SUZUKI KEI was developed as a new type of mini-car that becomes a new type between sedans and SUV (so-called crossover SUV), and was launched simultaneously with the revision of the mini-car standards in 1998. Since it appeared as a so-called "new standard model" at the time of minicar revision in October 1998, it has been manufactured for about 11 years while being continuously upgraded without being fully remodeled among minicars released by Suzuki. It was a longevity model.

It features a semi-tall style and large-diameter tires based on the 1,550 mm standard height of a typical mechanical parking garage with a package that uses hip points (seating height) that is easy to get on and off with good visibility. , Take the ground clearance high, and improve the rough road runnability.

Initially there were only 3 doors, but added 5 doors in March 1999 the following day. Avoiding competition with Jimny as much as possible, from May 2000 has been configured with only five doors. Although the living space and luggage space are slightly larger than the sedan type, the height in particular is not compatible with the tall wagon type, and they are required by users who emphasize styling and running performance rather than users who give top priority to indoor volume. There is. As a result, a 34L large-capacity "Luggage Box" was standard equipment on the top of the spare tire to improve usability.