The Suzuki Carry is now out of production, but it was a pretty iconic vehicle produced between 1999 - 2005. The Carry occupied a segment of its own, as at its time there weren’t many micro-vans rolling on the UK’s streets.
The truck was offered in both van and chassis cab versions and was aimed at those looking for a commercial vehicle, with minimum costs of ownership which would also be able to carry some load at the back. The Suzuki Carry was engineered as a small working horse, designed without all the bells and whistles of its bigger siblings.
Given its size and purpose, it will be cruel to compare the Carry’s design with any other LCV from the road. But, while the exterior style isn’t much of an eye catcher, the Suzuki Carry will attract you attention thanks to its compact dimensions. This tiny LCV can go into places that are impossible to reach by a conventional LCV and it can deal with congested traffic better than no other van or chassis cab model.
The truck featured a pretty rudimentary build quality and judging by the way it looked it was a wonder that was able to last with dignity to relatively harsh working conditions.
The Suzuki Carry however, was like a small giant as its high ground clearance and the tough body gave it a surprisingly strong character that helped it to tackle almost anything was thrown at it.
For its tiny dimensions the Carry boasted a pretty large load area with a load deck measuring 1,620mm long, 1,340mm wide and 1,100mm height. The vehicle had also received a few design elements which make it look pretty cute such as the huge headlights, a wrap-round bumper, the sculpted bonnet and the huge windshield.
The side panels of the van versions were mostly flat and were fitted with a large opening sliding door, while at the back there is a vertically opening tailgate.
As it was expected, the interior was highly rudimentary and was fitted only with basic equipment. The small exterior dimensions also affected the space of both the driver and passenger. The plastics were also third class, while the build quality was in accordance with the cheap price paid for the vehicle.
Although the cabin didn’t offer acres of space, we’ll have to give credit to Suzuki’s engineers as they’ve used wisely every amount of space available. The dashboard featured an ergonomic design which is not intrusive and is also fitted with various storage places where you can keep different things.
The instrument cluster features a huge central gauge for the speedo which is flanked by other small indicators to display different vehicle stats. The micro truck was also fitted with a central audio system which was easy to use and pretty performant for a budget vehicle.
The seats were a bit cramped and came with limited adjustments offering an upright driving position and poor legroom. The good part is that the road visibility was top notch and the large wing mirrors covered most of the blind spots.
Engines and transmissions
Power comes from a lively 1.3 liter petrol engine which delivers a maximum output of 77 hp. The fuel injected petrol engine offers a pretty sharp response but feels most comfortable when it needs to deal with light payloads being advised for electricians, florists or caterers.
The mid mounted engine could be considered a bit noisy as the driver sits directly on top of it, but the good part is that it will reward with good performances and a satisfactory acceleration at low speeds. On the other hand, the fuel injected unit will feel sluggish at higher speed and it lacks the power boost needed to deal effortless with overtaking maneuvers.
The engine is married to a five speed manual gearbox which was able to keep in check those 77 ponies without too much fuss.
Ride and handling
The Suzuki Carry is pretty easy to drive, mostly due to its compact dimensions. The ride however is pretty bumpy as the suspensions aren’t able to soak the road vibrations without sending them into the cab. The steering is pretty sharp, but you’ll need extra attention around corners as the Carry has a pretty big body roll due to its high center of gravity.
Apart from a driver airbag, engine imobiliser and central locking the safety department is pretty poor and there isn’t anything else worth to be mentioned.
The Suzuki Carry was a pretty capable workhorse and despite its compact dimensions it was able to carry generous loads around the city in maximum safety. Despite its spartan cabin, there was enough room for two people and the dashboard featured an ingenious layout which maximized the use of space.
The truck was also pretty nimble and its abilities to deal with congested traffic situation remain unbeatable by any other conventional LCV. The built quality is what it is, but some sacrifices had to be done to keep the acquisition price to as low as possible. The ride and handling aren’t great either, but on the other, hand the Carry wasn’t built to win any drag races, hence we won’t complain too much about it.
In the end, the Suzuki Carry did its job pretty well and even if was discontinued from the market it was an interesting concept that was shortly followed by other manufacturers, such as DSFK or Daihatsu.