Drive Type: 4 wheel drive
Trim: 2 door
Waterford Works, New Jersey, United States
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.
Plenty of us here at Autoblog have designs for epic drives. Whether it's bouncing around the country in an old International or heading from Alaska to Chile on a bike, we like to think we have big aspirations. Or at least we did until we heard about these four gentlemen. You see, Leslie George Carvall, Alan Butler, Glyn Maher and Charles Scott are all in their 70's, and they plan to pile into a pair of Suzuki Jimny SUVs and drive around the world. Sort of makes a hike across country seem like a trip down the block to the local corner store. They're calling it "The Ultimate Challenge," and they plan to undertake the journey for two reasons.
First, they want to prove that age shouldn't stand in the way of people doing what they want to do. Second, the group hopes to raise funds for the 'Heaven Can Wait I'm Busy' group, which aims to direct money toward worthy charities both in the UK and around the world. Save the Children and Oakhaven Hospice are the two currently designated charities.
The trip gets started in just three days, and you can head over to the effort's site to track their progress. The route should cover some 16,500 road miles and 10,375 sea miles. You can also catch up with the project on Facebook.
Despite the fact that the coffin has been sealed on Suzuki's US automotive arm, the brand is carrying on elsewhere in the world. The first new product to spearhead the Japanese automaker's product offerings in Europe is this SX4 crossover, making its official debut here at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. You may remember the little SX4 as the cheapest all-wheel-drive car on sale in the US, packing cute styling and efficient, affordable packaging. And it doesn't appear that the formula has changed too much for this new generation, despite what we think are less attractive new duds derived from Suzuki's 2012 S Cross Concept.
The new SX4 is powered by a choice of two 1.6-liter engines - one diesel, one petrol - the former mated to a six-speed manual transmission while the latter uses a CVT with a "seven-speed manual mode" operated by steering wheel-mounted paddles. All-wheel drive remains intact on the SX4, now with four driver-selectable modes and the Allgrip name.
Suzuki is touting the SX4 as having the world's first double sliding glass sunroof, offering "the largest opening areas" in the segment. Overall, the updated interior looks nicely designed and quite functional, though not exactly a shining beacon of refinement.