Vitara excellently combines performance and practicality

The new Grand Vitara is easier to drive on narrow roads and tight parking spaces

The new Grand Vitara is easier to drive on narrow roads and tight parking spaces

THE fourth generation of Vitara  presented at 2014 Paris Motor Show has now entered the South African market brimming with competition of high quality for the SUV market.  Competitors here include the likes of the Nissan Juke, Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster and Captur, Honda H- RV and Mazda CX-3.

The all-new fourth generation model is 125 mm (4.9 in) shorter, 85 mm (3.3 in) lower, 35 mm (1.4 in) leaner, it is now a compact crossover, and has a wheelbase 140 mm (5.5 in) shorter than the previous generation Grand Vitara, making the Vitara easier to drive on narrow roads and tight parking spaces. The engine displacement is also down by 0.8 litres.

Suzuki’s answer for this market segment is the new Vitara which competes in the compact crossover segment – but which becomes a contender in the compact SUV sector when equipped with Suzuki’s innovative AllGrip all-wheel drive system.

Model range

The five-model Suzuki Vitara range spans three specification levels – GL, GL+ and GLX – and a choice of two transmissions, as well as either front-wheel or AllGrip all-wheel drive.

The AllGrip system, offered on two of the five Suzuki Vitara models, adds real all-terrain capability, with four user-selectable driving modes without compromising fuel economy.The four-mode system optimises traction in variety of driving conditions.

All five models are equipped with the same, four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine.

Exterior

It is highly attractive vehicle with sporty looks. Even better the GL + models offer a two-tone option just for the fun of it. Overall the Vitara is available in eight exterior colours, four roof colours and three grille finishes (chrome, black and white).

Interior design

The Vitara combines a contemporary, streamlined, raised stance shape on the outside with a spacious, car-like interior. The cabin of the Vitara can also be personalised.The interior is roomy and has comfortable space with a user-friendly instrument layout.In the back there is enough space for three teenagers or two adults to sit comfortably.

The main instrument binnacle is dominated by dual analogue dials for speed and rev count, while an information display between the two dials offers selectable trip computer information. The MP3/WMA-compatible multi-speaker audio system includes a CD player and FM/AM tuner, as well USB connectivity. It also has Bluetooth connectivity.

The steering wheel is equipped – depending on the model – with multifunction controls for the audio system, hands-free telephony, and cruise control and speed limiter systems.

The front bucket seats are height adjustable for both driver and front passenger, while the rear bench seat is split 60/40 and can be folded flat partially or completely.

The luggage compartment is spacious and easily accessible thanks to a tailgate that opens all the way down to bumper level. The luggage compartment has a divider board, as well as a 12V accessory socket and a boot light.

Safety

All five models are equipped with a full array of active and passive safety features. As a result, the new Vitara attained a full five-star safety rating under the latest, stringent EuroNCAP crash safety tests.

Active systems include an electronic stability programme (ESP), and ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and electronic brake assist (EBA).

The passive safety features include seven airbags (dual front, side and curtain airbags, as well as a knee airbag for the driver), as well as a brake pedal release system.

Specs

Even the base model, the 1.6 GL, offers an extensive array of features. All the models have as standard equipment the safety equipment (as mentioned above) as well as daytime running lights, skid plates, alarm, immobiliser, remote central locking, front electric windows and mirrors, adjustable multi-function steering wheel, trip computer, a CD/radio sound system with Bluetooth and USB/mp3 and 60/40 split rear seats.

Added features on the GL + and GLX include LED lights, panoramic sunroof, chrome and suede trim, cruise control, an All Grip driving mode selector, keyless start, two extra speakers, hill hold and descent control, parking sensors, more storage solutions, extra interior lights and 12V sockets.

Engine and Power

All the models are equipped with a 1.6 litre petrol engine. There are no turbo engine options in this range. The engine is quite lively and willing and the Vitara doesn’t struggle when overtaking vehicles on the open road. While it is quite happy and sturdy on the open road, its compact dimensions make it ideal for the urban commuter with the added advantage of a heightened seating position with good visibility.

While the same engine is used across the entire Vitara model range, would-be buyers can opt for either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox. Manual override is available via shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

Its average fuel consumption is stated as 6L/100km

Overall, the Vitara not only looks good, but it also gives a solid performance, practicality and economy at a very competitive price in this market segment.

Pricing

1.6 GL 5MT                                         R255 900

1.6 GL+ 5MT                                       R289 900

1.6 GL+ 5MT ALLGRIP                       R313 900

1.6 GLX 6AT                                        R322 900

1.6 GLX 5MT ALLGRIP                        R342 900

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