
126 Progress Avenue, Carmelray Industrial Park 1,
Carmeltown, Canlubang, Calamba City, 4028
800 Ortigas Avenue, Barangay Ugong, Pasig City, Metro Manila
Tel. No.: (02) 462-5000, (0049) 502-1458, 0917-806-4256