Feature article

Best Suzuki Car Models in NZ: Buying Guide

Suzuki is the self proclaimed ‘small car expert’ thanks to its big line up of…small cars.

Last updated: 8 April 2024

Suzuki is the self proclaimed ‘small car expert’ thanks to its big line up of…small cars. Its biggest vehicle is the S-Cross, at only 4.3m long. Small cars come with more accessible pricing, Suzuki’s entire line up you would call affordable when compared with the rest of the new car market. Its cheapest model is the $22,990 Ignis while the most expensive is the $45,990 S-Cross hybrid. The ever popular Swift starts at just $24,990 while its ‘SUV’ lineup includes the aforementioned Ignis and S-Cross along with the and the mighty Jimny. The Ignis is the firm’s smallest offering, room only for four on board but it’s a wizard around town. The Vitara is what you’d call a compact SUV, big enough to tackle life and to go further afield with its AWD variants. The S-Cross is the company's flagship, the largest and most expensive model. And then there is the go anywhere Jimny with its bonafide 4x4 chassis.

Suzuki models are renowned for their fuel efficiency, small cars don’t use a lot of gas after all, and also their reliability. This is backed up by Suzuki New Zealand having recently taken out the Canstar Blue Customer Satisfaction New Car Award for 2024, the fifth time it has topped the survey. It was the only car brand to gain five stars in reliability and value for money, the latter particularly hard to come by recently in the new car market as prices push ever higher. There's also Suzuki's five-year warranty program and five years of roadside assistance.

As to which are the best Suzuki models, we reckon these three are the go.

Suzuki Swift, still a top small car

While small in stature, Swift is big on character. We've always quite liked it because it's such a fun car to drive. We particularly like the RS with its turbocharged 1.0-litre engine; 160Nm of turbofed torque in a small, lightweight car makes it an easy drive. And with fuel economy at 5.7L/100km, it's economical too. You can buy a hybrid with even better fuel mileage, but there is an upfront premium to pay.

While small, Swift is feature rich with a sat nav-enabled touch screen infotainment system including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s the usual list of safety features, giving it a five-star ANCAP rating along with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring.

The Swift packs a lot into its 3.8m long, five-door body. Sure it's not huge but you’ll fit four people and there is some 250 litres of boot space.

And there is the Swift Sport model too, a performance bargain at $31,990. This delivers 103kW and 230Nm and can be had with a six-speed manual or an auto if you prefer.

Read the Suzuki Swift Sport review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Suzuki Swift Sport

S-Cross - the big Suzuki

Even Suzuki's biggest model still has a moderate price tag starting at $37,500 for the two-wheel drive JX, and rising up to $45,990 for the JLX hybrid all-wheel drive. This is still a compact SUV but it’s big enough to seat four adults in relative comfort or you can throw three kids in the back. There's more room for everybody's stuff too with 440L of boot space.

Being Suzuki's newest model it is more up-to-date on the tech front; the touchscreen entertainment system has more features and things like wireless CarPlay make the grade. Top models even get snazzy items like a panoramic sunroof, dual zone climate air, heated front seats, leather trim and a powered tailgate.

And there are more safety features too with smarter auto braking tech while the adaptive cruise gets a stop and go function and there’s a 360-degree camera.

It’s a decent drive too with a pleasing mix of ride comfort, refinement and economy. The hybrid delivers 95kW and a strong 235Nm while sipping fuel at a rate of 5.5L/100km.

Read the Suzuki S-Cross hybrid review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Suzuki S-Cross Hybrid

Jimny, a genuine 4x4

One of Suzuki's most charismatic vehicles is its Jimny. This small but massively capable machine is an SUV the way they used to make them; that being something with a full chassis, solid axles and switchable four-wheel drive. It even gets a low range transfer case to tackle the really rough stuff.

It's fairly utilitarian but that doesn't stop them being popular with city folk. Its small dimensions make it handy in urban environments too. However we'd say that the little Ignis is a better fit for the city, but that doesn't stop people buying the Jimny instead.

It can be had with a manual gearbox or the auto and recently the range has been bolstered by the inclusion of a five-door model. It has a longer wheelbase, which adds much needed interior space for those with more things to carry around.

The three-door Jimny is tight on space in the rear and there's no luggage room when you've got the rear seats in use. The bigger five door manages to rectify those wrongs.

While it doesn't have quite the safety equipment of some other Suzuki models it still has six airbags, ESP and lane departure warning.

People like it because it can do both city life and take them far and wide when the weekend calls; it's a fun little vehicle with a big character.

Read the Suzuki Jimny review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Suzuki Jimny


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.