Life’s a breeze … and other Suzukis

Go to Google and search “Suzuki sales record South Africa” and sit back to read. Predictably the majority of the results returned are on the theme of how Suzuki South Africa has set sales records (surprise).

What you need to do is look at the dates. The headlines date from about 2017 onward – and they are repetitive. All the way through even the lockdowns of 2020, when the company’s sales picked up seven percent in a market that shrank nearly 30%. Something is going right, including a partnership that now sees Toyota selling rebadged Suzukis in their own showrooms – albeit with a Toyota badge.

Most recently Suzuki mailed to say they had broken their sales record again with a new record that is 600 units higher. At the same time, this new figure of 3,134 vehicles sold puts the company amongst the top three in overall vehicles sales for the month, accelerating from a record 1,577 units in July 2019.

The latest from this Japanese brand to roll up my driveway was the Suzuki Vitara Brezza. The model is built in India and carries a name which means “breeze” in Italian.

That’s a touchscreen in the middle of the Brezza dashboard which also includes bluetooth functionality and the steering wheel controls mean you can keep your eyes on the road while controlling your music and operating the cruise control.

The Brezza fits into the sub-compact SUV category. This means it shares the same 2,500mm wheelbase as the larger Vitara, but is a little shorter at 3,995mm, slightly wider at 1,790mm, and all of 30mm taller at 1,640mm. It weighs in just a little heavier than the Vitara it shares a showroom floor with. Under the hood of this model is a 1.5 litre, four cylinder engine producing 66kW and 200Nm which features across the range.

That range consists of four models, two in GL and two in GLX guise, each with a manual and auto transmission. In each case there’s a five-year / 200,000 km mechanical warranty (for models bought during the unspecified promotional period), a four-year / 60,000 km service plan, six-year / unlimited km body corrosion warranty and three years (unlimited mileage) roadside assistance.

All good information, but hardly a compelling reason to even consider putting it on your buying list – right up until you consider the nameplate. Suzuki have built a reputation for making reliable cars. The Jimny, the Swift, Baleno, Ignis, S-presso, Celerio, DZire, Baleno, Ertiga and Ciaz – pick a bad one amongst the bunch …

The Brezza includes a camera mounted in the tailgate which makes parking that bit easier.

Like its stablemates, the Brezza is a comfortable, well-handling car which combines utility and performance which makes driving a pleasure while not making any particular physical demands. It is as fun and spirited or docile as you like, and while not exactly spectacular at any one particular aspect, delivers a satisfying drive every time.

When you live in a world where stretching money to meet an increasing demand on your resources has become commonplace, it becomes important that you spend money where it lasts longest. Think back to the early years of the super-car brands, like those Italian stallions. Temperamental is not quite an accurate description. New today, broken tomorrow – and repairs were never cheap. It was just how things worked if you wanted to own an exotic. They wouldn’t last long living up to the demands of today.

What we want now is bulletproof reliability, value-for-money, and all the creature comforts that make spending time in the car a pleasant experience. It is in this world that sales performance is linked both to an ability to reliably live up to the demands of customers, as well as doing it with a solid dose of dependability.

Inside of the Brezza you can expect to find the usual modern conveniences associated with owning a new car. You’ve got your aircon, your electric windows and mirrors, your power steering and bluetooth functionality linked to the radio. There’s also a reversing camera to making parking – and exiting parking – easier and it doubles down with rear parking sensors as well.

If you’re considering a small SUV, expect to pay from R248,900 to R313,900 with a four-year /60,000km service plan.

Author: Morné Condon

Automotive journalist in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, following new models, old cars, car clubs and motorsport. My interests are not restricted to the automotive environment, although this is where I am mostly to be found.

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