SUZUKI’s revised Vitara comes with new engines, styling upgrades, added levels of equipment and safety features and with a starting price of just €19,424 (£16,999) it stakes a strong claim to be the best value SUV in the class.
A new front-end design gives the Vitara a more eye-catching upmarket look and an upgraded interior underlines its credentials as a significant contender in a sector bursting with compelling rivals.
Vitara comes in three trim levels and manual and automatic gearboxes are available, along with four-wheel-drive on some models. There is a 1.0 litre three-cylinder Boosterjet engine and a 1.4 litre four cylinder turbocharged unit – both petrol – and my test model had the 1.0 litre unit which offers 110 hp and 6-speed auto gearbox. The 0-100 kph time is 12.5 seconds, top speed 179 kph (111 mph), average fuel figure 17.5 kpl (49.5 mpg) and emissions are 129 g/km. This version is priced at €23,253 (£20,349).
On the move, the Vitara feels agile, with precise steering feedback, and the auto gearbox has a wide ratio to help give quick response from low speeds. It also has four driving modes including Sport and Snow, and a limited-slip differential provides more grip on mud, sand or ice. Revised suspension delivers a nice blend of firmness for cornering stability with supple ride comfort.
The cabin has good head and legroom and the 375-litre boot is more than adequate for normal needs. The rear seats can be dropped or re-position for larger 710-litre load versatility and the rear floor is also height-adjustable. The dashboard is a clean, simple user-friendly design with large twin dials in front of the driver, and a central touch screen for main functions, plus switches on the steering wheel. Trim materials have been improved and look smarter and more durable.
Vitara equipment levels are very good, with Bluetooth and climate control on even the entry version. My mid-range SZT model has plenty of features including sat-nav, digital radio, smartphone connectivity, alloy wheels, roof rails, chrome detailing, auto headlights, rear parking camera. Safety kit includes seven airbags and LED daytime running lights.
My lingering memory of the Vitara is what good value it is. While some mainstream rivals may have a little extra equipment and perhaps more badge image, they usually cost considerably more and these days, perhaps more than ever, genuine value for money is what potential buyers are seeking.
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Model: Suzuki Vitara SZT
Engine. 1.0 litre turbo-petrol
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Performance: 0-100 kph 12.5 seconds, top speed 179 kph (111 mph)
Economy: 17.5 kpl (49.5 mpg)
Emissions; 129 g/km