2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS Long Drive Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Jun 13, 2023

User's: 5.0/5
No-frills pint-size hatchback for the urban jungle.
2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS Long Drive Review | Philkotse Philippines

In this review...

  1. Introduction
  2. Spec Rundown
  3. City crawling to highway cruising
  4. Going up to the City of Pines
  5. Initial Verdict

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS Long Drive Review: Introduction

Suzuki Philippines launched the S-Presso with Automatic Gear Shift (AGS) last May 15, 2023, and the Japanese car brand is not wasting time in showing what its pint-sized hatchback can do.

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS front quarter shot2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS

To highlight its capability, Suzuki Philippines invited Philkotse along with select members of the motoring media to test drive the newly launched S-Presso AGS all the way to Baguio. The said drive was a perfect opportunity to see how the new Suzuki S-Presso AGS performs on long highway stretches, winding provincial roads, and most especially the uphill climb to the City of Pines. Here’s Philkotse’s 2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS long drive review. 

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS Long Drive Review: Spec Rundown

The S-Presso AGS features the same exterior design that we’ve grown accustomed to when Suzuki first introduced the small hatchback three years ago. It still has the same design for its halogen headlamps while sporting the same look for its front and rear bumper. The new S-Presso AGS also has 14-inch alloy wheels along with rear combination lamps.

The same story goes when you hop into the S-Presso AGS’ cabin. It has the same interior layout but it gets an updated infotainment system that’s now integrated with Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto, a feature that I find essential in today’s smartphone era. The 2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS now also has electronic power adjustment for the side mirrors.

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS interior shotIt comes with an updated infotainment system

The buttons for the front power windows are still placed in the center, below the infotainment touchscreen. An unusual placement but deemed necessary to be able to maximize cabin space. The use of hard plastic materials is expected, and all occupants get fabric seats.  

The S-Presso AGS also comes with essential safety and tech features to make daily drives more convenient. It has hill hold control, which helps in preventing the vehicle from rolling back for about two seconds when it's on an inclined road. Suzuki’s small hatchback also has the following: dual front airbags, an anti-lock brake system, an electronic stability program, and rear parking sensors.

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS engine shotNew 1.0-liter K10C gasoline engine

A new 1.0-liter K10C gasoline engine is found under the hood, which delivers 67 horsepower and 97 Nm of torque. The three-cylinder engine is connected to Suzuki’s Automatic Gear Shift (AGS), an automated manual. 

The AGS is a technology developed by Suzuki. It’s a type of automatic transmission that uses an actuator to shift gears. Think of it as driving a manual transmission-powered car but you don’t have to worry about operating the clutch.


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2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS Long Drive Review: City crawling to highway cruising

The drive’s starting point was at Suzuki Auto Taguig dealership where participants were greeted by a fleet of S-Presso AGS. Suzuki PH assigned two individuals per one S-Presso AGS car. 

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS group shotS-Presso AGS fleet at Suzuki Auto Taguig dealership

The first leg was to drive our way out of Taguig City, which took us longer than expected since traffic in C-5 was bad during that particular day. But, it was also the time when I was able to try out the S-Presso AGS’ Engine Automatic Start Stop (EASS) technology. The EASS cuts engine power when the vehicle is at a full stop, which is said to help you yield better fuel economy numbers. 

The S-Presso AGS’ EASS tech works fine when I was crawling through C-5 traffic. There were a few occasions though that it didn’t shut down the engine when the vehicle came to a full stop. Also, at longer stops and when the EASS was activated, the S-Presso’s aircon power tend to decrease its intensity. To counter that, you simply have to lift your foot off the brake pedal for the engine to start again, which brings the car’s aircon intensity back to normal.

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS Apple CarPlayIt comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The updated infotainment system with Apple CarPlay was such a huge help when I was making my way out of Taguig to get to Skyway. The infotainment system doesn’t hang or lag and works fine throughout the duration of the drive.    

After weaving my way through city traffic, I finally found myself cruising on the highway. The S-Presso AGS is relatively stable when driven on the expressway due to the weighted feel on its steering wheel. I liked how the steering wheel comes with a tad heavy feel since it allowed me to have better control of the pint-sized hatchback. It also helped me to keep the vehicle centered within the lane with more ease. 

The suspension tuning leans more on the firm side, which felt the same as the old S-Presso. Road imperfections are absorbed within reason but the ride did get a bit rough, especially on the badly paved road patches along the expressway.

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS cruising on highwayHighway cruising

The S-Presso AGS’ outside noise insulation was decent enough for its price point. Wind and tire noise can be significantly heard when driving at highway speeds, which was already expected. Moreover, a sudden heavy downpour would require you to speak louder than usual due to the sound of rain splatters on the S-Presso’s windshield and roof.

In terms of fuel economy, the 2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS registered a notable figure as it posted 22.3 km/l, which was the combined city and highway driving. 

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS Long Drive Review: Going up to the City of Pines

We initially plan to take Kennon Road on the way up to Baguio but unfortunately, it was closed. As such, we took Marcos Highway or Aspiras–Palispis Highway to reach the City of Pines. 

The S-Presso AGS showed that it can conquer the uphill roads going to Baguio. The 67-hp 1.0-liter gasoline engine proved that it was no slouch as it delivered adequate power when driving through Marcos Highway’s inclined roads. 

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS uphill roads in BaguioTaking on the uphill roads in Baguio

Although, you need to get used to the S-Presso’s AGS transmission since it’s different than the usual torque converter automatic or continuously variable transmission (CVT) that most drivers probably got accustomed to. Suzuki’s AGS is an automated manual, which is a type of automatic transmission that uses an actuator to shift gears. 

Think of it as driving a manual transmission-powered car but you don’t have to worry about operating the clutch. When you want to upshift, you need to slightly lift your foot off the gas pedal and then apply pressure to it once again, prompting the AGS to shift gears. 

With that in mind, you need to find the sweet spot when applying pressure on the gas pedal to ensure that the AGS will give you your preferred gear. It was a bit challenging to get this right all the time, especially when I was driving on Marcos Highway. 

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS at Forest Lodge, BaguioYes, it can reach Baguio

In some instances, the S-Presso’s AGS was scrambling in finding the right gear, which took away some confidence when I wanted to overtake the vehicle ahead. Good thing, the S-Presso AGS comes with a manual mode where you can dictate the gear shifts as you wish.

Upon reaching the final stop of the drive, the 2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS posted 21.2 km/l with two passengers and overnight bags onboard. 

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS Long Drive Review: Initial Verdict

The Suzuki S-Presso AGS, priced at Php 660,000, showed that it has the capability to not just be a daily driver in the urban jungle. It has proven that it can hold its ground when driven along the expressway, and even on the uphill roads going to Baguio–with a notable fuel efficiency rating to boot.

2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS front quarter shot2023 Suzuki S-Presso AGS

Sure, you can argue that the AGS tech might not suit everyone’s driving preference, which also holds true when you ask me. I do hope that Suzuki can further improve or make the AGS tech more refined to lessen the jarring feeling when it is looking for the right gear. Although, the said technology is still a pleasure to have as it allows you to drive with two instead of three pedals.