Double shot of S-Presso: we drive Suzuki’s updated budget car

Published May 26, 2023


Suzuki is a master when it comes to building compact, no-fuss, fun-to-drive cars that are fuel efficient and packed with features.

One of its most popular cars, the S-Presso, has sold upwards of 14 000 units since its local introduction in March 2020.

Now, there’s an updated S-Presso, featuring updated styling, a more fuel-efficient engine and new technologies. We got behind the wheel recently to see what it’s like.

The Suzuki S-Presso is a car designed for those that want a seriously compact SUV, a micro SUV if you will. It is a car that offers a harmonious blend of urban cruising and rural navigation, thanks to its 181mm of ground clearance. The S-Presso is now also safer, but more on that later. Let’s look at the visual appearance first.

From the outside, one might not notice the differences between the new model and the previous version. While subtle, the changes are there. For starters, for the upgraded version, Suzuki has added alloy wheels to the GL+ and S-Edition models.

The models have 14” alloy wheels fitted. The GL model has steel wheels with full wheel covers and all models have a full-sized spare wheel.

What’s more, the S-Edition also has a new exterior upgrade kit, which includes the silver-coloured bumper inserts and new silver detailing on the front bumper. As before, the full range has body-coloured bumpers and door handles.

Step inside and you will notice a similar design as before, except this time, there are new infotainment screen options. Going forward, the S-Presso GL+ will have the much-loved 7” Suzuki infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and digital vehicle alerts as standard.

Pick the S-Edition and you will find a larger, 9” infotainment system installed. It has a high-resolution screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and it also shows the feed from the newly fitted reverse camera that is standard on this model.

Other niceties include steering-mounted controls, central locking, front electric windows, air conditioning and power steering as standard. I particularly like the fact that Suzuki has upped the safety elements in this car.

A highlight for me is the fact that every S-Presso is now also fitted with ISOFIX top and lower child-restraint anchors as standard and every model, from the most affordable to the best-equipped, has two airbags as standard.

All S-Presso models are also fitted with an immobiliser, childproof rear door locks and ABS brakes and ESP. With the addition of ESP, the S-Presso becomes one of the most affordable vehicles on the market to have this important safety feature. There are even parking sensors fitted as standard across the range.

Under the bonnet, you will find Suzuki’s Dualjet petrol engine. Upgrades to this motor include the fitment of two injectors per cylinder for more efficient fuel flow. While power and torque are virtually unchanged from before, 49kW and 89Nm, fuel consumption has dropped.

The manual version of the S-Presso now only uses 4.6 litres per 100km in a combined cycle, according to factory claims. The AMT (Automated manual transmission) sips around 4.4l/100km. Stop/Start technology has also been fitted to the entire range.

How does it drive?

Out on the roads, I sampled the manual version and found it to be enthusiastic at lower speeds. The clutch is easy to mitigate and the gear shifts are short and snappy. The best part about the car is that you can ring its neck and have some fun while not breaking speed limits.

As much as that appeals to me from a motoring enthusiast’s point of view, I will concede that it might become a problem when you try to join the N1 in Midrand. At altitude, power delivery is at a disadvantage. That said, the S-Presso seems to be happy navigating the urban streets, no matter how bumpy they may be.

The technology, the infotainment and increased levels of safety will appeal to buyers, as will the price. The S-Presso is one of the few cars that you can drive off the new car showroom floor for less than under R200 000 and the other three also happen to be Suzukis.

Suzuki S-Presso pricing

  • 1.0 GL manual: R169 900
  • 1.0 GL AMT: R183 900
  • 1.0 GL+ manual: R178 900
  • 1.0 GL+ AMT: R192 900
  • 1.0 S-Edition manual: R194 900
  • 1.0 S-Edition AMT: R208 900

All models are available in a choice of six colours – White, Granite Grey Metallic, Fire Red, Silky Silver Metallic, Starry Blue Pearl and the popular Sizzle Orange.

A 2 year/30 000km service plan and 5 year/200 000km promotional mechanical warranty are standard.