Driving report: Suzuki Fronx 1.0
In Europe, things have become quiet about the Suzuki brand, which was once so popular with the public. It looks completely different worldwide. The best example is the Suzuki Fronx, which is intended to score points as an inexpensive compact SUV, especially in emerging countries. He would have what it takes for more.
It looks pretty good and the price is right too. A model like the Fronx would also look good on Suzuki in Europe. For example, to put pressure on cheap competing models from Fiat, Dacia or Citroen. But you won’t find the somewhat strange model name in the Japanese price lists here. The Fronx is exactly four meters long, costs a maximum of 17,000 euros in markets like the United Arab Emirates and looks very well-mannered with its slight off-road charm. Depending on the region and engine variant, starting prices are the equivalent of 13,000 euros. The new Suzuki Fronx could be a hit in many countries, because the crossover on the Heartect platform from Maruti-Suzuki – positioned between Baleno and Brezza – certainly doesn’t have to hide in the extremely competitive environment.
The newcomer scores not only with its solid workmanship, attractive design and plenty of space inside, but also with an unusually modern drive portfolio. The Fronx is available as a three- and four-cylinder engine with or without turbocharging, but it is particularly interesting as a 1.0-liter turbo engine with mild hybrid technology. The turbocharged engine with the internal name K10C Boosterjet, with its manageable 74 kW / 100 hp, hangs surprisingly well on the gas and so, despite just 147 Nm of maximum torque from 2,000 rpm, the engine is appealing. The small turbo engine has a starter generator and a 12-volt lithium-ion battery as additional energy storage, which provides a small but noticeable boost, especially at low speeds. With its 37-liter tank, longer tours without a stopover are possible thanks to the standard consumption of less than six liters.
The driver can follow the power flow in a relaxed manner on a small color screen between the round clocks in the instrument panel, while the turbocharged three-cylinder in combination with the six-speed automatic has no trouble letting the native Indian swim along quickly in traffic. The Suzuki Fronx is produced at the Indian Maruti factory in Ahmedabad. In addition to the main market of India, it is exported particularly to the Arab Emirates and South and Central America, where small, affordable crossovers are particularly popular. In the next step, market launches in Africa and Australia are planned. “The newly launched Fronx is an important model in our portfolio and we are confident that it will support our ambitious export plans,” says Hisashi Takeuchi, CEO of Maruti Suzuki India, “in line with the Indian government’s ‘Make in’ efforts India”, we are committed to leading the export of vehicles made in India.”
The chassis performs quite well even on poor roads and here too the Fronx benefits from a technical detail that is increasingly being forgotten in times of increasing electrification: its low weight. Even in the highest equipment variant with a six-speed automatic transmission and corresponding comfort equipment, the front-wheel drive car weighs less than 1.1 tons. The driver feels this alongside the direct steering and the agile four-cylinder. The chassis is designed for broken slopes and therefore not only offers 16-inch aluminum rims, but also a ground clearance of up to 20 centimeters, depending on the variant.
Inside there is space for officially five – and actually four – adults, who will enjoy an attractive design, the optional nine-inch screen and an inductive charging cradle. No, this Suzuki doesn’t look like a cheap SUV even at second glance. There is also a 310 liter cargo space, which can be variably expanded by folding down the rear seats. The Suzuki Fronx could actually become a bestseller – not least thanks to modern hybrid technology at affordable prices. Maybe the little Indian will make the jump to Europe after all.