Sam says it’s my kind of car
The Vitara is Suzuki’s offering in the compact SUV segment and our time with the car left us feeling content and impressed. Building on its 32-year history, Suzuki now presents an excellent driving experience for the city driver in their Vitara. Great power, impressive fuel consumption and comfortable interior design, the Suzuki Vitara is the ultimate multipurpose vehicle.
Whether it was overtaking another vehicle or driving up an incline, the Vitara is a responsive car that I never felt struggled even once. It is a 1.4 litre BOOSTERJET engine that provides the more than adequate power for the vehicle. It has an output of 103 kW of power and 220 Nm of torque. There is also a top of the range 1.6L GLX option that offers 86 kW of power and 156 Nm of torque. The six-speed transmission comes in both manual and automatic options.
Suzuki stayed true to their reputation of being a fuel-efficient brand with the Vitara as well. I managed to keep the fuel consumption around the 7L/100km mark across a wide range of driving conditions and traffic levels. It is not quite the claimed level of 5.8L/100km but still quite impressive. It is one of the better fuel consumption levels that I have seen in a SUV, compact or otherwise.
While there has not been a major overhaul to the exterior, it is just enough to make the SUV pleasant to look upon. The most obvious change is to the front of the vehicle with its lower front intake that opens towards the road, a clamshell bonnet with power bulge, a sloping roofline ending in thick C-pillars and an accentuated rear hipline with a kicked-up character line that runs over the rear fenders. The GLX grade now also includes a 17” alloy wheel upgrade.
Even though it is not designed to be a luxurious car, the interior does exude a degree of luxury. A large part of this is due to the part leather, part suede seats. On a day trip out (unfortunately to ‘no where’ due to the lockdown restrictions in place at that time) it was easy to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, even as the driver.
Upgrades to the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system have been made. It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with MirrorLink which makes even the most basic infotainment system go from zero to hero in seconds.
I did expect the interior to be slightly larger than what it was. From the outside it comes across as a much larger car than what it is on the inside. Some of the space is likely lost to design but it is still more than adequate for a small family. The boot size is the thing of dreams for those families too.
The standard safety spec is also something to be considered when considering this car. Active safety features include electronic stability control (ESP) with traction control, ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and a brake-assist system (BAS).
Passive safety features include seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain and driver knee airbags) on all models, as well as Suzuki’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) body-design, which features side and cross-body impact zones, ultra-high strength steel and additional bracing for a body that is both highly rigid and impact absorbing.
The Vitara presents an appealing option for someone that wants a slightly larger car than a hatch or for a small family, especially with the size of the boot. I never wanted for more power within the confines of city driving and the fuel consumption was the cherry on top. It does, however, fall on the higher end of the price spectrum in this segment.
Good to know
Engine: 1.4L BOOSTERJET engine
Transmission: 6-speed, manual
Power: 103 kW
Torque: 220 Nm
Fuel consumption: 5.8L/100km
Price: starting from R389 600
Warranties and service plan: 5-year/200 000 km mechanical warranty, 6-year/ unlimited kilometre warranty against corrosion, 4-year/60 000 km service plan and roadside assistance.
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