The Suzuki Vitara is back, debuting a new look, smaller proportions and a raft of personalisation options. With the Grand Vitara being axed last year, the new Vitara assumes the top SUV positioning in the Suzuki range. The new five-door crossover goes on sale in April with prices ranging from £13,999 to £21,299.
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 in 2013, 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.
The range kicks off at £13,999 for the two-wheel drive, 118bhp 1.6-litre petrol-powered SZ4 which comes with seven airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, DAB Radio with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control with speed limiter, auto air conditioning, front and rear electric windows and projector headlamps.
SZ-T starts at £15,499 and adds 17-inch silver painted alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, Smartphone link audio and navigation system, while SZ5 at £17,999 adds LED Projector headlights, 17-inch polished alloy wheels, suede seat fabric, keyless entry with start button, adaptive cruise control, Radar Brake Support and a panaoramic sunroof.
The 1.6 petrol can also be selected with Suzuki’s ALLGRIP four-wheel drive system. Available on just the SZ5, it comes at a £1,800 premium over the two-wheel drive 1.6 SZ5.
Along with the 1.6 petrol, there’s also a 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel available on SZ-T (£16,999) and SZ5 (£19,499) models. And just like the petrol, the four-wheel drive SZ5 ALLGRIP costs £1,800 more than the 2WD 1.6 diesel SZ5.
Suzuki offers a range of 10 bright colour schemes - just one part of a broad range of personalisation options. Buyers can opt for two-tone colour variations on the outside and a range of interior colour schemes. A 'Rugged Package' (costing £500 on SZ-T and SZ5 models) can be specified on the outside, adding front and rear skidplates and body side mouldings. There's also an 'Urban Package' for £500 which adds chrome-plated fog lamp bezels and a rear spoiler.
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 four 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.
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