Suzuki’s little SUV combines winning traits of space, style and flexibility writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? If we needed any more proof that Crossovers are the fastest growing segment in the car market, the recent launch of five new arrivals confirms this and Suzuki Vitara is one of the latest to join the fray.
Who is it aimed at? Suzuki’s fourth generation Vitara comes hot on the heels of the Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, SsangYong Tivoli and Mazda CX-3 in the quest to be the ideal car for families who have outgrown the average hatchback
Styling? It’s more than 25 years since the original Vitara was launched, and while Suzuki may have revived an old name, this new version bears no resemblance to the original. Sleek and very stylish, there is more than a hint of current Land Rover design about the Vitara. The choice of colours are bold with four very striking two-tone options available. While orange metallic trimmed with a black metallic roof is the colour of choice for standing out at the school gate, there are more subtle options.
Under the Bonnet? There are two engines to choose from, a 1.6 in petrol or diesel. Both manage to produce 118bhp but the diesel has double the amount of torque with 320Nm.
What about inside? Head-turning looks are matched by an equally funky interior packed with clever details, including quirky air vents and circular clocks. Some of the fittings, however, feel a little plastic and the touchscreen is particularly fiddly. The 375-litre boot comes with a very handy adjustable floor and is more than capable of handling the rigours of family life without too much fuss.
On the Road? The 1.6 diesel engine does 0-60 in 12.4 seconds but feels punchier, with a top speed of 112mph and more than enough power to blaze your own trail on the M25. The six-speed gear box is smooth and easy to shift, but the steering is a little vague, and at higher speeds, it is far too light.
And Safety? The Vitara is, crucially for families, also very safe, earning a maximum five stars in the new, tougher 2015 Euro NCAP crash-safety test.
Options? Available in three trims, SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5 the standard equipment is good, whichever trim you pick, but if you want four-wheel drive then the top spec GLX diesel is the only one to offer it.
Will it break the bank? The Vitara is well priced and starts at £13,999 for the 1.6 petrol SZ4 with two wheel drive up and to £21,299 for 1.6 DDiS SZ5 ALLGRIP
Verdict? The Vitara is competitively priced, well equipped and very safe. On the downside the interior is awash with harsh plastics but if you opt for the diesel with Allgrip you get a very capable off-roader. The new Vitara is the kind of car that Suzuki has built its reputation on and offers up an appealing package for those drivers looking to step away from the pack.
Why you’ll buy one? Competitively priced; Well equipped; Very safe.
Why you won’t? Interior plastics; Light steering
Jeep Renegade – priced from £16,995
Fiat 500X – priced from £16,995
Suzuki Vitara 1.6 DDiS SZ5 ALLGRIP
Engine: 1,586cc, (120bhp) @6000, 156NM @4,400
Max speed: 170km/h
0-100 kph: 9.9 seconds
Emissions: 119 g/km
Model price range; £13,999 (Test car £21,999)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): (67 mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(Seats down): 375(710) litres
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Wheelbase: 2,500 mm
29th of July, 2015