A Suzuki kind of Friday….

Words: Séan Hendley, Kyle Lawrenson, Stefan vd Riet
Images & video: KL images, Black Rock C_S, UOWC
Getting an early start to an unusual breakfast run

JA, Ja, ja…. We know that we are a motorcycle publication, but a lot of our motorcycle manufacturers also make vehicles and most people don’t always only ride bikes. So, we decided to mix things up a bit and review Suzuki’s entry level commuter and lifestyle options from both sides of the fence…. and we are mighty glad we did, it was a real eye opener to Suzuki’s versatility and quality.

Pio Fogolin, Dealer Principal of The Baydrive Groups Suzuki Vereeniging dealership, invited us to join him for a breakfast run with a difference. Firstly it was an early autumn Friday morning. Secondly, our destination was the local Macky D’s in the middle of town…. and thirdly, we were taking a Gixxer 250 and an S-Presso car, not GSX1000R’s or Busa’s.

RIGHT! A change is as good as a holiday they say, so off we went to the Vaal Triangle which is a little bit like the Bermuda Triangle, just cooler.

A quick run-down of the Baydrive Group.
Baydrive is a multi-brand group. They do bikes, cars, bakkies and commercial vehicles.
Based just off the Voortrekker St off ramp off the R59 they have brands like Haval and GWM, Mitsubishi, Honda Wing, Honda Auto, Suzuki Motorcycles, Suzuki Auto and a good range of carefully curated pre-owned bikes and cars. They also have a good range of accessories and parts centres for all the brands. Less than an hour from our headquarters on the East Rand and around 90 minutes from Pretoria, they are quite happy to trade cars on bikes and bikes on cars.

New Suzuki cars and bikes as well as parts and service centre
Trade a bike in on a car or a car on a bike
They are fully stocked on the latest range of new Suzuki's and have a good selection of pre-owned motorcycles
They also have a well stocked Honda Wing dealership across the car park as well

BUT WAIT! There’s more….

They also offer free delivery within Gauteng and deliver countrywide with courier at a sensible fee of course. They also have professionally staffed and fully equipped workshops for all the brands and everyone there is always quick with a smile and friendly greeting and an offer of assistance. So, if you’re in the market for a new or pre owned car or bike, it is definitely worth your while giving them a call or taking the short drive out to them.

Suzuki’s Gixxer 250, is a bike we love and know well, having reviewed it in various iterations over the years.

Suzuki’s Gixxer 250, is a bike we love and know well, having reviewed it in various iterations over the years. It is really good and punches well above its weight class, easily taking on bikes with a bigger engine capacity than itself but tipping the price scales where you would expect this type and size of machine to be. We stuck our resident lightweight millennials on the Gixxer 250 and followed them through traffic with the three bigger, older oafs in the Spresso.

As expected, the bike, two up, managed to snake through the traffic with ease and easily accelerated away from the traffic lights faster than any of the cars and other traffic en route to the local picnic spot next to the river. Seeing as these would mostly be bought as student transport we did all the student lifestyles activities one would expect. From the river, we went to the local McD’s drive through for some brekkie and this is where the only real drawback to motorcycles came, where do you carry your takeaway coffee and brekkie muffin? And paying is a pain, gloves off, dig through your pockets… you know the drill.

Even with a pillion, the Gixxer 250 gets away at the traffic lights better than most cars

This is what Stefan and René had to say about the Gixxer 250:

The perfect little run around for students that want to minimise travel time and maximise fuel efficiency. The slim little bike snuck through traffic like a cat prowling through a jungle. Even two up it is extremely lightweight and easy to manoeuvre while also being able to outrun the traffic once you lock open the throttle. The sporty riding style gives you that extra bit of confidence and control to really race through traffic. We constantly had to slow down to wait for the Spresso to catch up, it seemed like Kyle had the hand brake up every time he tried keeping up with us from a red light.

It looks cool and rides extremely well, with a quality fit and finish done by Suzuki. You get safety features like ABS and performance features like fuel injection, with amazing fuel consumption to boot! Sure you can’t eat your McMuffin while you ride, and there are no cup holders for your coffee, but who needs coffee if you start off your morning with a fresh bike ride?

The pillion seat is nice and comfortable as well, with the sporty riding style giving the pillion a higher perspective to what’s ahead over the rider’s helmet. There is also enough room to commute comfortably two up and you get some handy grab rails to support yourself as a pillion, or strap down a bag as a solo rider.

The perfect little run around for students that want to minimise travel time and maximise fuel efficiency.
It looks cool and rides extremely well, with a quality fit and finish done by Suzuki.
The Gixxer comes in a range of great colours & Suzuki Vereeniging has 'em all
The pillion seat is nice and comfortable as well, with the sporty riding style giving the pillion a higher perspective to what's ahead over the rider's helmet.
Suzuki's other intriguing and fuel efficient offering is the Spresso

The little S-Presso was the real eye opener.

Séan was fully expecting to use all his best yoga moves to fold himself into the diminutive little Suzuki and was completely amazed when he fitted into the front seat easier in some much bigger cars. The rear seat though was the showstopper, even with the front seats almost all the way back there was ample space for him to fit out back quite comfortably. At the price this little car is also incredibly well specced with electric front windows, onboard infotainment with full connectivity to both Android and IOS, aircon, airbag/s, 14 inch mags and reasonably decent sound system for the music lovers.

This is one surprising little car

Now Suzuki punts this car as an Urban Mini SUV, and well…. SUV’s are kind of expected to go anywhere and everywhere, so, at Pio’s direction, we tried. Obviously, we didn’t try any serious 4×4 stuff, because it isn’t a 4×4, (but maybe it would be a nice little ‘options’ offering), but it does have fairly decent ground clearance and thus we decided to explore the veld and tree groves on the banks of the Vaal river…. As you might expect students to do.

The Spresso really floored us with its basic off-road capabilities to the point that we are considering getting one for the office as a photographic and video platform for our shoots. The 20.4 km per litre fuel efficiency we were getting around town trying to dice the bike with three 100+ kg goons in it is an even bigger draw card for us with the current fuel price. The fact that it comes with all the mod cons and is actually quite comfortable also helps.

Beautiful from any angle making it a real head turner

Kyle spent the majority of the time in the driver’s seat and this is what he had to say about the SPresso:

A cup of tea is nice. However, a S Presso is better. Small and packs a punch. That’s exactly what this little car is. A small car that fights above its weight. Yes we are not car journos and we haven’t driven all the renditions of this vehicle. So here is our opinion of this little machine.

At a glance the Spresso looks tiny. Yet, get inside and it is surprisingly spacious. We had 3 big guys in the car, Séan being 2 metres plus in height with Pio and Kyle at plus minus the same height. 1.8meters. There was more than enough head room and more importantly leg room. Pio in the rear seats had adequate leg room to sit comfortably without any issues. A trip to Cape Town or just your daily commute, the Spresso is more comfortable than you might expect.

What one needs to remember is this vehicle comes in at R172k odd. With this you get a lot of features. Park distance control, alloy wheels and an infotainment system with Apple play and android auto on a 9 inch tft screen. This could be a great add on to the motorcycle range…. Just saying. The extras keep coming. 12 volt plug, USB charger, steering wheel controls which is ideal as well as more cup holders than a movie theatre.

A feature that really gives you peace of mind, knowing your loved ones will always be safe... in a car this size and this well priced??
All the info at a quick glance
The Spresso is so well specced with all the bells and whistles to suit the modern lifestyle requirements

What’s it like to drive? Well the 3 cylinder 1000cc engine is surprisingly punchy. With nice of the line torque. We found that we could yield and pull away in second gear without the Spresso feeling sluggish and underpowered.  With the Aircon on there was no real slouch and drop off in power. Nice short gearing in 1st and 2nd with good bottom end and longer gearing from 3rd up to 5th.

The drive? A comfortable and spacious drive. With the small wheels you can definitely feel a slight bit of body roll, but having said that it is really stable. Smooth gear changes and a very direct and responsive gas pedal allowing the 3 cylinder motor to purr. The on board computer was showing us a fuel consumption of 20 kilometres per litre . That’s bike territory. The Spresso also has auto stop start for fuel saving. Yes if we push the car and drive like chops that will come down, however we did drive all over and raced from robot to robot and the fuel consumption pretty much stayed there.

Safety? The Spresso is equipped with ABS, traction control, 2 airbags in the front and more importantly for parents Isofix in the rear seats.

Overall the little Spresso is a small car with a huge personality. It’s a good price, packed with lots of safety features and creature comforts. At the price of R172k it definitely makes for a good first car or even a fleet of cars for sales reps etc. So to end it off. Yes we are pleasantly surprised at how capable this little machine is. Even though this is Suzuki’s smallest car, cramped does not fit into its vocabulary.

The cabin is a really nice place to be
And very spacious to

And then Stefan and René took it for a quick spin as well and these are their impressions:

All we can say is that we are extremely impressed by both the bike and the car and you should all get yourselves down to Suzuki Vereeniging for a test drive and ride if you are in the market for a high quality, well-specced and affordable set of wheels. While there, have a look around at their other offerings, this is one group that has something for everybody!


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