Drive Type: 4 wheel drive
Trim: 2 door
Waterford Works, New Jersey, United States
Suzuki of Japan has reportedly made the decision that almost everyone assumed it would make when it announced it was leaving the US market: when the 2014 model year concludes, it will no longer sell cars in Canada. With six employees overseeing its auto business in Canada and a dealer network that has shrunk to 55 outlets in the country, we can't say we're shocked.
At the time of the US announcement, however, the senior VP of sales and marketing in the automotive division of Suzuki Canada said it would be able to survive on its own because, among other reasons, Canadians prefer smaller, more fuel-efficient cars that fit the company's offerings. Five months later, after some time to think about a 30-percent drop in sales to open up 2013 instead of the 1.4-percent increase in sales that Suzuki Canada posted last year, things have evidently changed.
The Globe and Mail reports that as is in the US, Suzuki's motorcycle, ATV and marine divisions in Canada will remain.
It's not a secret that a few of us here at Autoblog have a crush on Japanese Kei cars. The diminutive sizes and cheeky looks of most of the segment are certainly endearing factors, but it was the sporting Kei cars of the 1990s that made for the most delicious forbidden fruit.
Suzuki's entry in that time and market space was the Cappuccino, a rear-wheel-drive coupe with a removable roof and roll bar, powered by a 657cc three-cylinder motor. The car hung around the Japanese market until 1997 (and was booted up in Gran Turismo form for years after that). Now, rumor has it that the little coupe could be getting a reboot around 2016.
The reports are still a bit short on detail; some indicate that a new Cappuccino could be built up on an existing Kei platform from Suzuki. If the new car were to keep the RWD layout of the original, however, that would mean building up the model on the live-rear-axle bones of the Suzuki Jimny or Carry.
The Suzuki Jimny is "sold across 188 global markets," but one of them isn't ours. For UK buyers who can buy a Jimny in SZ3 or SZ4 trims, the 2013 model has just been introduced with tweaks peppered throughout the vehicle. First among them is a soft redesign up front, a new bumper, grille and hood updating the face and adding an extra 30 mm to the length of the little SUV. Breeze Blue metallic paint is a new hue but it's only available on the more expensive SZ4.
Inside, customers will find new headrests and ISOFIX child seat fasteners for both Jimny versions, and for the SZ3, new seat fabrics. The 1.3-liter engine with variable valve timing growls out 84 horsepower and 81 pound-feet of torque, returning 39.8 Imperial combined mpg if fitted with a manual, 38.7 Imperial mpg combined in the automatic.
On-the-road prices are £11,995 ($19,016 US) for the SZ3, £12,900 ($20,451 US) for the manual-equipped SZ4, £13,800 ($21,877 US) with the automatic. More information can be found in the press release below.