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In-depth reviews

Suzuki Vitara review - Reliability and Safety

The Vitara boasts excellent crash test results, but Suzuki owners seem to have a downer on build quality

Suzuki has traditionally boasted a strong reputation for building durable cars, but a 15st-place finish in our Driver Power 2017 satisfaction survey suggests that the brand is currently performing in the middle of the pack. That being said, Suzuki finished above Honda, Audi and Mercedes.

Breaking that result down shows the Vitara earned an impressive 6th place in the reliability category, beating key rivals such as the Ford Kuga and Renault Captur.

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Still, the Vitara uses many parts from other models in the line-up, and while the 1.0 Boosterjet is a new engine to the SUzuki range, it shouldn't be a liability when it comes to reliability.

There’s better news when it comes to safety, because the Vitara was awarded a five-star rating in Euro NCAP’s 2015 tests, which are tougher than ever. The independent crash tester rated Adult Occupant safety at 89 per cent and Child Occupant safety at 85 per cent, while Pedestrian Safety was scored at an impressive 76 per cent – a performance that’s a world away from the bull-bar-equipped Vitaras of the 1990s.

The rival Nissan Juke was tested back in 2011, also earning five stars. However its ratings were slightly worse, with an 87 per cent for Adults, 81 per cent for children, and only 41 per cent for Pedestrians. The Dacia Duster earned three stars in the same year, with scores of 74, 78 and 28 per cent.

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All versions of the Suzuki Vitara get seven airbags, stability control and tyre-pressure monitoring, while adaptive cruise control and autonomous braking are standard on SZ5 cars – although it’s not even optional on other models. The collision-warning system has two settings: near and far. In both modes, the buzzer is overly sensitive, going off before you’ve even lifted off the accelerator safely. While it's a good safety feature, it can be annoying on congested city streets.

Warranty

The standard Suzuki three-year/60,000-mile warranty applies to the Vitara, and it’s the same cover as Nissan offers on the Juke. Look to the Korean makers Hyundai and Kia for much better warranty value, with five and seven-year warranty cover respectively.

Servicing

Suzuki engineers seem to have missed the memo about the trend toward extending service intervals across the industry. They want your Vitara to have a check-up once a year – or every 9,000 miles, which is relatively short these days.

Nissan Juke intervals are 12,500 miles, but the Renault Capture’s schedule is for servicing at two years or 18,000 miles.

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