Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of the Suzuki brand and there’s not been a better time to purchase a new Vitara than now.
It’s fair to suggest that during this current health pandemic you may not be able to go into your local Suzuki dealer and sign on the dotted line. However, now is the perfect time to carry out all the research you may need before lockdown constraints start to ease, and you can then avail of a VAT-free Vitara.
Equivalent to a saving of £3,431 the entry level SZ-T is now available from £17,418 and for this you receive 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking camera, Bluetooth connectivity, rear privacy glass, satellite navigation, LED daytime running lights, DAB radio, smartphone link display audio, and cruise control with speed limiter.
A better saving is available on the SZ5 which is available from £19,502 after a deduction of £3,847 with this model including dual sensor brake support, panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, Lane departure warning, suede upholstery, electric folding door mirrors, polished alloy wheels, keyless entry with start button, and adaptive cruise control.
The model pictured isn’t a true representation of the current Vitara range, more so mechanically than anything else, as since driving the model tested, its four-wheel drive ‘allgrip’ system has been binned.
So too has a choice of engines. Leaving you with just two trim levels, a single petrol engine choice, and a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Available as front-wheel-drive only, it sits perfectly within the crossover market as let’s be honest, I would say 95% of buyers have no want, nor need, for an all-wheel-drive system.
As such, what’s available now carries less weight, resulting in better efficiency. I ought to point out that a 6-speed automatic ‘box is available on the SZ-T model.
With not having had a diesel engine available for a few years now, the 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine is more than adequate. Producing 140ps, a maximum speed of 124mph is achievable and with a 0-62mph dash in 9.5 seconds, it’s not exactly slow.
The 1.4 ‘Boosterjet’ should see a combined return of something close to 40mpg and with just over 7-inches of ground clearance, the Vitara will easily cope with relatively well-maintained gravel mountain roads for those gaining access to mountain bike or canoe trails.
It’s also perfectly suited for mounting and dismounting the pavement outside of a disgruntled homeowner close to your child’s school during the daily drop-off and pick-up.
Although not perfect for a very young family, one example of which is that a double buggy won’t fit in the boot, Suzuki’s Vitara is ideal for a family with kids of primary age and upwards.
Suzuki interiors have always been incredibly hard-wearing. Typically Japanese, yet very off-putting for many buyers. Thankfully, the modern Suzuki cabin has been treated to some soft-touch materials but sadly, they’re on top of and around the dash, where you never touch.
For me, Suzuki should have concentrated on the door cards and control panels as these are areas you actually touch on a daily basis and, are currently still quite hard wearing.
The suede interior as found on the SZ5 is not only comfortable especially with the front central armrest, but looks good too. Two rear ISOFIX points keep those with a very young family as safe as possible, with compatible child’s seats.
You may think that the sea of black and grey around the interior would make it a claustrophobic place, but this is not the case on the highest spec Vitara thanks to the panoramic sunroof.
Cockpit displays, controls, and infotainment system are kept functionally basic. Without any complicated frills, the likes of which from many other manufacturers I find very distracting and confusing, this Suzuki just gets things done.
With five colours available (many of which cost a few hundred extra), there are six options should you wish for the roof and window pillars to be black, contrasting against but different colour of body.
Engine wise, the sole offering is more than ideal. As someone who is a fan of forced induction, the power and it’s delivery within this type of vehicle is absolutely spot-on.
The gear change on the 6-speed manual gearbox may feel somewhat cheap and this is reflected in the Vitara pricing, but, it gets the job done without any fuss.
Suzuki offer a 3-year, 60,000 mile warranty (whichever comes first), as well as a 12-year anti-perforation warranty, as standard.
Make : Suzuki
Model : Vitara
Trim : SZ5
Engine : 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol
Gearbox : 6-speed manual
Cost : £19,502
Words & Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY
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