We’ve lamented Suzuki not selling vehicles in the US many a time. Here’s is an example of an older Suzuki still in production that is so popular it continues to sell well. Just not in the US. It is the Hustler, the “light wagon SUV” hanging around for almost nine years.
First appearing in concept form in 2014, it quickly caught fire in its home market of Japan. It became so popular that Suzuki did a facelifted version that hit the trails in 2020. The Hustler seems to resonate with the mini-SUV enthusiasts wherever it is sold.
“I want a Hustler” they scream
Enthusiasts are screaming, “I want a Hustler.” Japanese publication Best Car says it isn’t particularly practical or laden with convenience features. Sales in 2021 through August are more than 61,000 Hustlers. In 2020, a down year from the pandemic, Suzuki sold 80,114 of the mini SUVs.
Continues Best Car, “It’s an exquisitely friendly design that has a degree of cuteness, and is easy to get attached to like a living thing. We don’t know about that last part. After all, it is an inanimate object. But the attraction in Japan seems to be that it conveys a strong sense of companionship. We get it.
The Suzuki Hustler specs make it a legit off-roader for a mini-SUV
With a minimum ground clearance of over seven inches, it has an approach angle of 29-degrees and a departure angle of 50-degrees. Those are fairly legit numbers for a mini-SUV. Suzuki even likes to advertise these trail features rather than hiding them in the specifications box.
Four-wheel drive comes with three modes; snow mode, grip control, and hill descent control. Again, this is a legit off-road SUV and not just a pretty, albeit boxy face. Lower bumpers are made of plastic. So in the event of getting smashed or otherwise getting damaged, they are easily removed and replaced.
Some other reasons the Hustler is so popular
Other off-roading accouterments include roof rails, chrome front grille, and the popular “Hustler” badges festooned around the body. There is an abundance of paint options, from earth tones to wild solid colors. Even a two-tone option is available. So it appeals to a large variety of buyers simply by offering the Hustler in so many colors.
The boxy, upright styling and proportions give it a certain appeal. It isn’t trying to be a Ferrari. The Hustler has sort of a utilitarian look, much like our own Jeep brand. In many ways, this is Japan’s Jeep. Maybe that explains to us why it is selling so well?
Anyway, as much as we’d like to experience driving one in various environments, we’ll have to enjoy it from afar. Wouldn’t it be great if Suzuki flipped a switch and began importing vehicles like the Hustler back into the US?