No Export Week #2: Suzuki Wagon R

Ok, I promise this will  be the last non-enthusiast car that I do.  I realize on a blog like this, it’s more typical to discuss sports cars,  but I have a soft spot for kei cars, particularly the Suzuki Wagon R.

Why this one in particular?  A few years back when I visited Tokyo, I rented one of these.  Not on purpose, it was just the cheapest car I could find.  I had nearly rented an RX8,  but at $300 a day, that was a bit steep.  Once I learned what tolls cost over there, I was happy that I saved the money.  Even though it was a 660cc box on wheels,  the day I had it was perhaps the best driving experience I’ve ever had.  I drove through central Tokyo, went all the way out to Chiba, drove much the the famous Wangan, and finally got to experience a RHD car.  Anyhow, enough of my reminiscing, on to the specs.

The noble steed I drove in Tokyo.
The noble steed I drove in Tokyo.

The Wagon R is one of the more popular kei cars in Japan,  and with a starting price of around $9,000 USD,  it’s quite a bargain.  It’s not a car that will get the blood flowing, but it’s one of the more practical cars you can get.

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If you’re into boxy cars,  it’s not bad looking from the outside.

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The interior is as basic as it gets.

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You can however get the Wagon R Stingray.  This has some styling changes, some aero work, and allow wheels.  It’s turbocharged 3-cyl engine puts out around 63 HP.  That seems like a pitiful amount, until you realize the Wagon R weighs in at around 1800lbs.  It’s by no means fast,  but I personally had no problem cruising at 80mph along the Bayshore Route (yes, that’s about 50km/h over the speed limit, it’s hard to adjust to Japanese speed limits when you come from the US).

This is one I really wish they would sell in the US.  Thanks to the Scion xB and the Nissan Cube, I think the US has warmed up to boxy designs like this,  with the low price, and a available hybrid powertrain, this would be a very practical car for city dwellers here.

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