Suzuki’s APV: What good is this All Purpose Vehicle?

apv20design20concept201Suzuki has about 3 years ago started importing APV to supplement (or perhaps replace) its ailing BOLAN Van. The APV however is now being used to give direct competition to Mitsubishi’s L300 & Toyota’s Hiace Commuter Vans as well as being advertised for your ‘entire’ (read joint) family needs. Lets see what the APV is all about!

 Its price (ranging from Rs1.62million to Rs.1.675million) is perhaps its weapon of choice (as with all Suzuki models) with its competing Mitsubishi’s L300 price ranging between Rs.1.999million to Rs.2.349million & the more popular Hiace retailing between Rs.2.499million & Rs.3.199million.

dmmcl300_landing

Moreover its smaller overall & engine size makes it more economical & easier to navigate on narrow inner-city roads found in all the major cities of Pakistan. Engine dispalcement of APV is 1493cc compared to L300′s 2477cc & Hiace’s 1593cc.  Overall length of APV is 4.23m much less than L300′s 4.59m (STD) & 4.81m (DX). Although both claim a min. turning radius of 4.9m APV can even part where L300 won’t (even with bumpers removed).

Fuel tank of L300 is slightly bigger 55L compared with APV’s 47L so is the seating capacity (L300:12; APV:8) but the size of fuel tank does not come as an advantage while within the urban areas & in Pakistan seating capacity is hardly what is written in the brochure.

The only thing the car isn’t good for is what it is actually advertised for: accomodating large-joint families because Suzuki’s own BOLAN beats APV in all categories (price, fuel efficiency & mobility) except comfort. But when the whole family travels together who needs comfort; all we need is to get wherever we are going fast to avoid verbal skirmishes.

Suzuki Alto vs Daihatsu Cuore

design_concept_alto_11img_coure-1Suzuki’s Alto has been launched by the carmaker to compete with Daihatsu’s Cuore. Although they are both priced in the same range (Alto variants priced for Rs.0.588million & Rs.0.637million while variants of Cuore sell for Rs.0.569million to Rs.0.709million); engine displacement of Cuore is only 847cc (3-cylinders) with a 3-speed A/T transmission  (5-speed in CX & CXCNG variants) compared with 970cc (4-cylinders) displacement of the Alto’s with its 5-speed M/T transmission.

is more compact at 3.3m in length while Alto is slightly larger at 3.395m. Both have near exact suspension systems i.e. MacPherson Strut for front wheels & isolated trailing link for rear ones. WHile fuel tanks are also identical (37-litre capacity) the CNG cylinder in Alto is slightly bigger (55-L) than Cuore’s (50-L).

If Alto sells for its better performance features the severalphoto_7 variants of Cuore design_concept_alto_11make it affordable to a variety of buyers including some chunk of the Cultus market which is otherwise the only car that competes exclusively against ‘unorganized imports’. Both are assembled locally with Daihatsu assembling their’s at the Toyota Indus Motors plant & Suzuki having their own assembly unit.

Suzuki Liana ke na liana?

liana20main20picLets face it with price of the lowest tier 1.3L RXI MT starting at Rs.0.952million with the top of the line 1.6L EMINENT AT going for Rs.1.086million Liana is ”poor man’s sedan”. But is this just our ATTITUDE?

Although most of us grew up or around Suzuki manufactured vehicles but ever since other Japanese carmakers (Honda, Toyota & Nissan) set-up their car-assembly units we have come to look down upon Suzuki vehicles with a high degree of disdain.

Suzuki has never tried to allay this impression and we have made it out into some sort of a firm belief. Now with new inductions and elimination of ‘failed’ brands Suzuki maybe out to set things right but is it too late, only time will tell.

liana20web20imageLet us examine what it calls Life In A New Age (or LIANA for short). Suzuki’s Liana is the shortest of all sedans with a length of 4.35m from bumper-to-bumper slightly shorter even than Honda’s CITY (4.395m) and comes in three variants: The basic RXI, slightly luxuries LXI & top-of-the-line EMINENT.

Suzuki knowing well their ‘thrift-conscious’ clientele have factory fitted the RXI & LXI with CNG which are available as an option only. With EMINENT SUzuki appears to be attempting to play ‘cach-up’ with the CITY since even their prices have a less than Rs.0.100million difference (some might say its a ‘wannabe’ CITY).

liana20vurv20design20concept201Shiny, metallic interior is complimented by the new chrome front-grill & alloy tyre-rims which are again an option only. With new fog lamps added to suit the needs of up-country Pakistani clients & a new ‘sparkling’ tail-light Liana seems to scream ‘look at me, I am a sedan too’.

The only feature other than the factory-fit 60L CNG cylinder (Petrol tank holds max. 50L fuel) that I really like is the key-less entry buttons (placed on the key itself they may look tachy but are functional to say the least). Here Suzuki has taken a leaf out of the Mitsubishi Lancer’s manual which has the same option in all its new models.

This is all there is to a Liana so now Suzuki Liana ke na Liana “Bring it (home) or don’t” is up to you and your pocket’s liking.

Mitsubishi makes the best micro car?

mitsubishi_i_hello_kitty800px-mitsubishi_i_1

Although it may not be virtually unknown outside its ‘native’ Japan it won the 2007 Car of the Year award from the Japanese Automotive Researchers and Journalists Conference (RJC), and two other “Car of the Year” awards, from the Carview Corporation website and the Consumer’s Choice.

It also won the “Most Advanced Technology” Special Achievement Award at the 2006–07 Japan Car of the Year awards, where it was nominated unsuccessfully in the overall Car of the Year category, and ranked first in the Japan Mini-Car APEAL Study published by J.D. Power Asia Pacific in October 2006, with a higher score than any previous winner. Aside from the 2006 Good Design Grand Prix, its style won Design Awards from the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame (JAHFA), and the magazines Popeye and Car Styling.

Even the 2008 Car of the year 2008 Toyota’s iQ although better performance wise & designed by Toyota’s design studio in France pales in comparison to the sleek shape & georgeous look of the “i”. Agreed that microcars or ‘kei’ cars as they are known in Japan are made generally for the ladies &/or ‘sissies’ but offlate the modified versions of Smart Cars having superbike engines have been known to pack quite a muscle (0-100kph in under 3.5seconds.

“i”s breakthrough success with the said market came after a “Hello Kitty” customized “i” was put on display in a large Japanese Department Store for a week in 2007. Other close rivals include Smart Mortor’s fortow & K models, ZAP (zero air pollution), Toyota iQ the proposed Aston Martin-Toyota joint venture Cygnet & Honda’s Insight.

Suzuki has also marketed its own budget version of the smart car known as Suzuki Twin while rounding off the European competition are Mercedes-Benz’s Motsy & Subaru’s R2.

Suzuki Swift Pictures

Suzuki Swift (also known as Cultus in Pakistan) has the capability of being the fun car. Many who are aware of this car would argue that it not only has the capability but the newer Suzuki Swift is already the ultimate fun car. But I am talking from a Pakistani perspective here; the Suzuki Cultus in Pakistan has to come a long, long way to be anywhere near a great car.

The current Cultus that has graced us Pakistanis with its presence is again the local Suzuki folks trying their best to cut corners. Nothing is as ironic as a car company cutting corners (as is the case with Suzuki Mehran).

But the following is definitely not about the current Cultis, it is about the award winning Suzuki Swift that seems to be everywhere except Pakistan.

Suzuki Swift Pictures

Reviews of the Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift has been getting some great reviews, even from people who are damn hard to please! Check out this Fifth Gear‘s episode:

Suzuki Mehran

There is a company in Pakistan that makes large tin cans, puts wheels under ‘em and calls them cars. They got so good at this that they called the smaller tin can Alto, then after some time decided that it should be localized, hence the Mehran was born.

I have owned this little wonder, this bundle of joy that sometimes I call, when I am in a good mood, a car. The urdu speaking visitors to this website will understand the word ‘peepa’ and can relate to the review I would write, if I ever was to write one for Suzuki Mehran.

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