Suzuki has certainly turned its luck around. Whereas in the past, Multicabs were the first things that come to mind when you hear the name of the brand, nowadays, Suzuki conjures images of stylish cars such as the Swift, Vitara, Jimny, and more recently, the all-new Suzuki S-Presso.
Currently the third most popular car brand in its home country, Japan, Suzuki is certainly shedding off its subpar image in favor of a branding that can match that of its more established counterparts in the guise of Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi. To prove the point, it has now dropped the Suzuki Alto from its lineup and replaced with the dramatically more impressive S-Presso.
So how exactly is the S-Presso an improvement from the model it replaces? We channel our inner Elizabeth Browning and count the ways that both of these entry-level cars differ.
While the outgoing Suzuki Alto’s sheetmetal leaves much to be ‘Dzire-d’ (pun intended), those looking for a more tasteful city car will find plenty to love in the new Suzuki S-Presso. Truth to tell, it bears a lot of resemblance with the previous generation Jimny, especially at the front, where the latter’s characteristic five-slot grille resides.
At the sides, muscular wheel arches and dimpled door panels immediately ensure the S-Presso has a more exciting appearance than the Alto. The blacked-out center pillars are another nice modern touch, complemented nicely by the equally black-decked bumpers and side sills. The signature tall beltline of the Alto is also an S-Presso staple. Likewise, a straight-forward feel permeates all-throughout the exterior, which makes the S-Presso a handsome car to own without calling too much attention to itself.
Design-wise, the cabin of the S-Presso is decidedly sparse, but it’s definitely a few notches above what’s been seen in the Alto. One can’t help but be reminded of the early versions of the Toyota Vios, where the gauges are all located at the center of the dash. Although the surfaces of the S-Presso interior still look like cheap plastic, smart styling cues and more user-friendly ergonomics make them forgivable.
Although the Suzuki Alto shares the S-Presso’s affinity for cheap surfaces, the overall design looks painfully dated, especially the infotainment DIN. But this is to be expected in an outgoing model, so there’s really very little to fuss about here.
Suzuki describes the S-Presso as “a combination of its driving performance and convenience.” Powered by a compact 1.0-liter engine mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, the S-Presso delivers a respectable 67 hp and 90 Nm of torque to its 14-inch steel wheels. Conversely, the Alto could only coax 47 hp out of its 0.8-liter in-line 3, albeit with a slightly more powerful 68 Nm of torque. The Alto’s manual transmission sends its power to 13-inch steel wheels.
Convenience and safety
City cars aren’t really known for stellar convenience and safety ratings, but the S-Presso does the best it can with the cards it’s been dealt with. Based on Suzuki’s new-generation HEARTECT platform, the body design of the S-PRESSO centers on Suzuki’s TECT concept, which helps protect the cabin in the event of a collision by efficiently absorbing and dispersing energy. The new car also has an anti-lock brake system, driver and front passenger SRS airbags, seatbelt pretensioner and force limiter, rear parking assist system, and a turning radius of 4.5 meters.
For convenience, the S-Presso boasts multiple storage spaces front and back, power window controls, manual air conditioner, 12-volt socket and USB port, and a 7-inch Touchscreen Audio for infotainment. The S-PRESSO also combines compact body size with a spacious 239-liter luggage compartment. Its rear bench seat also folds to produce even more space for bigger items.
The Suzuki Alto on the other hand, is also equipped with driver and passenger SRS airbags, anti-lock braking system, and seatbelts. Although there’s also plenty of storage spaces available, it can’t match the volume seen in the S-Presso. Cargo volume for the Alto sits at a measly 177 liters, although the Alto also has foldable rear seats.
The Suzuki Alto was priced at PHP 445,000. Meanwhile, the all-new S-Presso GL M/T will require buyers to shell out PHP 518,000 from their pockets. Based on the improvements listed here, it’s easy to say that the price difference between the Alto and S-Presso is justified. To see whether you agree with us or not, feel free to test drive the new S-Presso yourself by visiting a Suzuki dealership near you. Of course, if you’re a resident of Luzon, you’ll have to wait until the quarantine lifts to do that.