While Suzuki has always been known for having proper four wheel drive vehicles and while this Vitara lacks all-wheel drive, it certainly still has off road DNA.
You see, the Vitara has now been repositioned into the cross over segment ,where it will be exposed to a brand new market, which was previously overlooked by Suzuki, by only offering the SX4. Now with the new Vitara (which is actually using Sx4 running gear) it offers the average growing family, good value and a lot of interior space.
Now the 2 wheel drive version is probably just like any other car. However, we are talking about Suzuki and like I previously mentioned offer good, capable vehicles with an emphasis on solid value for money.
At the heart of the Vitara is their trusty old 1.6l which has done its rounds in a few models already. As they usually say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and it actually suits the Vitara very well. It makes a healthy 85kw, but with the Vitara’s size, you need to keep the revs up a little to keep her going. Once up to speed, the Vitara is happy to cruise all day long. Fuel consumption is relatively impressive with an average of about 6.8l 100km, that we averaged over about 700km. Interestingly, though, the 47l tank was nowhere near empty.
On the interior side of things, it’s plasticky, but that is to be expected and considering this vehicle will actually be used off the black stuff, it’s preferable. There is no pretentions here and this is really something you wouldn’t mind getting dirty. The scruff proof plastics are proof of that, so load up your mountain bikes, hook the trailer and go off to the bush.
The Vitara features single zone climate control a radio/cd player with USB and Bluetooth. Cruise control with a speed limiter is also standard on this GL+ model. The cabin size is impressive and I fit my 1.9m frame in the car very comfortably. The rear seats and boot space is also pretty ample. The steering wheel is adjustable for height and reach.
Driving dynamics are pure Soft-roader-like and will offer good road manners on even the worst roads you can find. The 185mm ground clearance is adequate for most “twee spoor” roads. The tires are 215/60/16s Continentals and even being very much a street tire, coped fine with all the dirt I could throw at it. One thing that did bug me a little was the lack of a full size spare, especially if you plan to venture out in the bush. You don’t really want to be stuck on a nasty gravel with only a space saver.
While the Suzuki offers good value for money, especially at a starter point of R249 900 (R282 900 tested) The Vitara does not feel as refined as its competitors. There is a fair bit of interior noise while driving and while the 1.6 has enough poke, it’s typically Japanese and likes to be driven like a hot hatch . But every downside has its upside and its fuel consumption, versatility and space. There are very few crossovers available at this price point that can match the Vitara’s value for money.
For more info, check out http://www.suzukiauto.co.za/models/vitara/