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The Suzuki S-Presso now has an Auto Gear Shift model

You can get it for P660,000

The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) approach of the S-Presso is what makes it so endearing. PHOTO FROM SUZUKI

While everyone is getting on the bigger-is-better bandwagon, along with equipping seemingly every model in the lineup with active driving aids and touchscreens, Suzuki has been keeping it real with the S-Presso. The affordable runabout has been a popular model for Suzuki, combining a surprisingly roomy interior with endearing styling and a low price tag.

However, many erstwhile buyers had been put off by its stick shift-only availability. If you wanted an automatic, you would have to go higher up the totem pole with the Celerio.

So, it’s welcome news that the S-Presso now has an Auto Gear Shift option just like the Celerio.

It's a manual with an automated clutch, not a conventional torque converter or CVT. PHOTO FROM SUZUKI

Neither a CVT nor a torque converter unit, the AGS is an automated manual. The gearbox is the same as you’d find in a conventional manual, but an Intelligent Shift Actuator manually engages and disengages the clutch and changes the gears.

In our experience with the AGS-equipped Celerio, it’s not quite as smooth as a CVT or torque converter, but it gets the job done while feeling and sounding like there’s a ghost in the machine that’s actually changing gears and working the clutch for you.

The AGS will make the S-Presso more enjoyable in the city. PHOTOS FROM SUZUKI

The S-Presso AGS is priced at just P660,000—or only P40,000 more than the manual-transmission GL variant. Despite the lowball pricing, it still comes with some nice features like an engine start/stop system, rear parking assist, power windows, central locking, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, dual airbags, and ABS.

The engine is still a 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline unit rated at 67hp and 97Nm. It’s even equipped with traction control and hill-hold assist. Suzuki Philippines is now taking reservations for the AGS-equipped S-Presso.

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our motorcycle editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.