In 2015 Suzuki brought the Vitara name back to Australian shores after being missing for many years, with more Australian buyers flocking to SUV’s every year Suzuki are looking to stake a claim with the Vitara’s sharp pricing and good equipment levels.
The Vitara comes in several different models in both fwd, awd and comes with 2 different petrol engines a 1.6L natural aspirated 4 cyl engine, 1.4L booster jet turbo 4 cyl and a very nice 1.6L turbo diesel.
I’ve lucky to test both the 2wd Vitara S turbo and the 4wd RT-X diesel models over a couple weeks.
Interior wise there is not much separating both models as the Vitara comes fairly well equip with both models being standard equip with Keyless Entry and Start System, climate control aircon, reverse camera and parking sensors, rain sensing wipers.
Seating in both models is leather accented with suede inserts with S turbo receiving red stitching.
While I found the seats a touch flat and a touch snug for me, they did have a reasonable amount of comfort I did find the lack of lateral support a touch annoying when cornering.
The leather covered steering was a touch on the thin side for my liking (something other people might not have an issue with) and does contain buttons for the audio, cruise control and hands free.
The instrument panel although rather basic in amount of features available is well lit and easy to see in any light.
You can tell where Suzuki has kept costs down as the interior is mass of hard plastics, but I do really like the look of the round aircon vents and the analogue clock at the top of the dash.
The centre stack is home to the 7 inch touch screen for the multi media system which not only was easy to use but the sound wasn’t too bad at all.
Legroom and head room was adequate and storage is not really abundant with the front getting
two cup holders in the centre console and two bottle holders in the front door while I didn’t try anything bigger than a 600ml bottle in them they are not as big as the rear ones which can easily hold 1.25L bottles. Unfortunately for rear passengers the door holders are all they get.
Boot space is not bad at 375L which expands to 1120L with the rear seats folded down.
Under the bonnet the RT-X is powered Suzuki’s new 1.6L turbo diesel pushing out 88kW and 320Nm which means the RT-X can move quicker than you expect. The engine is tractable and will easily keep with traffic and it hums along nicely at highway speeds thanks to the abundance of torque.
Fuel economy was rather impressive as you’d expect with me averaging in the low 7’s for my commute for the week making it one of the most economical cars I’ve tested it would be very easy to get 700km out of its small tank.
Backing the turbo diesel is a rather nice 6 speed DCT transmission which shifts smoothly and is well suited to the diesel engine.
The S Turbo is powered by a 1.4L Boosterjet turbo 4cyl engine which develops 103kW and 220 Nm, while it has less torque then the diesel engine I really do like the boosterjet its cracking little engine which loves to revs making the S turbo an entertaining ride.
Fuel economy was good as well although not quite as good as the diesel.
On the road the Vitara in either guise handles not bad at all and feels rather stable on any surface my only problem with the Vitara was I found steering a tad lifeless with not a lot of feel compared to others in it’s class.
Safety wise the Vitara has received a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating and is fitted with 7 airbags, ABS, traction control, ESP, rear parking sensors and scores bonus points for the standard fit rear view camera which is standard across the whole range.
After a week in both models of the Vitara couldn’t come anything but impressed with them sure they are not perfect but I haven’t found a car that has been yet, but the Vitara’s impressive feature list, it’s 5 star safety rating and it’s great economy make it a great choice for somebody looking for a small SUV.
While it may not be as fancy as some of it’s rivals it makes up for it with something that some others cars don’t have and that’s character which goes a long way in books. Plus I really love how you can customise the interior with peronalisation packs that change the colour the dash strip and vent surrounds.
If your after a small SUV with some character, something that’s a little different from the norm then you really should take the Vitara for a spin and you will be surprised, when I’m test driving cars I quite often run into people that own the same car who are happy to give me their feedback and it’s not always good. But everyone I spoke to with a Vitara really love their cars and that says a lot to me.
For more info on the Vitara or the rest of Suzuki’s range check out their website www.suzuki.com.au/vehicles
Price From: $22,990
Engine: S Turbo: 1.4L Boosterjet Turbo 4cyl 103kW 220Nm, RT-X: 1.6L direct injection common rail turbo diesel 88kW 320Nm
Transmission: S Turbo: 6 speed auto with paddle shifters, RT-X: 6 speed twin clutch auto with paddle shifters and 4wd
Safety: 5-star ANCAP
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km, Service Interval: 6 months/10,000km
1.4L Boosterjet Direct-injection Turbo Engine
Multimedia satellite navigation system with Reversing Camera & Apple CarPlay
Front and Rear Parking Sensors
5 Star ANCAP Safety Rating
17″ Black Alloy Wheels
LED Daytime Running Lights
Leather seats with suede inserts & red stitching
Red accented interior
1.6L direct-injection common rail turbo diesel engine
6 Twin Clutch System by Suzuki (6TCSS)
Constant 4WD ALLGRIP technology
Multimedia Satellite Navigation System with Rear View Camera
Front and Rear parking sensors
5 Star ANCAP Safety Rating
7 airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD & BA
Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control
Keyless entry & start system
Polished 17″ Alloy Wheels