Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

What’s no to love

NEW MODEL Suzuki Fronx

Suzuki is riding a wave of success that is looking more like a tsunami with every new model it launches. LIANA REINERS shares her take on the latest offering from the brand to reach local shores (pun intended).

I must admit that I felt as if I’d been living under a rock when I received the invitation to the launch of the Suzuki Fronx. Fronx? What the hell is a Fronx? Apparently, I was the only one who didn’t know because my colleagues all seemed very excited to see it in the flesh.

Was I in for a pleasant surprise! Turns out it’s a coupé SUV and a very good looking one at that. It was first revealed at Suzuki’s global conference in India in January this year and the name is derived from two terms. The first is ‘frontier’, which refers to the fact that it’s Suzuki’s first foray into this market segment and how its design crosses a frontier between SUV and coupé. The ‘x’ points to its crossover nature.

Four versions are available – the Fronx GL in five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission and the more luxurious Fronx GLX, also in manual or auto.

Attractive inside and out

First off, I want to emphasise that I really do love the styling. The grille is striking and perfectly complemented by the swooping roofline, bold wheel arches that combine creased metal and black polycarbonate wheel arch extensions, duallayer front lights with a follow-me-home function, large alloy wheels and LED tail lamps. On the GLX the tail lamps are connected by a LED light bar that runs the length of the vehicle.

All models have 16-inch alloy wheels (silver on the GLX), roof rails (again silver on GLX models), a rear roof-mounted spoiler with shark fin antennae and high-mounted daytime running lights, as well as colour-matched side mirrors with built-in indicators (black mirrors on dual-colour models) and silver front, side and rear skid plate garnishes. GLX versions gain chrome-plated trim across the side windows.

During the launch in the Western Cape, we obviously spent quite a bit of time inside the cabin. For most of the route, which took us from Cape Town to Riebeek Kasteel, we travelled three up. There is more than enough legroom, even in the back, and with a capacity of 304 litres the boot easily swallowed three overnight suitcases and three laptop bags.

The interior is also big on comfort and convenience features and offers everything from a multi-function steering wheel and electric windows all round to automatic climate control, central locking and electric power steering. And just in case – like me – you tend to suffer from battery life anxiety, there are dual rear-mounted USB charging points and a front-mounted 12V charging socket.

In addition, GLX models have keyless entry with push-button start, wireless charging in the centre console, head-up display, dual vanity mirrors with illumination in the sun visors and additional lighting in the glove compartment and front footwells. It also benefits from a larger sized infotainment system.

A peppy performer

All versions of the Fronx are fitted with Suzuki’s 1.5 litre fourcylinder petrol engine which delivers 77kW at 6 000rpm and 138Nm of torque at 4 400rpm. It is quite sprightly for its size, and I was particularly impressed by how well it paired with the five-speed manual transmission. The four-speed automatic transmission isn’t bad either.

The dimensions of the Fronx make it very nimble and an absolute treat to drive. It measures 3 995mm in length and 1 765mm in width and is very manoeuvrable. To prove this point, we put it through its paces on a gymkhana track, where it handled like an absolute breeze. This, of course, is aided by the fact that it sits on Suzuki’s HEARTECT platform and is fitted with a rack-and-pinion steering system, a MacPherson-strut front suspension with ventilated disc brakes and a rear torsion beam suspension system with drum brakes.

Ensuring the safety of all occupants, all models have at least two airbags (the GLX has front side airbags and side curtain airbags too), an electronic stability programme (ESP), hill hold control (HHC), ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and ISOFIX child seat anchors on both sides of the rear bench seat.

Model line-up & pricing

• 1.5 GL 5MT: 279 900

• 1.5 GL 4AT: 299 900

• 1.5 GLX 5MT: 315 900

• 1.5 GLX 4AT: 335 900

*All models are offered with a 5-year/200 000km promotional mechanical warranty and a 4-year/60 000km service plan. A comprehensive 5-year roadside assistance plan and a 6-year/ unlimited kilometre anti-corrosion warranty are also part of the purchase price.

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