Suzuki had a more edgy take on a kei car than nearly every other manufacturer. Instead of a boring econobox, they decided to mount the motor front-midship, with a true manual transmission, and rear wheel drive. Claimed to have 50/50 weight distribution with both passengers, and a bevy of different top down configurations, the Cappuccino is one of a kind. Finished in Deep Blue Pearl (1FG) with a blue and gray cloth; the body is straight and sans a few routine scuffs/dings in wonderful shape. Unmodified and recently maintenanced, this bantamweight sports car can be parked anywhere, handles like its on rails, all while delivering fantastic fuel economy.
The driver cockpit is cozy but driver focused, thus light on distractions. The leather wrapped Nardi steering wheel connects the pilot to the drive wheels, and the heavy unassisted steering is very direct. The blue and grey buckets are supportive while the cloth is in above average condition and bolstered well. The gauges are all easy to read, and the tach is happiest above 4K rpm. The electric windows function properly, and when the top is down provide the ideal open air experience. On warmer days with the top and windows up, a functional A/C system cools down the cockpit effectively. Overall the dash is in good shape, and while undistorted, has had a minor repair by the gauge cluster. Addition storage comes in the form of a glove box and a well located behind the driver and passenger seats. This demure drop top can fit someone over six feet tall with the top up, but all the magic happens with the top down. The rear window has the ability to drop down within the body, creating a full convertible experience, or you can choose to remove the center section alone, thereby creating a targa.
Under the bonnet, a turbocharged version of Suzuki F6A sits behind the rear axle. Superior weight distribution and a zingy power delivery make the Cappuccino a more compelling drive than almost every other competitor. Rated at 64hp, it feels faster and tips the scales well below two thousand pounds. The 657cc three cylinder fires up easily and idles with a distinct burble. The powerband is geared towards high rpm driving and the ‘whoosh’ of the turbocharger is a throttle punch away. An oil and filter service ensure this power plant is maintenance free for the next five thousand kilometers, and with only 84K verified miles on the odometer it’s got plenty of life left in it. The transmission is notchy and precise as the manual slots into all five forward gears happily. Gearing is such that you can take longer highway jaunts and not be as uncomfortable as other shorter geared kei’s. The suspension handles bumps large and small, and grip comes from four brand new tires, mounted and balanced by one of our expert techs. Braking inputs are immediate, and this featherweight stops on a dime.
Not the obvious choice for a sports car, but the mighty Cappuccino is perhaps the best value out there. “Adding lightness” as Coplin Chapman would say, is the key to great vehicle dynamics. Its sporty nature, revvy motor, and classic RWD layout make this little Suzuki a prolific Japanese Classic.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB complaint first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.