Let’s make things straight here first okay… I love Honda, my passion is Honda, I dream of working for Honda, but I couldn’t help to fall to the tease of Suzuki and their offerings lately, especially the four wheel vehicles they are selling.
Growing up with Honda really makes it stick in my head for sooooooo many years, even though it does not erode until now, the thought of owning cars other than Honda just recently grew up on me. Suzuki never had a brand recognition as strong as Honda or Toyota here in Indonesia. What Suzuki is well known for here is the Suzuki Carry that is being used as a public transportation around “puncak” area. The Carry are well known because the fact that it is a 1 (one) liter/1000cc engine but carries a maximum of 7 passengers with relative ease on mountainous area (puncak means mountain in english). The reliability and the die hardness of the car puts Suzuki quite high in brand recognition… But alas, as a commuter/business vehicle.
On the other side of the spectrum, on its passenger cars, Suzuki is not known for reliability or advance technology, unlike Toyota with its very well known reliability and Honda’s advance VTEC frugality. Subjectivity aside, the last generation small sedan from Suzuki (Baleno Next-G) even got beaten for its design and technological aspect by Toyota Vios and Honda City. All seemed pretty clear where Suzuki was heading, but suddenly Suzuki came up with a new slogan and Swift, the first of a slew changes that will define Suzuki in the near future.
Suzuki now has a new slogan, “Way of Life”, and with it came a complete revolution of how things are made by Suzuki. The Swift was Suzuki first try on completely change its approach on designing a car. Gone are the pudgy looks that haunts Suzuki products, in are the European go-kart look of a car, hinting at everybody who are looking it that a car can be attractive yet convey a sense of passion along the way. The Swift is by no means utilitarian like Honda Fit/Jazz, it has small boot at the back, and the second row seats are cramped for anybody taller than 160cm, but from the outside… It’s whole lot different story. While Honda design the Fit to look cute deliberately, Suzuki designs the Swift to look macho and very boy racer-ish. Then there is the new X-factor, or rather called the SX-4, another unique and category buster car from Suzuki. While the SX-4 took the same Swift chassis and making it a bit longer and giving second row seating a better leg room, it also bust the segment of city car by introducing crossover concept, combining SUV stance and city car altogether. The result? A strange city car that is smaller than the medium class cars but have stance like SUV… This actually makes the car looks like a half size MPV… Or something, it bust the segment and defines a new one anyway.
So what makes me wanting a Suzuki after all this year being a Honda fan boy? Well, the first thing is now I am more of a rational guy. The Suzuki SX-4 is priced at around Rp 165 Million (around US$16500), it has on board computer to calculate fuel consumption, steer mounted audio control, ABS+EBD, and a dual airbag. Its smaller brethren, the Swift came in at Rp 145 Million (around US$14500) with the same stuff available on the SX-4. Now let’s take an example of Honda Fit/Jazz; For a similarly equipped car, the Fit/Jazz came in at Rp 170 Million (around US$17000) minus on board computer to calculate fuel consumption and steer mounted audio control.
If I wanted to replace my Jazz, I might go for the Swift because I don’t need the extra boot space anyway and I don’t have a lot to spend… I think the latter is the appropriate reason. Yes Honda or Toyota products have better resale value, but down the line,the difference only hovers around 5-10% of 5 years depreciation, and by that time I will have enough money to upgrade to something more roomy (might be another Honda though).
For now, Suzuki trump card is just that, value for money. How they achieve that is just a no brainer… Everything that is inside the Swift and SX-4 is basically the same technology available since 5 years ago on the original Aerio/Aerio Sedan/Baleno. The M15A engine which features a cam changing VVT mechanism is just refined and the automatic transmission is still the same 4matic technology featured on the cars I mention earlier. Using the same technology is not incapability of Suzuki to offer a new one, but if you can refine an existing technology, making it more bulletproof, why use something new that is unproven? Most of all, by using tried and true technology, Suzuki does not have to incur investment cost to bottomline price of its products. This rational thinking of Suzuki really goes with my current disposition towards the world after all.
Anywho… If I do replace my car with a Suzuki, rest assured, you will know me for I will definitely place “do you have a Honda” sticker at the rear glass. Honda will always stay, for the better or for worse… Even if it’s just a sticker. Until I have enough money, the Power of Dreams will be my driving force, to be united again with the one (brand) I desire most. Why is there tears coming down from my eyes… Shoot… Sometimes I get sentimental too fast, but letting go of a dream is quite hard… I’ve always wanted a used 04′ Civic or even an 01′ CR-V, heck! A Honda City would be fine, but I have my priorities now, and my personal dreams are met with conditional real world demands.