Thursday, January 24, 2008
Suzuki Cars in th U.S.
I've been a fan of Suzuki vehicles for years. It all started with the Samuari, actually. Growing up in the 1980s, I thought it'd be cool to have a small off-road vehicle with a convertible top. Then it was the Swift GT. This car, which looked like a Geo Metro (because it was), had the 1.3 liter 100 hp engine. Small, quick, and fun. As many know, Suzuki's reputation was tarnished when Consumer Reports said the Samuari was prone to rollovers. And to this day, many people that aren't familiar with Suzukis still think of the Samurai, which is unfortunate, because the company makes a lot of good cars.
However, the U.S. has been short changed on most Suzukis, as many of the nameplates in the U.S. are actually Korean-made GM/Daewoo vehicles with an "S" badge slapped on. It's not that these are bad cars, but they aren't the interestingly designed Japanese- or European-market versions.
Sans the Aerio, Eesteem, and old Swift, the U.S. doesn't get many real Suzuki cars (e.g. Suzukis made by, well, Suzuki), unlike the rest of the World. Cars such as the funky Lapin (pictured at right), or Wagon R, or even new critically acclaimed new Swift. However, we do get the SX4, a new subcompact "crossover" based on the Swift chassis, but with all-wheel drive.
When the SX4 came out, I was pleased. I liked the looks, the performance, and the price wasn't bad, either. I've driven the SX4 (pictured at left) on a couple of occations, and find it drives very nicely. You can keep it in front-wheel drive for better fuel economy, or put it in all-wheel drive, and you can get it in a manual transmission! Heck, I wouldn't mind adding one of these to the garage in the future.
I've been noticing these vehicles more and more on the streets, and I like them more and more.
It's good to see Suzuki bring over a real Suzuki for a change, and a good one at that. Rumor has it that the new Swift will indeed be in the U.S. for 2010. I'll keep my fingers crossed. The SX4 is a good starting point, and I'm seeing more and more of them on the road. Even Costco had one in the store! Hopefully the SX4 is successful enough to show American Suzuki that their cars are appreciated in the U.S., and the whole Consumer Reports stigma of the old Samurais rolling over is a thing of the past.