Suzuki Solio Bandit

All-new Suzuki Solio Review: “An ideal packaging for a minivan and a running performance beyond expectation” by Naoki Aoyama

The all-new Suzuki Solio is newly equipped with a mild hybrid system. The heart of the vehicle is the powerful S-ene Charge system. Specifically, the WA04A S-ene charge of the Spacia has a maximum output with 2.2ps/1,000rpm and a maximum torque of 4.1kg-m/100rpm. Its greatest motor assist time is 30 seconds.

The running performance of its motors are approximately 100km/h for the T grade and X grade, and 85km/h for the G grade.

In contrast, the Solio with an upgraded S-ene Charge of WA04A has a maximum output and a maximum torque of 2.3ps/1,000rpm and 5.1kg-m/100rpm. Its greatest motor assist time is 30 seconds as well.

This version’s motor assist running performance is approximately 100km/h.

The standard and Bandit version of the all-new Solio are equipped with 1.2L engine, 91ps, 12kg-m and a CVT with subtransmission, and has a running performance of 27.8km/L with the 2WD version. Moreover, it has basically the same suspension and 165/65R15-sized tires. However, the standard Solio has a gasoline engine for its G grade (its 2WD version has a 24.8km/L running performance), a big difference that separates it from the Bandit.

It is expected—thus, it is just normal—that these models are equipped with safety technologies like the Dual Camera Brake Support pre-crash avoidance system, acceleration control function, and a warning function that signals when there’s a car ahead of you.

As for its packaging, it almost looks like a minivan with two-seat rows, and it is the best among its class with its pleasant backseat boarding and sliding doors, and the free space in its interior.

When you drive the all-new Solio, its wide field of vision in all directions brought about by an upright driving position is very impressive.

Also, it outputs a strong torque when you start the car; this enables you to move off lightly. Its acceleration from that is absolutely light and pleasant. Moreover, it is lighter by 100kg compared to the previous generation model.

Its steering control feels linear and smooth, but it’s slightly heavy. This is directly linked to the sense of security it brings especially on highways and mountain roads. Its riding feel is also perfectly smooth and its gracefulness feels comfortable. Aside from its body having a big entryway as it adopted sliding doors on both sides, it also lets out a pleasant driving even if you drive across a zebra crossing or unstable roads and even when you take round corners, without unpleasant shocks.

Its level of quietness is tolerable. I noticed the road noise mainly, and even though it increased at over 4,000rpm, it did not get to the point that its noise became annoying to me.

I was quite bothered by the slippery fabric of the seats only in the Bandit, and my hip couldn’t fit just right into its curves. I wonder if this model was designed for people with smaller body. Since the steering wheel was very near to the driver, I thought it would be great to have a telescopic steering function in addition to the tilt steering wheel. Also, as for its luggage board, it was somewhat regrettable that it couldn’t be altered like the Swift, in which you may set it vertically.

I was a bit moved by two things. First, the graphic size of the center meter information. Particularly, the right edge of the center meter displays the total fuel consumption, and since the display graphics is big, you can easily check it out, allowing you an ecological driving. The current model has a fuel consumption of 18.9km/L; however, I would want to drive it with a 19km/L fuel consumption.

Also, this may seem a little insignificant but the left side of the driver’s seat has a seat pocket, which makes it very convenient. You can easily put and take your smartphone from the seat pocket. One would not need to put it on a resin tray or in your pocket, thus avoiding that clattering sound inside the car or having unwanted scratches on your phone.

Moreover, the Solio is also a very pet-friendly minivan. Basically, you can embark and disembark the dog through the slide door, but since its floor clearance is extremely low with 355mm, even small dogs can easily ride on this vehicle as it doesn’t have a significant difference with the floor level. You can let the dog sit on the back seat which has a 5:5 ratio and a sliding function, or on a flat luggage floor that has a wide storage on one side. Aside from that, if the back seat can only be slid at a limited scale, you can let the dog sit on the floor area of the back seat (a big dog can relax under it with its maximum width of 1,250mm and maximum depth of 500mm).

You can also store the luggage under the floor; even if you let the dog sit on top of the luggage, it’s quite amazing that it still wouldn’t be difficult to store other small items. (There’s also a bucket-type storage under the passenger seat.)

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

Naoki Aoyama| Motor Journalist/ Dock Life Journalist
He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer specializing on automotive magazines, and then of general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publication related to pet (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related television program, as well as events. He is currently expanding his career as a dog life producer. He is a Japan Car of the Year Selection Committee member.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)