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Suzuki Wagon R+

September 27th, 2008 · No Comments

IF YOU CAN BUY THE SAME CAR AS a Vauxhall, why buy a Suzuki? There are fewer dealers, the list price is higher … Clearly, anyone serious about owning the Wagon R should refer to our Agila report as well. However, there are differences – subtle but significant – and despite a recent price rise, the Suzuki’s standard kit, ready-for-the-road, would actually cost nearly £200 more on the Agila. Of course, the Wagon R has been selling well for several years back home in Japan.

This latest European version is built in Hungary and obviously has much in common with the Polish-assembled Agila. The biggest difference is under the bonnet. Enlarged from 1.2 to 1.3 litres, the Suzuki all-alloy engine is quicker, but brasher than the Agila’s 1.2 unit and its pattern of thirst is different too – see our ‘Fuel Economy’ panels on both cars for the details, including a cheaper car tax band.

Not only in power-delivery but in matters of suspension and seating too, the Wagon R is firmer, trying to be tauter, more extrovert. The wider, lower-profile tyres succeed in giving better emergency braking but no one could describe this Suzuki as a sports hatch. Indeed, it has a four-speed automatic option – of the old-style, inefficient but user-friendly kind; this should improve its town-car appeal even more but expect to suffer an overall 5-7mpg loss as well. No, the real advantages of the Wagon R are not dynamic, but emerge when it comes to negotiating narrow or congested roads or tricky parking slots, or when you need to convey three full-sized passengers on a regular basis.

The interior finish is surprisingly posh as well, with a rear-seat folding arrangement that is second-to-none. More’s the pity therefore that its clutch engages early and unprogressively and that several items are too stiff for arthritic hands. The heater too, suffers from uneven side-to-side warmth at lower temperature settings – bad news if your regular passenger likes more warmth than you, the driver

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