1992 Suzuki Cappuccino
Italian roadster styling meets turbo caffeine in the Suzuki Cappuccino, one of the hottest Japanese minicars ever made.
This coveted minicar can be purchased at amazingly low prices through car auctions and secondhand car dealers in the Japanese domestic market, then exported to your nearest port with help from Japan Car Direct.
Released in 1991 to fulfill “one’s dream of owning a stylish and very affordable 2 seater sportscar,” the Cappuccino sold in Japan until 1997 and in the UK from 1993 to 1995.
The Cappuccino is a “kei car”, which means it meets stringent size and output standards set by the Japanese government to reduce eco and road impact, thereby earning its owners generous tax and insurance incentives. But it’s no typical eco car. From super compact dimensions to gorgeous styling, removable top and high-revving turbocharged performance, everything about the Cappuccino puts a smile on your face.
The body is simply beautiful, borrowing all the right curves from classic roadsters. And the top can be fully or partially removed to enjoy covered, T-top or open-air driving. Overall dimensions are surprisingly small (3,295 x 1,395 mm) for those not familiar with kei cars, but the interior is surprisingly roomy.
Performance is excellent for a minicar, with sporty handling, high-revving response and a low seating position that enhances the sense of speed. The result is an extremely fun driving experience that even supercar owners get a kick out of.
The turbocharged 12-valve inline 3-cylinder 657cc DOHC engine produces 63 hp (47 kW; 64 PS) at 6500 rpm, which may not sound like a lot. But it’s the maximum allowed for kei cars and receives a significant boost from the turbocharger and intercooler. The redline is 8,500 rpm and rumor has it that the fuel cuts at well over 11,000rpm!! One must also remember that the Cappuccino is extremely lightweight (725 kg) due to its small size and liberal use of aluminum components.
Press the pedal from a standstill and the Cappuccino takes off fast without turbo kick or spinning tires. It’s very quick for a minicar and you can take it around corners much faster than you might imagine, thanks to double wishbone suspension and a 50/50 weight distribution (when both seats are occupied) made possible by the mid-engine layout. For controlled deceleration, Suzuki provides 4-wheel disc brakes.
The interior is simple and sporty, as you would expect from a sporty roadster, with two comfortable seats that provide excellent support around corners. Average-sized drivers are accommodated comfortably, especially when the roof is removed for a sense of extra space. Larger drivers may want to give the car a test drive before making a purchase.
This beautiful red 1992 Suzuki Cappuccino is in outstanding condition with air conditioning and almost all original parts. If you ever need parts, you can find them with ease through dealers in Japan and the UK, where the Cappuccino enjoys cult status.
After comparing the Cappuccino with other great JDM minicars like the naturally aspirated Honda Beat and turbocharged Daihatsu Mira L200 — which you can also affordably import with assistance from Japan Car Direct — you will almost certainly decide that nothing beats the Suzuki Cappuccino’s combination of great looks and performance.