Suzuki Alto Lapin X

Suzuki Alto Lapin Review: “Despite its cute character, its running performance is firm, like that of a muscular hare” by Naoki Aoyama

The old Alto Lapin had 50 rabbit characters in its interior and exterior. This became a hot topic in quizzes where people were tasked to find them. Since 90% of its users were women, it was a kei hatchback mostly marketed to women.

Its new model is designed for female customers. Suzuki established a development team that was composed of only women to further improve its user-friendliness. Its greatest feature is maximizing and incorporating the opinions of female customers.

Its base frame is the renowned latest version of the Alto. They also tried to reduce the weight of the platform, body, suspension, and engine. Compared to its predecessor, it is lighter by about 120kg. In other words, it lost weight equivalent to two adult or three slim women.

In addition, the JC08 mode fuel efficiency is a synergy of the CVT with a wide range of improved auxiliary transmission, Suzuki’s EnerCharge, and the new Idling Stop that works at speeds of less than 13kph. I was amazed because it achieved 35.6km/liter, which is about 37% higher compared to its predecessor. It has CVT transmission on the L, S, and X grades. The base G grade has a two-pedal MT with a single clutch. In other words, it is actually combined with an AGS that has a good reputation. It reaches 29.6km/liter with this fuel efficiency mode.

Its exterior has “squircle” proportions that shows cuteness. Its three-tone body is unique. Its body has a two-tone white color, from the roof to the C-pillar and door mirror, and its Fender Arch Molding has brown and navy blue colors.

Taking into account its 35mm lower belt line, peripheral vision, and maneuverability, its interior really has a “living room and my own bedroom” feeling. The seat and door linings remained the same as its predecessor, which is something akin to an old Armani. They used high-quality fabric or quilting upholstery, and ceilings or fancy quilting-style designs overall. Its overall color is bright beige and a light-colored wood-tone panel. A tissue box is placed neatly in front of the passenger seat. the hidden drawer-type instrument panel box produces a “my bedroom” feeling. I can say that its equipment, such as an automatic air conditioning unit with nanotechnology that provides a humidification function, 99% UV-cut glass, a bottle holder that can hold a 500ml juice box (used with straws for children), and spacious storage, live up to the demands of female customers and mothers.

However, adult women might have issues (and it might be quite embarrassing for men) with its sound meter function, where a character greets you with an anime voice, says announcements, and plays a melody.

The opening height of its luggage is 3cm lower than its predecessor, to improve the loading and unloading of heavy luggage. The opening widths have expanded by 5mm to 50mm. Its capacity to load strollers and other things has also improved.

I test drove the X grade, a luxury grade model. The 2WD model costs 1,389,960 yen. The hidden rabbit characters have been reduced to about 15 on the new Alto Lapin (It was not revealed how many there were). Therefore, it runs counter to the cute rabbit impression, and it has a masculine and stable running performance. Because there were comments that the power steering was “somewhat heavy” in its predecessor, it should have been set lighter. However, it still has a moderate weight that is not too light.
If that’s the case, I can have peace of mind during high-speed driving and going through corners. Their consideration for this aspect is commendable.

Although the comfort of the front seat is reminiscent of a sofa, its riding feel is very firm. It has a special quality and comfort that kei cars have never had before.
Although I was bothered with its rolling feeling in some areas, the NA engine has more than enough power performance to pursue fuel efficiency. However, I was surprised when I drove on the highway smoothly like a strong, wild hare. If that’s the case, the stress on the driver and passenger during long drives would be minimized.

However, the impression of its lightness, where they tried to reduce its weight to 120kg, is not that clear. Instead, it reminded me of a good driving feel where I was running stable and secure. On the contrary, a feeling that was too light would make me feel uneasy on the highway.

As soon as I got inside the Lapin, I was overwhelmed by its cute and fashionable interior and exterior equipment. The opportunity for me to drive it, and my female friends’ opportunity to count the number of rabbit characters, seems to have increased. However, If I bought it, I would choose the white two-tone color and the S or X grade with improved seat covers.

And, if I let my friends sit on the rear seat, they will surely be impressed and say, “It’s spacious below the feet~.” In any case, even for me, who is 172cm tall, the back of my driving position and the kneeroom is 24cm wide, which was previously 18cm in the previous generation (which is still wide). By the way, I thought that its space is quite wide, since the BMW 3 Series has 19cm, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class has 21cm, and the Audi A6 has 23cm.

As such, the new Lapin has perfect advance safety performance. After all, the advance safety equipment, which includes the collision reduction brake, has been standardized on all models. Moreover, all the 2WD models are entitled to tax exemption. It has a high level of safety and economic efficiency.

â– 5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★
Interior/Comfort: ★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★
Pet Friendliness: ★★

Naoki Aoyama | Automotive Journalist/Dog Life Journalist

He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer that specialized in automotive magazines, then general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publications on pet (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related television programs, as well as events. He is currently expanding his career as a dog life producer. He was selected as a committee member for Japan Car of the Year.

(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)