The new Suzuki Fronx blasts into the compact crossover segment

Suzuki sales are sky rocketing and it’s not hard to see why. Japanese reliability coupled with spectacular value for money and a model range that is as wide as it is long. That all combines into stellar sales.

Now Suzuki has introduced the Fronx, the new model that replaces the discontinued Brezza. Based on the already successful Baleno platform this new crossover, urban SUV run around not only looks good but plays the part too.

The Fronx is based on the Baleno platform with looks that echo Baleno styling. Yet the Fronx is individual enough to stand apart. The proportions combine well together and there is a subjectively excellent degree of flair to the front and rear and of the car that appeals to the senses. This is a car you want to get into.

Pricing is exciting as always from Suzuki. The Fronx kicks off at R280k for the 1.5 GL manual and ends at R336k for the 1.5 GLX automatic.

In this pricing bracket there is a lot of choice to the local consumer. The decision for buying a car thus doesn’t come down to a nett rands and cents choice only, and the Fronx is stacked up with ammunition ticking boxes in all the right columns. There is little to fault it on when doing the segment comparison. Perhaps the automatic being a 3 speed plus overdrive is a little antiquated but even that is nit picking considering the alternate is often an awful automated manual transmission.  

The one to buy for keen drivers might just be the manual GLX at R316k. It offers heads up display, bigger infotainment screen, keyless start and nicer wheels plus other pretty cosmetic touches. That said, around town the auto box derivative does make driving life easier, in which case the GL auto for running about town at R300k makes sense too.

The bottom line is that from this 4 model line-up there is a Fronx that is going to fit you.

Despite the family resemblances to the Baleno I think, from a first impression on launch that the Fronx is a better drive, if on the open road impressions only. The Fronx behaves like a bigger car. It continues the positive trend we’re seeing in new cars – yes they are more expensive but the ride quality has improved dramatically at the same time.  

There are very few bad cars on offer any more. Gone are the days of pointing and laughing at truly terrible cheap and nasties – today if you end up with a new car in your garage you are likely to be in something quiet, comfortable and refined far beyond what you would have expected from a similar entry level car of a few years back. Albeit for more money, yes, but I think the value factor is still there in longevity and user satisfaction indices over the vehicle’s life span.

To hammer home the point, we even did a gymkhana in the Fronx. It handles surprisingly well with good grip and an agility. When you consider the Fronx weighs just 1010kg I suppose it’s nimbleness is less surprising. On the flip side, on the open road the howling winds that are the Western Cape didn’t faze the Fronx even slightly. I remember the days of being blown almost completely across the highway in a competitor’s car of far lesser quality some years back. Those dangerous days are gone and in the Fronx I felt completely comfortable in windy conditions.  

Under the bonnet is Suzuki’s tried and tested 1.5 litre petrol engine, offering 77kW and 138Nm. It’s got enough grunt for most conditions and even with the 3 speed auto there is enough pulling power to get an overtake done at highway speeds, even in a fabulously wicked headwind. Fuel consumption over the launch was under 7l/100km so I’d expect around 6ish for careful urban commuting.

Comfort in the Fronx is borderline luxurious – and even in the GL spec there is a lot on offer. The GLX though – as mentioned, is the way to go (and adds 4 extra air bags) but in either model the overall space on offer in a ‘compact’ vehicle such as this is generous. Boot space is great at over 400 litres. I think the Fronx is going to be a winner in this intensely competitive segment. It certainly deserves to be.

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