Suzuki K-car platform


Debut: see below
Maker: Suzuki
Predecessor: see below



 Published on 10 Jun 2011
All rights reserved. 
MR Wagon
Debut: 2011
Predecessor: MR Wagon (2006)


Born earlier this year, the third generation MR Wagon differs very much from the outgoing car. While the old car targeted at young mothers, the new car is designed to appeal to 20-something singles who look for their first cars. This explains why it has abandoned the old car's MPV-style monospace shape for a funkier design like Toyota bB. The new shape also enhances the sense of interior space, thanks to an upright windscreen and boxier profile.

The MR Wagon introduces a longer, 2425 mm wheelbase version of the K-car platform. That is 25 mm longer again than the existing Wagon R and Alto, or as much as 65 mm longer than the outgoing car. This enables a roomy cabin. In fact, it offers more interior space than a Toyota Vitz (Yaris). Another highlight of the cabin is its upgraded style and build quality. The dashboard gets a smarter two-tone (black and white) design. The instrument panel has piano-black lacquer treatment. Most frequently used controls are mounted high for ease of reach, including the console-mounted shifter.



The MR Wagon is equipped with modern features like engine auto stop-start, keyless entry, engine start button, USB and iPod connection. One special feature may appeal to young people is a touch-screen audio system. Unfortunately, its touch screen is slow to react compare with what IT consumers used to work with, say, iPhone. Moreover, devoid of sat-nav, its usage is rather limited.

In contrast, the seating arrangement is flawless. All seats can fold flat to place cargo, or recline to form a double bed. The rear seat is 50/50 split, can slide back and forth individually, or recline at 6 different angles. There are countless of storage cubbies, drawers and hooks, plus an additional storage tray under the boot floor.


On the mechanical side, the car introduces a new generation R06A 3-cylinder engine. Still displaces 658 cc, but it features undersquare combustion chambers with 64mm bore and 68.2mm stroke, versus 68mm x 60.4mm on the existing K6A engine. Although the output figures are unchanged, it is said to improve low-rpm torque and fuel economy. The naturally aspirated version also features dual (intake and exhaust) variable valve timing, a first for Suzuki. Turbocharged version has intake-only VVT as it is not short of torque. Like the new Alto, it gets a super-wide ratio CVT from Jatco.

On the road, the new MR Wagon is surprisingly grown up. It suspensions are absorbent but without ruining body control. The little three-pot engine is smooth and quiet in normal driving, although under hard acceleration the CVT tends to stretch it too much. Naturally, turbocharged version offers stronger mid-range punch, but the drawbacks are more NVH and a softer throttle response.

This MR Wagon is the best yet K-car effort from Suzuki. Nissan must be glad to see that, because its Moco is a badge-engineered version of MR Wagon.
Verdict:
 Published on 26 Nov 2014
All rights reserved. 
Wagon R
Debut: 2012
Predecessor: Wagon R (2008)


Born in 1993, Suzuki Wagon R had a special position in Japanese automotive history. It was the pioneer of tall-body K-cars as well as the first K-car to top the domestic sales chart, beating long-time champion Toyota Corolla. Its spacious interior, flexible seating and low costs matched exactly the demand of Japanese motorists during the economic depression in the 1990s. Its success triggered copycats like Daihatsu Move and Mitsubishi eK Wagon to follow suit. For a long time the Suzuki managed to topple its rivals in sales chart, but in the last few years it was overtaken by Daihatsu Move, Tanto and Honda N-Box etc.

In isolation, the latest Wagon R is still a great little car. Despite of the restricted exterior dimensions, it cabin length has been lengthened by some 115 mm versus its predecessor, thanks in part to a wheelbase stretched to 2425 mm. It is not the longest in class, but the interior doesn’t feel smaller than any. There is adequate legroom for four and vast of headroom afforded by the tall roof. Predictably, the seats are thin and flat to save space, so they are not as comfortable as those of normal cars, but the rear seats can fold flat and the front can recline to form a double bed. There are also many storage cubbies. The doors open wide and tailgate opens high. In short, it has all sorts of conveniences you can expect on K-cars.



While many K-car these days could look odd, the Wagon R’s exterior design is remarkably neat and tasteful. Its shape and styling elements are well proportioned and balanced. There is also a high level of coherence in the design. Following the class norm, it offers 2 body styles: the standard car (white car pictured) serves mainly female drivers, while Stingray (red car) targets at men. Inside, while cost saving is inevitable, the light-color dashboard is at least cheerful to look and its textured surface doesn’t feel as cheap as Daihatsu Move. The illuminated instrument in some models look quite sophisticated, as it glows from blue to green when you drive economically.

In a bid to enhance fuel economy to beat Daihatsu, this Wagon R employs a lot of high and ultra-high-strength steel in its construction to cut some 70 kg of weight, which is a lot for a car already so small. It also ditches anti-roll bars up front on the standard car (but still presents on Stingray). Low-rolling resistance tires and underbody panels are fitted. The outgoing 4-speed automatic has been replaced by a Jatco-made CVT with wide ratio spread. Equally influential to fuel efficiency are the revised engines. Both 658 cc triples have been retuned to save fuel at a small price of horsepower and throttle response. Now they get ISG (Integrated Starter Generator) to implement automatic stop-start. Moreover, the naturally aspirated version can be optioned with a mild-hybrid system to save further fuel. It uses a small lithium-ion battery pack to store the energy regenerated from braking, then utilizes the energy to power the electrical system or revert back to the ISG to assist acceleration. The ISG could produce 2.2 ps and 29 lbft of torque for up to 6 seconds, but don’t expect improved performance, since the engine will reduce its output simultaneously to save fuel.



As expected, the performance offered by the 52 hp NA engine is limited. It is perfectly acceptable if you drive mostly in town or metro area, but highway job could be painful. Just as in most K-cars, the combination of small motor and CVT results in excessive engine noise when stretched, whereas the thinly insulated cabin fails to filter the noise. The turbocharged version is much better in this respect. Its thicker torque curve saves the need to rev the motor hard. Moreover, its engine bay is provided with extra sound insulation. It is therefore much more refined, not to mention it offers better performance.

The Wagon R is fitted with speed-sensitive electrical power steering which weighs up at speed. Its handling response is linear and predictable, resting above the average of K-cars. Body control of the standard car is okay if not great. Stingray resists roll better in corner, thanks to anti-roll bars. However, both suffer from a rather harsh ride owing to the high gas pressure of the low rolling resistance tires. The pursuit of class-leading fuel economy figures does come at a price.
Verdict:
 Published on 26 Nov 2014
All rights reserved. 
Spacia
Debut: 2013
Predecessor: Palette (2008)


MPV-style K-cars get popular in recent years. Honda N-Box dominated the sales chart last year, while Daihatsu Tanto excels this year. Suzuki Spacia is another strong contender. It features twin-power sliding rear doors, which is proved convenient in tight parking space, and easy for children and elderly to get in and out. The cabin is benefited by a tall roof and flat floor, offering enormous space for a car so small. Moreover, the 50/50-split rear seats are flexible. They can slide or recline individually, or fold flat onto the floor to release a large loading area. Up front, the dashboard design looks up-to-date, ditto the smartphone-linked infotainment screen. On the downside, taller drivers may be hampered by the limited sliding range of front seats. The front passenger seat may fold, but it does not double as a table.



The Spacia shares platform with Wagon R or just any latest Suzuki K-cars. Its engines are competitive, while its remarkably low kerb weight, i.e. 70-100 kg lighter than its rivals, enables more relatively lively performance. While the ride is stiffer and noise insulation less good, its steering feels more natural and body control is respectable. Suzuki's chassis tuning always favours keen drivers, even on this minivan. Unfortunately, two-third of the K-minivan buyers are women (and most are housewives). They should prefer a softer ride and better noise suppression. No wonder the Spacia fails to match N-Box and Tanto in sales race.
Verdict:
 Published on 26 Nov 2014
All rights reserved. 
Hustler
Debut: 2014
Predecessor: No


Frankly, SUVs get increasingly attractive in recent years, but they are still prohibited from AutoZine because I think we should not encourage this heavier and less efficient kind of vehicles. However, Suzuki Hustler has no such problems. It looks like an SUV, but it is actually a conventional K-car underneath the funky skin. Compared with a Suzuki Wagon R, it is only 25 mm taller, so it does not compromise handling or aerodynamics much. Moreover, it weighs only 800 kg, virtually the same as Wagon R. In fact, most tall-body K-cars are heavier than the Hustler. When it comes to fuel economy, it also beats most other K-cars with 29.2 km per liter measured according to Japanese cycle JC08. Combining the looks of SUV and the frugality of K-cars, it delivers the best of both worlds!

The Hustler is an innovative design. You should admire the creativity of Suzuki’s designers and product planners. More so than the original Fiat Panda, it proves that a small car can look tough yet funky. While its proportion isn’t remarkably different from other K-cars (due to the tight restrictions), you will notice its windscreen is set more upright, and the waistline is more pronounced around the fenders. The ride height is jacked up by 25 mm compared with other Suzuki K-cars, whereas approach and departure angles are also enlarged. Black plastic wheel arches house slightly larger 15-inch wheels. The satin-finished bumpers and spoon-shape headlamps add a lot to style, as do the choices of 9 body colors and 2-tone paint schemes. I am sure it will be a hit among young motorists.



Inside, the funky design continues. The dashboard is stylishly decorated with gloss white or orange panels. The seat trims and door grab handles are color-coded to match the exterior paint. The big single-dial instrument is reminiscent of Fiat 500. What a pity the interior is not as customizable as in the latest European trend. As in most K-cars, the cabin is pretty spacious and flexible. The rear seats slide and fold individually, and they can form a double-bed together with the front seats. The front passenger seat folds to become a table or to place long luggage like surf board. 

On the mechanical side, it is not much different from the Wagon R with which it shares platform. It employs the same efficient 660 c.c. three-cylinder engine. In normally aspirated form it utilizes intake and exhaust variable valve timing to produce 52 hp. Transmission can be either 5-speed manual or CVT. The engine gets standard automatic stop-start function and brake energy regeneration, though without mild-hybrid option. For urban use the NA engine offers adequate performance. 4WD option adds another 50 kg to the kerb weight, thus the 64 hp turbocharged engine would be recommended. The turbo car keeps engine noise lower in highway cruising. It also lets less wind noise penetrating into the cabin thanks to more sound insulation used. On the downside, its extra weight calls for a stiffer suspension setup, which doesn’t benefit ride quality. In general, the Hustler’s suspension is softer than the case of Wagon R. This means it rides more comfortably and rolls a bit more in corners.



The SUV-style Hustler is unique among K-cars. If it is proved to be popular, Daihatsu and Honda could follow its footprints soon, just like how they copied the idea of Wagon R.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
MR Wagon
2011
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3395 / 1475 / 1625 mm
2425 mm
Inline-3
658 cc
DOHC 12 valves, DVVT
-
-
54 hp / 6000 rpm
46 lbft / 4000 rpm
CVT
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
145/80R13
810 kg
-
-
-
Wagon R
2012 (2014 spec shown)
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3395 / 1475 / 1640 mm
2425 mm
Inline-3
658 cc
DOHC 12 valves, DVVT
-
Mild hybrid motor-generator
52 hp / 6000 rpm
46 lbft / 4000 rpm
CVT
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
155/65SR14
790 kg
-
-
-
Wagon R Stingray turbo
2012 (2014 spec shown)
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3395 / 1475 / 1660 mm
2425 mm
Inline-3
658 cc
DOHC 12 valves, VVT
Turbo
-
64 hp / 6000 rpm
70 lbft / 3000 rpm
CVT
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
165/55VR15
820 kg
-
-
-




Performance tested by: -





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Spacia turbo
2013
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3395 / 1475 / 1735 mm
2425 mm
Inline-3
658 cc
DOHC 12 valves, VVT
Turbo
-
64 hp / 6000 rpm
70 lbft / 3000 rpm
CVT
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
155/65R14
870 kg
-
-
-
Hustler
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3395 / 1475 / 1665 mm
2425 mm
Inline-3
658 cc
DOHC 12 valves, DVVT
-
-
52 hp / 6000 rpm
46 lbft / 4000 rpm
CVT
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
165/60HR15
800 kg
-
-
-
Hustler turbo
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3395 / 1475 / 1665 mm
2425 mm
Inline-3
658 cc
DOHC 12 valves, VVT
Turbo
-
64 hp / 6000 rpm
70 lbft / 3000 rpm
CVT
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
165/60HR15
820 kg
-
-
-




Performance tested by: -





AutoZine Rating

MR Wagon


Wagon R


Spacia


Hustler



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