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Taking the Suzuki Cultus VXL 2017 for a spin

Updated Aug 17, 2018 12:23am

Out with the old and in with the new – finally.

The launch of Pak Suzuki’s new Cultus has been a long time coming. Having owned the 2004, 2006 and 2016 Cultus (of which I’ve held onto the 2006 model), the new Cultus is definitely a world apart; clearly the newest work-horse for Pakistani families and the corporate circle.

The ON/Premium is currently around PKR80,000 for the new Cultus on top of the PKR 1,391,000 invoice price. Add on the registration, filer/non-filer tax and insurance and it will cost around PKR 1.6 million.

Luckily, I was given the opportunity, courtesy Pak Suzuki, to take the VXL Cultus for a short drive (keep that in mind). This is my first impression:

Exterior

The aerodynamic design of the new Cultus is a definite plus as compared to previous models.
The aerodynamic design of the new Cultus is a definite plus as compared to previous models.

I’ve always said that the exterior qualities are subjective. Vehicles are something that eventually grow over you.

The new Cultus is function over form, though it is pleasant to the eyes and in particular, I find the bright blue colour attractive. I wouldn’t term the exterior a work of art, but it’s quite alright. I’d need to see more of them on the road to get a real feel for how they stand out in a sea of traffic.

The ride

Overall the ride was stiff, which may or may not work for some drivers.

Perhaps the condition of our roads and our driving style is the reason why local automakers not only keep the tyres a bit hard but also the vehicle suspension and seating so they can take the beating that will inevitably be unleashed on them.

Interior

Powerpak features like electronic power steering, electric windows and electrically adjustable side view mirrors are included in the new Cultus, apart from dual front SRS air bags, anti-lock braking system and keyless entry with immobiliser.
Powerpak features like electronic power steering, electric windows and electrically adjustable side view mirrors are included in the new Cultus, apart from dual front SRS air bags, anti-lock braking system and keyless entry with immobiliser.

Where do you spend most of your time? Inside the vehicle, driving it.

I search for a Zen-like experience when it comes to car interiors. Everything must be within reach without leaning forward, and though no Alcantara leather shall grace your touch, the material should feel dignified.

I don’t think the Cultus is quite there yet especially when it comes to materials used, but overall the interior is fine, everything is comfortable and well in reach.

Features

These are the biggest additions over the previous generation; the Cultus now has power steering, power windows, power side mirrors (not in VXR), dual airbags as standard (not for VXR), ABS (not in VXR), and few other acronyms to help you be comfortable and safe on the road.

There’s no NAV though so if you’re lost, you’re on your own. You do get a CD player with 4 speakers in VXL and 2 in VXR.

Pak Suzuki has been able to provide equipment to improve passenger comfort, entertainment, safety and security as well.

The new Suzuki Cultus is a giant leap forward from the previous gen, it also comes equipped with immobilizer.

Under the hood

The Cultus comes equipped with the same 1,000cc K10B engine producing 67 HP (50 kW) that Celerio has everywhere else. It’s an efficient little engine that doesn’t offer as much power as the larger Swift but it does make for good city driving.

I didn’t downshift from the third or fourth gear to see how much torque it offered to overtake and exploit those spaces that open up in a clogged traffic; I didn’t feel the need to downshift at any point. I quite liked the engine, though this may be a hit or miss for some depending on what you’re looking for in your purchase.

The new Cultus comes with an advanced K-Series 1000cc engine.
The new Cultus comes with an advanced K-Series 1000cc engine.

It was surprising to learn that Pak Suzuki doesn’t offer any stats or official figures on its mileage when the Indian Maruti boasts a 23.1 KM/L mileage. The salesperson accompanying me during the drive said the car is expected to give a 15-16 KM/L mileage as per our traffic.

If anything, I am eager to test out the automatic-manual transmission (called ‘AMT’) that the Celerio has in India. Hopefully, since we have mostly the same specs in this Cultus, we can expect that transmission to be made available soon as well.

To sum up

The new Cultus is a move in the right direction by Pak Suzuki. Many would argue that in that price range there are plenty of better options, but you should give it a try before making up your mind. It's a good effort by Pak Suzuki to offer a vehicle that pleases the broad base it tries to cater to.

I’d recommend getting behind the seat and giving it a drive.


This content has been independently produced by the writer and Dawn.com. Pak Suzuki has paid for association with the content.