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1992 Suzuki Cappuccino Ea11r owner review

Sean Tea
  • Enjoyable to drive
  • Reliable
  • Looks fantastic
  • Parts availability
  • Nervous passengers
  • Fear of breaking it

About the Suzuki Cappuccino

Sean Tea purchased this Suzuki Cappuccino used for $8000 (including all on-road costs) in 2010. Sean Tea would buy this car again because: “Driving it brings me so much joy, just looking the it in the garage makes me smile every day. It’s fun, unique and a very analog experience to drive, pure and surprising well balanced. Like a go-kart but a roadster.”

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

It used to be my daily driver, running about 350km a week and has always run faultlessly. Parts can be a struggle to source but social media has made it easier over the years.

For a 30 year-old JDM import it still runs so well and its relative simplicity makes servicing easy, although you need small hands and flexibility.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

It’s a fun car to own. Like having a traditional British roadster with Japanese reliability. It is a bit of a novelty and people seems to always smile at me and ask plenty of questions.

It does have its comprises, that fact it’s physically tiny and its low power can make it a bit sketchy on Australian highways. You almost have to drive like a motorcycle and be super aware of other less-than-attentive road users.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

I thought it was a bargain when I got it. The Americans have gone a bit JDM crazy over the years and its value has gone up nicely.

It has the comforts of the 1990s with air conditioning, power windows, and that’s about it. The seats are actually super comfortable and it’s spacious given the size of the vehicle. I don’t feel it needs much more in features, just makes it heavy.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

It was designed to be a city car, built to a strict set of Kei rules. So its stopwatch performance is not exactly race car fast.

Its light weight and go cart handling gives the sensation of higher speed, going 40km/h feels fast. Only being a three-cylinder, 657cc engine it sips fuel like a hybrid but has a tiny tank. Under 5.0 litres per 100km is possible.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

The convertible hardtop roof is a cleverly designed system. You can pop off a section in a couple of seconds, very handy at the traffic lights. Then just put it in the passenger foot well.

The use of aluminium body panels helps keep it so light. It’s 1992 tech. Everything is pretty simple but it all works well.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

Handling is excellent, surprisingly excellent for an inexpensive roadster. Steering is so direct and almost pin sharp. It’s light at 725kg and is so nicely balanced. A traditional rear-drive layout with the engine mounted behind the front axle help it feels really stable.

It’s not a fast car and doesn’t need to be driven hard to have fun, you’ll just end up with plenty of bodywork flex and its short wheelbase can make the rear loose. Ride comfort is rubbish on anything less than smooth tarmac, but the suspension needs replacing.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

Since I got this car in 2010 it has been the most enjoyable car I’ve ever owned. I absolutely love to drive this car, like just for the purpose of driving, not just travelling A to B.

I’ve had German salons, hot hatches, and performance coupés, and the Cappuccino makes me smile every time. I wish I could drive it more than I do. It is in amazing condition but needs some work for rego.

I know it’s a big call but only a Porsche Turbo has been more exciting to drive and that was just pure speed.

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Show Breakdown
Technology 8
Reliability 9.3
Ride & Handling 7
Price & Features 10
Performance & Economy 9.3
Ownership Experience 9.5