With so many cars appearing to share style, equipment and technology these days manufacturers have to identify that special something which sets them apart from the competition. Some do it via special offers, extra equipment and regular facelifts and others take a simpler route to success. One such maker is Suzuki, and today we’re looking at the Vitara Hybrid.
The Japanese car maker recently celebrated its centenary and is known for small cars, SUVs and motorbikes along with marine engines and ATVs. One of their best known, and most admired, SUVs is the diminutive Jimny, which is a formidable off-road performer.
In slightly larger form their Vitara makes for a practical and comfortable on and off-roader, with more than a dash of old fashioned style. Thanks to its straightforward boxy design you can pack a lot into the Vitara and it comes with a no nonsense, well-built feel. Prices start from €22,485 (£19,249) for the lead-in SZ4 which comes as standard with alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, automatic air conditioning, automatic lights and wipers and Bluetooth.
There’s just one power unit for the range and it’s a very good one too. The 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine also has an electric motor that helps economy, lowers emissions and gives a performance boost. In a week of sometimes not so leisurely driving I notched up an average 46 mpg.
It’s a smooth and refined unit and possessed of enough power to nip past tractors and other slow traffic. The benchmark 100 kmh (62 mph) is passed in 9.5 seconds with a top speed of 190 kmh (118mph). It’s no performance powerhouse but has more than enough capability to deal with motorway cruising speeds and overtakes on single carriageway roads.
Inside the no nonsense approach continues with a comfortable look and feel albeit lacking in the interior fripperies of more flouncy rivals. Everything looks well able to stand the daily scuffs and knocks of everyday family and working life. A welcome lack of digital nonsense is heralded by buttons, and even on the touchscreen there’s minimal tapping required. Volkswagen Audi please note!
Options include 4-wheel-drive on the top of the range SZ5 model along with some rather snazzy colour combinations and very sensibly priced styling upgrades. The Vitara makes for a sensible purchase given their well-earned reputation for reliability. Add in the generous levels of standard equipment and it’s not hard to see why the Vitara remains a popular choice.
Facts at a Glance
- Model: Suzuki Vitara SZ4
- Engine: 1.4 Turbocharged Petrol with 48v electric mild hybrid
- Gears: 6-Speed Manual
- Performance: 0-100 kmh (60 mph) 9.5 seconds/Maximum Speed 190 kmh (118 mph)
- Economy: 5.3 l/100km (52.7 mpg) Combined driving (WLTP)
- Emissions: 121 g/km
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.