By Otsile Kadiege
We recently joined Suzuki Auto SA for the local launch of the stylish new Fronx, a crossover SUV based on the Baleno platform. The newcomer comes with generous amounts of standard specifications, bold and modish looks, competitive pricing, and is powered by the brand’s familiar K15B powerplant.
Exterior Design and Styling
Externally, the Fronx has a sporty look and adopts a few design cues from the Baleno and Grand Vitara. Up front, the new Fronx boasts a mesh grille with a chrome bar that links with the slim and aggressive-looking daytime running lights (DRLs), which also double as turn signals. The lower section of the front bumper houses crystal block LED headlights (standard across the range) within a triangular-like housing.
In profile, the Fronx is shod with 16-inch alloy wheels for both grades – gloss black for GL and dual-tone machine-finished alloys for the GLX. It also features roof rails, contrasting wheel arches, and an improved ground clearance of 170 mm. At the rear, the sporty-looking newcomer sports standard LED taillights with an integrated LED light-strip and a large rear diffuser.
Buyers can choose their Fronx from among Arctic White Pearl, Splendid Silver Pearl Metallic, Grandeur Grey Pearl Metallic, Celestial Blue Pearl Metallic, Lucent Orange Pearl Metallic, and Bluish Black Pearl exterior paint options.
Interior Design and Technology
Inside, the Fronx’s design and styling mirror the Baleno it’s based on. Highlights include dual-tone detailing with artificial leather inserts on the door panels for the Fronx GLX. The range-topping trim level also features a configurable head-up display, a 9.0-inch touch display with crisp graphics, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay compatibility (GL grades get a small 7.0-inch touchscreen), a nifty 360-degree view camera, a multifunctional flat-bottom style steering wheel, and wireless smartphone charging for compatible devices.
Despite its compact size, the Fronx is surprisingly roomy, offering a decent amount of head and knee room. Its cargo capacity of 304 litres (expandable to 604 litres) isn’t overwhelmingly impressive, but it can accommodate two medium-sized travel bags and two backpacks.
On the safety side of things, the new Fronx comes equipped with ABS with EBD and brake assist, six airbags for the GLX grade, ESP with hill hold assist and rollover mitigation, and ISOFIX child seat anchors, among others. The newcomer is built on the automaker’s HEARTECT platform.
Powertrain and Driving Impressions
The Fronx is powered by a 1.5L 4-cylinder petrol engine producing 77kW and 138Nm. It’s paired with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed automatic transmission. Suzuki claims an average fuel consumption of 5.5l/100km for the manual and 5.7/100km for the automatic.
We had a two-day stint with the Fronx in the Western Cape, where we had the opportunity to drive both the manual and automatic variants. Driving highlights include a punchy naturally aspirated engine paired with a buttery smooth 5-speed manual gearbox, commendable ride quality, and a fairly quiet cabin. Lowlights include its 4-speed automatic transmission that’s constantly hunting for gears, resulting in a less pleasant drive. Its 37-liter fuel tank is quite small too, but it offers about 500 km of range when filled to the brim. We really like the new Fronx and can’t wait to have one for our full evaluation.
Pricing and Warranty
- Fronx 1.5 GL manual – R279,900
- Fronx 1.5 GL auto – R299,900
- Fronx 1.5 GLX manual – R315,900
- Fronx 1.5 GLX auto – R335,900
The Suzuki Fronx is offered with a 5-year/200 000 km promotional mechanical warranty and a 4-year/60 000 km service plan. A comprehensive 5-year roadside assistance plan and a 6-year unlimited kilometre anti-corrosion warranty are also part of the purchase price.
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