Not only does the Wagon All-the-Rs look utterly Japanese but with its factory-fitted body kit and cold blue HIDs, it even looks a little bit modified. And a modified Japanese car never runs at a standard ride height…

Soon after I bought the Wagon I came to the conclusion that a subtle drop was the only major modification it needed, a decision that surprised me a little as I’ve never really modified a car purely on an aesthetic level before. As the Wagon R is such a popular car in Japan there’s both plenty of parts to choose from and therefore a good selection of images of lowered Wagon R RRs. One particular Minkara post ran through the entire process with a set of RS★R DOWN springs which showed a nice workable drop of around 35-40mm (for more cool points but less practicality you can choose a 50-55mm drop with RS★R’s SUPER DOWN springs instead) and before long a full set of these, along with an adjustable panhard rod (more on that later) were winging their way to me via Jesse Streeter

The Wagon’s front suspension setup is essentially a coilover one, meaning the spring and damper form one unit which can be removed from the car – just 2 nuts on the strut towers and 2 bolts on the hub hold the whole setup in place. Swapping the springs was a straightforward but rather terrifying job given the forces involved – the original spring must be held in a compressed state to remove it and the new spring must be compressed to fit it – but two pairs of spring compressors (and some dubious cable-tie usage) made the process slightly less nerve-shredding.

RSR DOWN front springs being prepared for fitment on an MC22S Wagon R RR

Thanks to the Wagon’s simple beam axle arrangement the rear spring swap couldn’t have been more different, although disappointingly there wasn’t quite enough natural droop in the suspension to allow the springs to be wiggled out. Still, working on a car that’s seen a relatively salt-free life meant disconnecting the dampers required no WD40, wire brushes or swearing…

RSR DOWN rear springs on an MC22S Wagon R RR

With the lowering complete all that was left was to replace the standard panhard bar with an adjustable version and re-centre the rear axle by shortening the bar and measuring each wheel’s place within their arches.

An adjustable panhard rod on an MC22S Suzuki Wagon R RR

The car now sits just over 35mm lower at the front and a similar amount at the back – I’m really pleased with how it looks and the ride quality is surprisingly similar to the standard setup, something I’m sure couldn’t be said about the SUPER DOWN setup!

An MC22S Suzuki Wagon R RR with RSR DOWN suspension
An MC22S Suzuki Wagon R RR with RSR DOWN suspension