Home » The Suzuki Spacia ‘Base’ Shouts Its Modest Trim-Level From The Rooftops, And That’s Delightfully Weird

The Suzuki Spacia ‘Base’ Shouts Its Modest Trim-Level From The Rooftops, And That’s Delightfully Weird

Suzuki Base Wht
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In most cases, automakers prefer to whisper about their base models, keeping these low-spec, low-margin models around as a way to advertise an aggressive starting price. Remember when Volkswagen advertised the 2011 Jetta for less than $15,000? Yeah, that thing didn’t have cruise control, and was largely hypothetical. However, the Japanese-market Suzuki Spacia Base takes a very different approach by announcing its status loud and proud, with emblems and distinct appearance bits, and black trim in the tradition of base models gone by. Needless to say, this is very weird. Could you imagine a fleet-spec Corolla with “BASE” written out on its trunk in all-caps? In America, base models aren’t typically celebrated, so Suzuki’s approach with this JDM van feels fresh, unusual, and thoroughly intriguing.

Confusingly, the Suzuki Spacia “Base” isn’t the least-expensive Spacia model, but it ties for the least-expensive Spacia model with advanced driver assistance systems. While that does make it base-ish, might Suzuki mean something other than basic with the name of this generally honest kei van?

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Suzuki Spacia Base 1

So, what do you get for your 1,394,800 Japanese Yen ($9,350-ish)? Well, you get the front clip off the Spacia Custom with a unique black grille, black steel wheels with black dog dish hubcaps, black door handles, a big badge on the liftgate that says “BASE,” a shelf, a lack of rear quarter windows, and a cut-down rear jumpseat in place of the standard model’s rear bench. Those last three details should tell you everything you need to know — The Suzuki Spacia Base is a utilitarian dual-purpose kei van aimed at small business owners, weekend adventurers, and everyone seeking more cargo flexibility than outright passenger space.

Suzuki Spacia Base Shelf 1

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See, the cut-down seat and the included shelf allow Spacia Base owners to turn their entire vehicle into a mobile office. Fold down the jumpseat to use as a rear-facing bench, pop the liftgate, plug in your laptop, and suddenly, you can work from your kei van with a proper desk and everything. The Ford F-150’s work table center console doesn’t have shit on this, folks. Oh, and that’s not the only thing the shelf can do. It can be locked in a low position for a completely flat floor that’s perfect for camping with bonus stowage below, placed in a middle position for selling goods at fairs and whatnot, and even turned vertical to keep cargo and friends separate, as seen in this photo below.

Suzuki Spacia Base Dog

As you learn more about this little thing’s capabilities, you get the distinct impression that the Suzuki Spacia Base isn’t a base model, but rather a mobile base for digital nomads, peddlers of arugula, and people in between. Taking the concept of the car as a third space and running with it, this little kei van is a cheap and cheerful way of living life outside of a box in the sky. The fact that it happens to tie the standard Spacia Hybrid G for the cheapest trim with ADAS might just be a happy accident.

[Editor’s Note:

It is rare to see a “Base” trim. In 1993, the Jeep Grand Cherokee came as a “Base” model, and then immediately in 1993 Jeep changed the name to SE. A similar thing happened with the Ford Bronco Sport. Back in 2021, these were the trims:

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Screen Shot 2023 10 13 At 8.40.00 Am

That’s right. It was called the “Bronco Sport Base.” At the time, I thought for sure Ford would change the name; “Base” isn’t very sexy, after all. And indeed, before you knew it, Base was gone:

Screen Shot 2023 10 13 At 8.40.12 Am

We need to give more love to Base models. They’re honest! -DT]. 

 

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(Photo credits: Suzuki)

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Austin Vail
Austin Vail
9 months ago

As much as I love my Miata that cost about half the price of that Base, I would’ve seriously considered the Base instead if they were sold here. Seriously, why do American regulations and buying habits have to suck? Why can’t we have small fun aggressively useful little kei vans like that?

Oh wait, we can, just not new, or in Georgia or Maine… Hmm.

Scott
Scott
9 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

Or shockingly, not in California either. AFAICT, you can’t register ANY kei-class vehicle here in the normal/usual way, regardless of how old it is. This, despite the frenzy of enthusiasm for JDM cars and trucks in Long Beach last weekend (at the big JDM show).

I too find the Suzuki Base appealing, and $10K feels about right, as long as it’s driveable and has working A/C. Would all kei cars be impossibly heavy/expensive if forced to meet US safety standards? Probably. 🙁

Still, I want a tiny urban trucklet like this: boxy, pridefully small, and in some bright/unusual color. 🙂

Guillaume Maurice
Guillaume Maurice
9 months ago

Will it be available in EU ?

Because it’s making me rethink my way to use car… a small nimble 4 wheeled thing that can cope with Paris and can carry all my camping and climbing gear ( plus all the stuff my climbing club can cram into it ) is exactly what I’d like to have… The tough part : how does it handle on small twisty French Mountain Roads ? and how does it handle on motorways. ( can it reach 130Km/h in a decent time, and can it boost over that if needed for a minute or two ? )

Overall Kei cars would be a wonder to have in most European city, but sadly they are extremely rare and modern cars tends to be massively overweight compared to what was the norm 30 years ago ( I’m not even talking 60 years ago )…

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
9 months ago

Looks like a taxi in the yellow and black, I was surprised not to see an LED Uber/Lyft placard on the dash!

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago

I see living in a van down by the river is a Japanese thing too.

SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
9 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Living in a van down by an epically badly Photoshopped river is a Japanese thing too.

TDI in PNW
TDI in PNW
9 months ago

I would live in Japan for many reasons (if I could) but I’d go just to have access to all the awesome kei cars. Mobile office space? That’s just badass.

Citrus
Citrus
9 months ago

Making it yellow and black has a certain “No Name” vibe that I’m kind of down with.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

Like a block of government cheese.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
9 months ago

Base trim is based, unfortunately the Spacia,got hit with an ugly stick. It looks like a second generation Scion xB with a parody of a,Lexus grille

SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
9 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

Yes, for some reason they chose to black out the ugly Spacia Custom grille and bumper, instead of using the perfectly servieable set from the lower trim level.
https://www.suzuki.co.jp/car/spacia/styling/img/img04.jpg

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
9 months ago

It used to be those basic models had the fun colours, with vinyl sticker packages. They were fun models. With vibrant colours with names like “Hot Red” or “Surf Blue”.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
9 months ago

Even badging base models can be unusual. For years, “S” was the base model for many Ford sedans, yet no S badge for the decklid existed…it was just blank, which always seemed like a little dig. “You want cheap you penny-pincher YOU GOT IT!!”(said in Frank Costanza tones)

And of course, the base Mustang just used to be called “Mustang,” though of late they’ve given it some more words to take away a little bit of the sting of not being a GT I guess.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

“You want cheap you penny-pincher YOU GOT IT!!”

My favorite song.

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
9 months ago

Can I get this in AWD with heated seats and mirrors? Maybe nicer wheels? WeatherTech-style floor mats? Sunroof?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago

You’ll get nothing and like it!

DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago

That picture of the dude working in his van? I am right now working on a laptop in my Eurovan. Cosmic.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
9 months ago
Reply to  DadBod
Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
9 months ago

Let’s see how thing handles some real BASE jumping. Factory installed parachute? Let’s hope so.

Rotarycoach
Rotarycoach
9 months ago

I’m just here for the All your base are belong to us reference. I worry that it might be getting lost to the internet sands of time! My 15 year old was mildly amused when I showed it to him this morning.

DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago
Reply to  Rotarycoach

I was going to make the same comment. Old people unite!

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
9 months ago

This forbidden fruit comes square-shaped, I see.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago

I always like when a company appeals to my base instincts.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
9 months ago

There’s a BASE sticker on the laptop in the images. Is this a base model or a tie-in with a Japanese company called BASE?

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
9 months ago

That’s exactly what I was thinking.

D-dub
D-dub
9 months ago

Was this post based?…..Yes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkJsh5E2074

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
9 months ago
Reply to  D-dub

That video is Frakeing me out!

10001010
10001010
9 months ago

Maybe BASE just denotes that it’s capable of > 7 mpH

Last edited 9 months ago by 10001010
Andy Individual
Andy Individual
9 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Don’t make me have to take my shoes and socks off.

NewBalanceExtraWide
NewBalanceExtraWide
9 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Damn, that’s good… I can’t lye.

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