Well one of Pakistan’s most loved cars, Suzuki Cultus is about to part ways. The reports are pretty solid that Pak Suzuki has decided to drop the production of the infamous hatchback for good. And in an effort to sell more cars, Pak Suzuki has also launched a limited edition Cultus. The limited edition vehicle comes with the new double din head unit, alloy wheels, matching side mirrors and other minor cosmetic changes and updates.
The new Suzuki Celerio will be replacing the Cultus. It is expected to be put up for sale at the end of 2016 or start of 2017. Also, Pak Suzuki, along with other locally existing car manufacturers are waiting for the new auto policy to be launched and implemented. That will reveal a complete picture about the intentions of various car and bike makers in Pakistan. But let’s talk about Cultus for now.
Since the car is about to part ways, we decided to write a small farewell piece for it. Let’s start with its origin.
The Cultus name has been under use by Suzuki since 1983. What we know in Pakistan as Suzuki Khyber has originally been called Cultus. The first gen Cultus (Khyber shape) was discontinued in Japan by 1988. But Pakistan started to see home-made Khyber after 1988. Before that, they were being imported into Pakistan and were labeled Swift. Khyber had simple 1-liter carburetor engine, and it was one of the most loved Suzuki vehicles in Pakistan.
When Pak Suzuki was selling Khyber in Pakistan, they were selling a compact sedan along with the hatchback as well, called Margalla. The basic shape of Margalla was what the second generation Cultus looked like in Japan but without the boot. Suzuki made a hand full of variants in many body styles of their cars and sold them to other car makers in other countries as well.
In Pakistan, Suzuki launched Cultus in 2000 after discontinuing Khyber cars. And just a year or two before, they had already discontinued Margalla and introduced Suzuki Baleno (aka Esteem).
Cultus was initially launched with a carburetor engine, the EFI engine was introduced in Cultus back in 2007. Here is the list of all the versions and variants that have been sold in Pakistan.
- VX – 2000 to 2005
- VX CNG – 2002 to 2005
- VXR – 2000 to 2007
- VXR CNG – 2002 to 2007
- VXL – 2002 to 2007
- VXL CNG – 2002 to 2007
From 2007 to 2012, two variants were offered, and CNG was offered in both variants.
Suzuki Cultus with Euro II engine was introduced in 2012 and on-wards. There was just one variant Euro II Cultus until CNG fitted Euro II Cultus was launched. And lastly, Pak Suzuki introduced a Limited Edition Suzuki Cultus as a last push a month or so ago, to sell as many cars as possible before the new Celerio.
Globally though, the car has been phased out in several countries already and India was the last one to replace the car with a new model. As mentioned above, the car has been offered in multiple body styles. You will find Cultus in regular four-seat five-door hatchback, in a two-door convertible, in a two-door hatchback, and as a four-door sedan.
A bunch of different engines were offered according to the market they were sold in. Some of those are:
- 1.0-liter Carburetor and EFi (both 3 and 4-cylinder)
- 1.3-liter Carburetor and EFi (4-cylinder)
- 1.6-liter EFi (4-cylinder)
There were turbocharged JDM sports variants as well.
The car was sold as Geo Metro in the North American market. Geo used to be a sub-brand of American General Motors. GM shook hands with Suzuki in 1981. And to tap into increasing market of mini and supermini cars, GM borrowed Cultus from Suzuki Japan and rebranded it as Metro and sold it under Geo subsidiary. GM held the Geo name since 1989 to 1997. The Cultus was marketed as Geo Metro from 1989 to 1997. When GM pulled the plug on Geo name in 97’, the car was then rebranded and sold under Chevrolet name.
The car saw three generation worth of evolution and was introduced in four body styles;
- Three-door hatchback
- Four-door sedan
- Five-door hatchback
- Two-door convertible
GM later discontinued the Cultus name in 2001 and it replaced Suzuki small cars with Daewoo small cars. The car then was available with a 1-liter turbocharged engine in Canada.
The car was sold under Holden Barina name in Australia. Holden is an Australian subsidiary of GM.
Overall, the car was produced in 11 locations all over the world. Some of them are:
And as far the name-plates are concerned, the car that is known as Cultus has made appearances with as many as 14 names. Those are:
- Australia: Holden Barina – hatchback
- Canada: Chevrolet Sprint – hatchback
- China: Changan Suzuki Lingyang
- Ecuador: Chevrolet Swift
- Ecuador: Suzuki Forsa II
- Europe: Subaru Justy
- India: Maruti Suzuki 1000/Esteem
- Indonesia: Suzuki Amenity
- Indonesia: Suzuki Esteem – sedan
- Pakistan: Suzuki Cultus and Margalla – hatchback and sedan
- US: Geo Metro
- US: Pontiac Firefly
- Various: Suzuki Cultus Esteem
- Various: Suzuki Swift
The Cultus has seen its fair share of success and fame. But everything has to move away for the new generation. It is time Cultus makes way for the next generation of automobiles in Pakistan as well.