Suzuki is celebrating the South African spirit of hard work and hustle by introducing the all-new Suzuki Eeco. Designed for the efficient and safe transport of goods, the Eeco is already a market leader in countries such as India, where it has sold close to a million units since its launch. The model that lands in South Africa is the newest version, with upgraded performance, design, and safety.

“The Eeco has been highly anticipated by our customers in the know. Like the Super Carry, it offers fuel-efficient point-to-point transport of goods at the lowest possible price. Unlike its pick-up sibling, however, the Eeco has all the benefits of a panel van and all the safety of its entry-level passenger vehicle sibs,” says Brendon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager of Suzuki Auto South Africa.

Only one version of the Suzuki Eeco will be available at launch. It is offered with Suzuki’s leading mechanical warranty of three years / 100 000 km.

*Designed to carry the load*
With a load-carrying vehicle like the new Eeco, it is important to list its dimensions first. The Eeco has a large roof-to-bumper rear door that opens upwards and two side sliding doors that can be operated independently. Both side doors are also fitted with child-lock mechanisms to prevent accidental opening from inside when carrying loose items.

The load bay itself is wide and flat, offering a loading length of 1 620 mm from the rear door to the start of the steel grid partition that is fitted as standard between the loading bay and cockpit. Perhaps more important is the width of the load bay. At 1 300 mm, the Eeco can easily swallow a full-sized South African pallet and with a height of 1 070 mm, there is also enough space for large and bulky items.

With these cavernous dimensions, it is good to know that the Eeco has a certified load-carrying capacity of 615 kg with two passengers and a full tank of fuel on board.

*Designed for ease of use*
In South Africa, the Suzuki brand is best known for its range of passenger vehicles and SUVs, but globally the brand is also a leader in inner-city and compact load-lugging vehicles. With the design of the Eeco, Suzuki has used its specialist knowledge of compact vehicles to make this panel van extremely easy to use.

Among the many features designed for the Eeco is a rack-and-pinion steering system that has an aggressive steering ratio for a turning circle of only 4.5 meters. This allows for easy maneuverability in even the tightest delivery locations. Equally important is the MacPherson strut front suspension, for occupant comfort, combined with a three-link rigid rear axle for durability under load. This is combined with 13” wheels and a ground clearance of 160 mm for safe road use while not being too high to comfortably load packages. Overall, the Eeco is 3 675 mm long and 1 475 mm wide with a wheelbase of 2 350 mm.

*Designed for fuel-efficient operation*
The newest version of the Suzuki Eeco, which is also being launched in South Africa, is fitted with a workhorse version of the brand’s well-known 1.2-liter petrol engine. The K12N engine has 16 valves across its four cylinders and is equipped with variable-valve timing. The engine also has a multipoint fuel-injection system and a compression ratio of 12:1 for greater low-down torque.

In the Eeco, the K12N engine delivers 59 kW at 6 000 r/min and 104 Nm at 3 000 r/min. Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a manual five-speed transmission.

*Designed for safe travel*
In South Africa, every Eeco is sold with two airbags – one for each occupant – and anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) as standard. More impressive for its segment, however, is the inclusion of electronic stability control (ESP) as a standard.

Suzuki has also squeezed in rear parking sensors, a real boon for when the rear window is blocked by a full luggage bay, a high-mounted stop lamp, and an anti-theft immobilizer as standard. Lastly, all Eeco models have side-impact steel beams in the front doors and three-point retracting seatbelts for both driver and passenger.

*Designed for comfort*
As mentioned before, the Eeco has been designed to offer the easiest and most efficient movement of goods. This is done partly by the wide opening side doors, the wide rear luggage door, and the low sill for easy loading and offloading. Inside the cabin, the focus on comfort has translated into large and easily adjustable side mirrors, large and wide front side windows for easy navigation in compact spaces, and a high seating position.

Added to this is a digital instrument cluster with a large and clear display of important vehicle information and speed and a large polyurethane steering wheel for comfortable operation and maneuvering. Suzuki has added an air conditioner and a 12 V power socket – perfect for charging phones and GPS devices – as standard. Two speakers and an antenna in preparation for a radio round off the comfort package.

*Designed for easy maintenance*
To prove that it is the complete package, the Suzuki Eeco is unmatched when it comes to general maintenance. The K12N engine is well known for its uncomplicated design and easy access to maintenance items such as spark plugs, engine oil, and filters. This is done through the driver’s seat, which folds up and forwards to expose the engine.

Suzuki has also opted for a single exterior color – white – to allow for easy branding, quick and cost-effective repairs in the case of dents and scratches, and low insurance costs. Also standard on the Eeco is a simple steel wheel with a small center cap that requires no maintenance. The Eeco is being shipped to dealers and will soon become available at all 95 Suzuki dealers across Southern Africa.