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COFFEE MATE (some text hidden)
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Introductionword count: 167
British motorists like to assume the role of put-upon victims of a money grubbing state, but spare a thought for the poor residents of Japan. With vehicle ownership a crippling financial proposition and average metropolitan traffic speeds slower than the tectonic plate the cities sit on, the Japanese have some tough breaks. The K-class of motor vehicles was designed to give the miserable Japanese motorist the opportunity to own a car that would merely render them destitute rather than eternally in the debt of the local yakuza boss. To conform, the cars in question needed to be less than 3.3 metres long, less than 1.4 metres wide and with an engine size of less than one litre. These midget cars were not meant to be fun. Fortunately, nobody told Suzuki that last bit. The 660cc Cappuccino was an instant hit and soon developed a minor cult following in the UK. Track down a decent used one and you'll have landed yourself a tiny slice of Oriental exotica.
Modelsword count: 6
Models Covered: (2dr roadster 657cc petrol)
Historyword count: 188
First unveiled at the 1989 Tokyo Show, the Cappuccino was at first dismissed as a mere styling exercise, many bystanders ignorant of Suzuki's resolve to put the tiny roadster into series production. Production began in earnest at the Kosai plant in October 1991, although aspirations for the car never extended beyond the domestic market. Aware of the favourable reception the car was receiving in its homeland, Suzuki GB soon spotted the potential for the Cappuccino to act as a brand builder for the marque, and entered into discussions to bring the car to these shores. Being such a specialist car, the type approval process wasn't straightforward, yet the Cappuccino officially went on sale to an initially bemused British public in October 1993, priced at £11,995. Tight import quotas meant that only 1,110 cars were sold in the UK between 1993 and 1995, of which 80% were red and the remaining 20% were silver. Tougher emissions regulations eventually made the import of the Cappuccino unfeasible, but the car carried on for sale in Japan in Type2 guise until late 1997, and personally imported examples continue to hit UK docks.
What You Getword count: 134
Highlighting the fact that the Cappuccino is small may well be a Pope/Catholic or bears/woods sort of observation but it's worth reiterating. This car is seriously diminutive. If you're broad of shoulder, Cappuccino driving can be rather intimate. The car is so low slung that it highlights a feeling that there's even less car than you at first envisaged. Although a driver's airbag and anti-lock brakes are standard equipment, some drivers may feel a touch vulnerable in such a tiny car. When the roof is stowed there's not too much luggage space. Standard equipment includes air conditioning and electric windows, but security provision is poor. Nevertheless, everything is impeccably built, the engine bay being a masterpiece in miniaturisation. If it didn't have a Suzuki badge on it, you'd swear it was built by Sony.
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