The Suzuki Vitara
The new, rather elegant and subtly smoother lines of the new Vitara give the car a hint of class superiority that may sit uncomfortably with known prestige brands
You can buy some 4x4s for 10 times the price of a new Suzuki Vitara. Yet, put the Vitara alongside any of them as your main family car, and you’re bound to question the logic. The Vitara has just as much practicality, usability, and soft ‘off road’ capability as most of us ever need in a year, so that leaves you with about 70 grand to spend on other things you don’t really need.
The argument is more persuasive when you look at the spec you get for the money. Safety first – 7 standard airbags, including Drivers Knee Airbag is a good start, and Bluetooth and DAB radio, also come standard across the range. For just a bit more, the higher spec SZ-T and SZ5 models get smartphone link audio and navigation as standard, the latter having the option of Radar Brake Support and Adaptive Cruise Control.
We’re climbing the options ladder here then, yet still hovering just under the twenty grand mark. Add the whole gambit with Suzuki’s ALL GRIP intelligent four-wheel drive system and you’re still under twenty five grand!
The new, rather elegant and subtly smoother lines of the new Vitara give the car a hint of class superiority that may sit uncomfortably with known prestige brands. Enter the cabin to the most comfortable and spacious Vitara yet, with interior fit and finish that again befits a class above it.
So far then, so good, especially when you drive it. The new Vitara is a convincing case of ‘under promise’ and ‘over-deliver’ for the refinement and feel of the car sets new standards for the brand, taking away any hint of it being a compromise between utility and refinement for it is both – without compromise.
It’s a welcome relief to find that there are only two engine options; petrol and diesel. That’s about as much as my brain can handle anyway. And let’s face it, every time you buy one of umpteen engine size and spec options on a new car, there is always a nagging doubt that choosing ‘engine option 5’ over ‘engine option 8’ would have been a better deal.
No such confusion here; the M16A 1.6 litre petrol engine achieves good fuel economy (check the stats below) and drives with the smooth progression and higher revving elasticity we expect of efficient modern petrol engines. The 1.6-litre DDiS diesel engine, with new Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Variable Geometry Turbocharger (‘VGT’) achieves sprightly acceleration from low down, has good power and torque, acceptable noise levels at cruising speeds but tops the scales on C02 emissions as a result.
Your choice, as always, must be governed by your average mileage and type of use, best to drive both before committing your pennies. Each does its work through either 5 or 6 speed manual (5 for petrol. 6 for diesel) or 6 speed automatic transmission. It’s a simple system to operate too, and in default setting will apply two wheel drive for economy unless or until 4 wheel drive grip is needed. You, the driver only need press and steer.
All this for relatively ordinary money, yet combined with a range of neat personalisation equipment options your dealer will introduce you to if you feel inclined to spoil yourself. Then again, why wouldn’t you? You’ve just saved yourself 60 or 70 grand after all.