The Suzuki Vitara is back, debuting a new look and smaller proportions at this year's Paris Motor Show. As the Grand Vitara was axed earlier this year, Suzuki's new five-door crossover is likely to go on sale in early 2015 for a starting price of around £12,500.
Suzuki's Renault Captur rival looks set to rejuvenate the Japanese brand in the UK, as the crossover market expands rapidly. It was shown as a concept at Frankfurt last year, and this production model carries over plenty of design cues, including a sharp crease along its flanks, wraparound headlights and a Range Rover Evoque-style nose.
Elegant LED headlamps also feature. The new Vitara attempts to be bold and refreshing with a range of 15 bright colour schemes, giving customers plenty of scope for personalisation inside and out.
So buyers can lift the largely dark interior with a splash of body-coloured metal trim across the dashboard and air vents. Some chrome can also be added around the gearlever and door trims, although there isn't much in the way of innovation inside, beyond the stylish analogue clock.
However, a 'rugged' package can be specified on the outside, adding front and rear skidplates and body side mouldings. This shows the Vitara's trump card – it should be capable off-road. Unlike most small crossovers, Suzuki has given it four-wheel drive.
The 'ALLGRIP' system provides four settings, including an automatic mode, which maintains front-wheel drive until it detects slip and reverts to four-wheel drive. But unlike some rival set-ups, Suzuki claims this four-wheel-drive system isn't detrimental to efficiency.
The 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel, which also delivers 320Nm of torque, only emits 4g/km more CO2 with the ALLGRIP system, at 111g/km with the six-speed manual transmission. Suzuki claims 123g/km emissions for the two-wheel-drive manual version of the 118bhp 1.6-litre petrol Vitara, and 127g/km for the automatic. When equipped with ALLGRIP, the petrol Vitaras emit 11g/km more. Fuel economy figures have yet to be released.
Safety equipment includes an 'RBS' system that can mitigate a low-speed crash by applying the brakes. All models have seven airbags, and the Vitara can even be specified with adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof and a smartphone connection.
The new Vitara, which is smaller than the outgoing Grand Vitara at a little over 4 metres long, features a 375-litre boot. That's competitive with the Captur, although the Renault's seats can slide forward to make it even bigger.
What do you think? Do you feel axing the Grand Vitara for this was a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.