Meat Loaf | Suzuki Solio

BY Azfar Hashim

It’s no high-performance car whatsoever, but this little Suzuki still impresses in many other ways

Photos by Azfar Hashim

Who would’ve thought that a bread van like this Solio could win the hearts of even the most enthusiastic driver who loathes MPVs at the highest degree; e.g. me. At first glance, you may even think to yourself, “Hmm… How on earth could Suzuki conjure such a design?” After all in this day and age where everyone is given beautifully designed cars, the Solio looks like the odd one out. A sore thumb, even.

But when you actually do get behind the wheel of one, it drives surprisingly well.

The engine feels lively and doesn’t show any sign of struggle at lugging the car around; Suzuki claims this Solio whips out only 88 bhp and 118 Nm of torque and does the century sprint in a ghastly 11.5 seconds. To be frank, these are mere numbers and you should not take so much care about.

There’s that weird sense of satisfaction when driving this little runner. Thing is, it isn’t the world’s fastest car ever but when you dance on the accelerator, it moves with verve and eagerness. The CVT might’ve taken some ounces of life away, but how it compensates with smoothness across the board makes you realize that this engine and transmission combo really works well in this Solio. Speaking of which, the engine pulls itself willingly to the 6,200 rpm redline when you weld your foot down, although anywhere past 4,500 rpm, it is actually screaming at you to “take it easy, bro”…

Driven out on the expressway within the legal speed limit, the Solio’s cabin is surprisingly well suppressed against unwanted engine and road noise; you can have a decent conversation with the rear passengers who are obviously enjoying the generous amount of legroom, especially when they get to push the seat all the way back. Wind noise is still present though, but it’s not something you cannot live with.

And of course, measuring in at only 3,710 mm long and 1,620 mm wide (even smaller than the Polo), it is a cinch to maneuver around the tightest of spaces; heck, if you’ve always had problems parallel parking, this is the car that will make you the next world title holder of “Fastest Parker” (heh… heh… heh). But despite its size, the local distributor still fitted a reverse camera and sensor at no extra cost. Hmm…

Now let’s get to the interior. At one glance, you can already know Suzuki took a utilitarian approach with this one; hard plastic is used all over, and the dashboard is uncluttered and idiot-proof. Better still, you get storage compartments all over the dashboard, a plastic hook to help you hang that grocery bag and also a pair of tray for the rear passengers; very thoughtful, very good.

At least Suzuki didn’t deprive the Solio of any luxury. First, you get a nicely size, leather wrapped steering wheel that also include controls for the audio system. Second, leather wrapped seats for all – and they’re comfy, alrite. Third, a premium multimedia head-unit; GPS included. Let's not forget the Xenon headlamps, front fog lamps and 14-inch alloys. Last but not least, which is also this car’s USP, electric sliding doors for both sides – sure as hell make things very convenient.

So as I’ve mentioned earlier, the Suzuki Solio is one little car that has so much things packed into it despite the size. For a start, it sure does kick everybody else’s buttocks (read: Polo and Fiesta) in terms of cabin size, practicality and equipment list.

It’s not the most beautiful car created, but as a whole, the Suzuki Solio is good value for money and puts a smile on my face every single time I got behind the wheel.

I, really, don’t mind having one.