GAVIN MYERS samples Suzuki’s first entrant into the local light commercial vehicle arena
I’ll bet that not many people knew Suzuki makes a light commercial vehicle. Well, this is it – the Suzuki Super Carry – and it’s actually been around since 1961! That makes this model, the first to be launched in South Africa, the 11th-generation of the Super Carry.
The Super Carry competes in a segment that currently has only one other entrant: the Tata Super Ace, which we reviewed favourably in the September 2015 issue of FOCUS. However, while both share a similar cab-over design with raised load bed (737 mm load height on the Super Carry), the Super Carry caters to an even lighter-duty target market.
As such, its payload weighs in at 750 kg, while its load compartment (accessible only from the rear tailgate – the bin sides are fixed) measures 2 183 (l) x 1 488 (w) x 300 mm (h).
Like the Tata, the Super Carry is aimed at cost-conscious buyers, who may own small businesses, or need a lightweight delivery vehicle with which to tackle the city. Suzuki has engineered the Super Carry with just that in mind, keeping the vehicle as basic as possible and endowing it with an efficient drivetrain.
And as basic as possible is exactly what it is… Convenience features extend to height-adjustable headlamps, a 12V socket and a digital odometer with a clock. Door locks, windows and mirrors are all manually operated, while there are no airbags, anti-lock brakes or electronic driver aids.
However, it must be said that the most surprising omission from the interior is a heating and ventilation system. Only two narrow vents below the dashboard allow fresh air to enter the cab at the occupants’ legs.
Nonetheless, the Super Carry is made to work and on the road its light mass and enthusiastic little engine makes navigating the city easy. The engine is a 1,2-litre, four-cylinder petrol unit, which produces just 54 kW of power and 101 Nm torque. This modest output is sent to the leaf-spring rear axle via a five-speed manual that has a satisfyingly positive throw.
Under most circumstances the Super Carry doesn’t want for oomph and even manages well with a load on the back. Suzuki’s own long-distance test, with a fully laden vehicle, saw the Super Carry return an average fuel consumption figure of just 6,7 l/100 km.
With the engine’s positioning below the cab and its stacked intake right behind the driver’s head, cabin noise is a little on the high side. The fixed-back driver’s seat is only adjustable for reach, but the driving position is fine. Power steering is not fitted, which is really only noticeable in low-speed manoeuvring.
In aiming the Super Carry at cost-conscious businesses or entrepreneurs, Suzuki has priced it at just R135 900, which includes a three-year/100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty and six-year, anti-corrosion warranty. A comprehensive roadside assistance plan is included as well.
However, while the price is appealing, the lack of features and a service plan might put off some buyers. Maybe Suzuki could consider a version with a higher level of spec for those who demand it.