Suzuki SA has just released another all-new model to the local market, and in true Suzuki tradition it’s a feature-filled, affordable car that’s light and fuel – and it looks damn good too. This new model, the Suzuki Fronx, fills a gap in the compact SUV market for the brand and it takes the fight to the competition seriously. So the name is the first thing anyone comments on because it doesn’t roll off the tongue, but that makes it memorable and that’s a good thing. What exactly is a Fronx? How did the name come about? Easy really, Fronx is a portmanteau of Frontier neXt. Also, in this case, the X is also to denote the crossover class the car falls into. It looks really good, and unlike most new compact SUVs, this one features a unique slanting rear like a coupé and that alone makes it the compact SUV I’d opt for if I was in the market for a new car. Round back the Fronx has a rather nice bum, up front there’s some great design cues that stick to Suzuki’s latest Crafted Futurism design architecture, but it’s the profile that I really like, especially if you’re looking at the model with the optional two-tone styling.
“With our new Fronx, we want to show South Africans that they do not have to compromise on style, performance and safety when buying in the compact SUV segment. The coupé SUV body style, with its bold front grille and sloping roofline, offers a fresh choice in this market segment, and the K15B 1.5 litre petrol engine promises great performance and low fuel consumption. And to sweeten the deal, we have added all the must-have styling options, such as roof rails, daytime running lights and alloy wheels to all models, regardless of their specification level or price.” says Brendon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager of Suzuki Auto South Africa.
At the recent launch in a rain-soaked Cape Town, we were introduced to four trim levels - the Fronx GL that can be has with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed auto, and the higher-spec Fronx GLX that has the same transmissions. These four options all share the same powerplant, Suzuki’s proven and bulletproof 1.5-litre K15B engine. The little 4-pot may only offer up 77 kW of power with 138 Nm of torque, but with the compact SUV only tipping the scales at 1 010 kg it feels like it has much more punch than the numbers imply. Suzuki also has found the perfect gear ratios to compliment the power output and so when you give it beans, it feels quite nippy and can easily get you a nicely composed picture in the mail from Metro. When you drive like a normal person, the manual Fronx offers up a fuel consumption of just 5.5l/100 km, and auto is claimed at 5.71/100 km – and Suzuki is one of the few automakers that deliver on fuel efficiency promises.
It handles great too, better than it should really. I drove the Fronx over the recently revamped Bainskloof Pass in absolutely pouring rain and had zero issues besides kakking myself when looking down some of the sheer drops off the mountain. Of course on that route I was behaving myself, but I did get to chuck the car around like a red-headed stepchild at a fun gymkhana session at the Cape Winelands Airport. The previously mentioned gear ratios, that lightweight body and sharp steering all combined to make it properly fun, and the compact SUV ate up the course with near perfection. This session was timed, and I cocked up just a bit so I didn’t place in the top times, but if I had one more chance… I bet everyone was thinking the same thing. This was also the only opportunity to get some of my own pics, and thanks to the rain, way less than I usually get, so that part of the experience was a disappointment, and only for me I’m sure. Oh, and you probably haven’t heard of the Cape Winelands Airport, but you will soon. It’s going to be another local flight destination sort of like Lanseria is in Jo’burg, and it will also feature sections that can be used to test and evaluate cars, as well as host motorsport events.
The Suzuki Fronx has a brilliant list of features, which I’ll dive into when I do a full review, but you can rest assured that the compact SUV wants for nothing. From an array of safety features to things like a 360-deg camera, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, a great heads-up display, a 9-inch infotainment display and more. As usual, the Suzuki Fronx comes with a 5-year/200 000 km promotional mechanical warranty and a 4-year/60 000 km service plan as well as a comprehensive 5-year roadside assistance plan and a 6-year unlimited kilometre anti-corrosion warranty. As for pricing, it’s also typically-Suzuki with the Fronx 1.5 GL Manual coming in at R279 900 and the GL Auto at R299 900, while the higher-spec Fronx 1.5 GLX Manual lists at R315 900 and the GLX Auto at R335 900. That’s little money for a lot of car, especially when you compare to other compact SUVs in the same segment.
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Chris "Krutch" Wall from CW Media is a freelancer in the lifestyle experience. He is a unique story teller, bringing you imagery and tales of his journey into what humans are passionate about remembering through the ages...