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What is your opinion on "Suzuki Toyotas?"


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I'm not sure if this is a thing in the US but in the South African market, Toyota and Suzuki have a partnership currently with each other where they rebrand certain models and sell each others' cars and use each others' designs under their respective names. For example, there is a car called the Toyota Starlet, but that is actually a rebranded Suzuki Baleno. Similarly, there is something called a Toyota Urban Cruiser, which is a Suzuki Vitara Brezza originally that Toyota sells under the name "Urban Cruiser." On the other hand, in markets around the world there is a model called the Suzuki Across, which is actually a Toyota RAV4 originally that Suzuki sells under its badge.

When you buy one of these cars, for example if you buy one of the Toyotas that was originally a Suzuki, you will buy it from a Toyota dealership, you'll get a Toyota service plan and warranty and it will have the Toyota logo in all appropriate places. When you take the car for service, Toyota technicians will work on it, not Suzuki ones.

My question is do you think these "Suzuki Toyotas" will be of the same high quality standard that "original" Toyotas have held for decades in terms of long-term reliability, maintenance, parts etc.?

Just for some additional information, if you take the Toyota Starlet (which is called the Toyota Glanza in other parts of the world), the car design is essentially Suzuki's work from the ground up. It features a Suzuki K15B 1.5 litre naturally aspirated petrol engine which was designed by Suzuki, along with basically everything else mechanically. Strictly speaking, it is not a car that Toyota designed from the ground up, but it is sold as a Toyota.

I personally would think that Toyota would never put its badge and its name on a product that they didn't believe in fully, in a product that doesn't meet or exceed their high expectations of quality and long term reliability but I'm not an experienced person like a mechanic or a technician, I'm a layman so I'm curious if Scotty or any other technically experienced people would have an opinion about it.

2 Answers

Toyota is usually really picky on what it puts it’s badge on. 

For example, with the Toyota Supra made by BMW, certain tolerances needed to be met with the BMW engine. Which made both the BMW Z4 better, and gave us the Supra. Granted IMHO, it’s not as good in quality as a ground up Toyota product, but it is still so better than it would have been. 

And similar story with the BRZ. If you looked at the beauty cover of the Subaru BRZ, it will say Toyota on it next to Subaru. Even though it is Subaru’s engine, Toyota had a hand in other aspects of the engine. 

Even without the Toyota badge, I would consider a Suzuki. They are the king of kei cars, IMHO. They specialize in small cars and small displacement engines. And that’s why Toyota partnered with them. 

I wish they still sold them in the US!

I’m a layman too, so this is a layman’s opinion. 

@Kaizen Thank you for the reply! I really do feel the exact same way. I also think that Suzuki is a small car specialist and as you mention, they are very good with small displacement engines. I recently bought a brand-new Starlet because I needed something that was relatively cheap and simple as an everyday driver and as I mentioned it features that K15B engine. This one was a manual transmission that outputs 77KW of power, and today I travelled around 180km, I reset the trip meter and fuel consumption monitor at the same time and by the time I got back home, the car averaged 5.4 litres per 100km. That's INSANELY good fuel consumption, it's actually the idealised "official" fuel consumption figure given by Toyota! The car doesn't feel underpowered at all for a daily driver and my main point is that this engine seems to be designed really well for it to have sufficient power for the car class and to maintain such phenomenal fuel economy, as you have mentioned yourself.

I really feel that Suzuki is a really good brand. Not as good as Toyota overall but this particular model, I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I see why Toyota saw it fit to put their badge on it. I never really was a fan of Suzuki before but they are a Japanese brand and Japanese car makers are the best, unequivocally, especially when compared to far inferior German brands.

I mainly asked the question because Scotty did mention in one of his videos that he is not that big of a fan of Suzuki and maybe they weren't that great 10 or so years ago but I think they have really lifted themselves up since then and especially with this particular class of car, small, simple daily drivers. It has every feature that I would want in a car also including all modern ones which I haven't seen for many years as it's been a while since I bought or even sat in a brand-new car. Even in countries like India, Suzuki is becoming very popular with cars over and above their bikes.

Toyota will always be king but I think Suzuki and Toyota will have a very good synergy with each other. I'm glad someone says that Suzuki is the king of small cars and I understand this is an opinion. Even if others don't share this opinion, I'd still be very interested to hear what they have to say.

Thanks again for the answer!


if this is a thing in the US

It's not

rebrand certain models and sell each others' cars and use each others' designs under their respective names

Yes, it' goes further - Suzuki, just like Subaru, will use Toyota's eCVT tech and other Toyota parts.


For example, the Suzuki S-Cross uses the same eCVT as the Toyota Yaris Cross - which is exciting, I'm gather information about and if the rest of the hybrid system turns out to be also made by Toyota I would go right ahead and buy it.

Being able to get a Toyota reliable hybrid system and a wonderful BoosterJet engine - sounds like a dream!

there is a model called the Suzuki Across, which is actually a Toyota RAV4 originally that Suzuki sells under its badge

Just like the new Mazda2, which this time around is a Yaris.


a product that they didn't believe in fully in a product that doesn't meet or exceed their high expectations of quality and long term reliability

what about the MMT on early 2006-2008? That horrid CVT used on all Avensis models? the Camry 6 speed that shudders? the 2.4L that oil consumption issues, etc.

They're just a car company, stuff happens - they have made a lot of troublesome cars throughout the years...

opinion about it

I'm pretty excited for being able to buy cars with the best of both Toyota's and Suzuki's tech at Suzuki prices!

BUT, it's a shame they do not install Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 on Suzukis - once you try it, you really can't live without it.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 4 times by Dan

Thank you @dan for the response! It was interesting to read about the bad examples of Toyota partnerships that you mentioned, as I didn't know about those.

Also thank you for sharing your opinion. I am glad to know that you are also excited about this partnership because I am, for reasons mentioned before in this thread. That being that Toyota is known overall for its reliability and of course they will have their mishaps as you mention, but overall they're a solid car manufacturer and Suzuki is a solid car manufacturer in its own respect, and that deals specifically with small daily driver cars. For a lot of people, especially later-year students who are hopefully going to get their first job soon, small daily driver cars are very important and are about the only thing that we really look at so early on in life.

Thanks again!

Well it really does depend - in that regard I do have some critique of Suzuki.
While other brands are making very refined small cars and crossovers with the same features, safety, refinement, performance and even better handling and comfort than large offerings, such as the ones I bought - some Suzuki cars feel rather... conceptually outdated.
As much as I absolutely love the Suzuki Vitara and Swift with the 1.0T or 1.4T and the Aisin 6 speed auto,
Other models, such as the Suzuki Ignis, have rather awkward styling, questionable handling, and lack decent automatic gearboxes (many have either a crude Jatco CVTs or jerky AMTs) - there's definitely a lot of room for improvement with those.