The kei cars and the crates have many similarities. The Japanese made intelligent use of this kei car concept. They started making small cars according to government guidelines. But they converted them into boxes and gave them the appearance of a wagon.
Well, such an experiment was conducted by Suzuki in the early 1990s. And the result was dubbed the Wagon R. It was unique, a high height, a flat rear and a short front. And Suzuki defined it as a Tall Wagon.
This exceptional high car was launched in 1993. It was an odd looking thing that looked like a box, a mini SUV, and even a short van. Although it wasn’t one of those, it was instead a kei car, an MPV, and a hatchback of sorts.
The second generation followed in 1998. And it was the very first generation of Wagon R to be flown out of Japan. Also, in 2003, the third generation was introduced. And it included Stingray, a sport variant in the series. Well, it could hardly bother any other car on the market. While the actual Wagon R was starting to see decent growth for the company. And then the Wagon R hit some big numbers that other Suzuki cars couldn’t.
By 2008, Suzuki released the fourth generation of the Wagon R. The increasing fame for this car brought it to some new international venues. And Suzuki produced the 3 millionth Wagon R last year. Well, then in 2012 came the fifth generation, which ended in 2017. Finally, the sixth generation came out. And that’s the current generation with a starting price of $9,700.
|0.7 – 1.2L||5-speed manual transmission
|54 – 82 hp||55 – 83 lbs – feet|
|0 – 62 MPH||top speed||body style||MPG|
|15.0s||90km/h||MPV||42 city / 48 highway|
The Suzuki Wagon R is not very attractive due to its quality of performance. But it is able to offer cheap travel expenses. In addition, the Japanese variants are limited to the 0.7 L or 658cc 3-cylinder engine. It’s available as either a naturally aspirated engine with 54 horses and 55 lb-ft of torque, or a turbocharged engine with 64 horsepower and 60 lb-ft of torque. While the natural version comes with the variable valve timing.
Outside of Japan, the Wagon R is available in two other flavors. The first is the 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine with 67 hp and 66 lb-ft of torque. In addition, this variant is optionally available with petrol or CNG. While the 1.2L 4-cylinder engine was newly added to the series. Well, this machine would put out 82 horsepower with 83 lb-ft of torque. And it’s expected to only come with an automatic transmission.
The 5-speed manual transmission is standard on all models. A 5-speed automatic is available as an option. In addition, the Japanese models even get the option for a continuously variable transmission.
In addition, the Wagon R is also available with a hybrid powertrain that can drive the car below 11 km/h for 10 seconds. But this is only available on the Japanese market.
Well, the Suzuki also produced a performance edition of the Wagon R called the Stingray. But that’s just strong enough to roll from 0 to 100 km/h in 15 seconds.
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The Suzuki returned the styling for Wagon R to the first and second generations. Well, the design for the sixth generation includes a high roof, a flat rear and a retro grille. While most of the cosmetics are modern, like the headlights, wheels and side mirrors. Also, the South Asian models are mainly based on the third generation Wagon R. And they come with a slightly lower roof.
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The Wagon R offers plenty of space to sit. However, it does not like so much spaciousness. But that’s Suzuki’s magic. Well, the interior includes cloth seats and fiber trim. While ambient lights and some tech-savvy ingredients are available on the higher-end models. Well, that’s all you can find in the Japanese Wagon R. But outside of Japan, the situation is completely different. Although the cloth seats and spacious interior are still there. But the level of comfort drops enough to annoy you on a long drive. And for all the discomfort, credit goes to the seat adjustments.
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The Japanese model will get a touchscreen infotainment system. The system has multimedia controls, smartphone connectivity, and a few other entertainment features. While navigation remains optional. Well, the other regions get a media player with CD/DVD controller and radio. While the touchscreen is usually an aftermarket product.
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In Japan, the Wagon R gets the best safety rating. Because it has almost all the necessary safety devices. While the South Asian and Far East Asian versions are hardly blessed with security features. Airbags are expected to be included in the safety package. But even that is doubtful. While the Japanese version has a lot more. Like Autonomous Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, and more. The models from Japan even come from Suzuki. But priorities are important!
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Honda’s N-WGN is another specialty vehicle from Kei. But its fate, unlike the Wagon R, is limited to the Japanese market. In addition, the Japanese variants differ only in design and some interior components. While the performance is almost similar.
For Japan, the Suzuki Wagon R is indeed a good car to drive. It’s a bit fancy, offers driving comfort and is sufficiently powerful and economical. While in the world outside of Japan, the Wagon R is just another mule.