Suzuki’s Vitara has gradually evolved from a ridgey-didge fourbie back a couple of decades to where it is now…. an urban SUV with “soft road” 4WD capabilities on one variant.
Vitara is offered in front wheel drive and “AllGrip” equipped all-wheel drive providing a lockable 4WD function and on demand all-wheel drive.
It delivers the best of both worlds provided you don’t expect Vitara to go rock hopping, mud plugging and bush bashing.
The current shape Vitara burst onto the scene a few years ago delivering a tempting value proposition that won over many buyers.
Keen to keep sales rolling, Suzuki has just introduced a revised Vitara with more advanced driver assist kit, a new grille, additional features, new wheels, new tail lights and other sundry changes.
Underneath it’s the same as before with either a 1.6-litre petrol four or a 1.4-litre turbo petrol four driving through either a five speed manual or six speed auto transmission on the 1.6, auto only on the turbo 1.4.
Hungary-built Vitara has a relatively cute appearance with a semi-tough front, toothy grille and clamshell bonnet complementing sharp style lines about the body. The roof tapers towards the rear culminating in a neat tailgate with large tail lights, this time in all red with trick amber indicator lights shining through.
There’s nothing special about Vitara’s styling except to say it’s inoffensive and won’t ruffle any feathers.
There’s a family Suzuki look to many body parts as you’d expect and the wheels are pretty good too for standard alloys.
Suzuki make the car stand out with funky two tone paint (a black roof) that costs an extra 500 bucks but should be free.
It’s a boxy little SUV that is practical and easy to handle in tight situations particularly city parking. The footprint is compact adding to Vitara’s city appeal.
The upright two box design has limitations but creates a decent size passenger and load compartment.
Inside is cleverly configured to showcase current technology and not cost a bomb to make or buy.
Naturally, there’s a large centre control screen with app driven functions, sometimes difficult to access, and this time around they added an LCD meter cluster in the middle of the instrument pod.
There’s a splash of faux-metal fascia to lift the grey, plastic tone inside and a simple layout making everything easy to find and operate.
The chunky wheel provides multiple functions and the seats are firm but comfortable for four, five at a pinch.
Plenty of room for luggage is provided and the cabin is dotted with storage spaces.
Upholstery in the AllGrip is leather with a patterned suede highlight that appears robust and serviceable.
There’s plenty to get excited about for the price:
- Hardwired satnav
- 4 drive modes
- Climate control
- Soft feel dash
- Smartphone streaming with voice control
- 17-inch alloys
- Reverse camera
- Large sunroof
- Front sliding arm rest
- Hill descent control
Drive and Engine
Plenty of power (102kW/220Nm) comes from the diminutive 1.4-litre, turbo petrol engine thanks to its direct fuel injection system and close coupled turbocharger.
It feels like a good 2.0-litre on the road but consumes about the same amount of fuel as a 1.6.
The six speed auto makes the most of the engine’s impressive 220Nm of torque that comes in at low engine revs.
Paddle shift offers a measure of sportiness to Vitara’s drive feel.
I never found engine performance wanting in the 800-odd kilometres I drove the Vitara AllGrip.
Speaking of which, the AllGrip system prevents any tendency for untoward front wheel spin when you give the car a boot along.
It’s a quiet engine too, virtually imperceptible at highway speeds.
The ride and handling package seems a good compromise offering decent bump isolation and firmish ride characteristic. The steering is a touch too light… that most buyers will like.
No sports car, the Vitara’s dynamics deliver respectable overall dynamics given the multiple applications it’s designed for.
I saw 7.0/100km fuel consumption in general driving without really trying. It does need 95 though…..
Five stars all the way, augmented on this new model with additional safety features including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, weaving alert, blind spot monitor, forward detection system, adaptive cruise control , rear cross traffic alert and the reverse cameras.
Vitara is really well equipped in safety terms for a vehicle at this price point.
One proviso – I found some of the advanced driver assist stuff over enthusiastic as it intervened too early in some circumstances. Bloody annoying sometimes.
- Excellent value
- Generous equipment level
- Impressive performance and economy
Not So Good Bits
- Pessimistic driver assist features
- Needs 95 petrol
- Some internal space limitations
I’d own one of these little puppies as it’s sensible, goes really well, has plenty of features including extensive advanced safety kit and looks OK into the bargain. Then there’s the price – difficult to beat when you compare apples with apples especially if you don’t want to drive something out of a Thai factory.
Also Look at
Facts and Figures: 2019 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip
- Engine: 1.4L four-cylinder turbo petrol producing 102kW/220Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Warranty: 5 years/ 140,000km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Hungary
- Price: from $33,990*
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.