Suzuki Vitara test drive | carsguide.com.au

20 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Suzuki Vitara test drive | carsguide.com.au

Suzuki Vitara

test drive

The all new Suzuki Vitara may not turn in, corner or hang on as deftly as a Suzuki Swift but the Vitara does not disgrace itself in the traffic. Photo Gallery

The new Vitara is a smallish four-seater.

For $25,000 the Vitara makes an inexpensive 4WD for a daily commuter.

Easy to park, it steers, rides and handles quite well.

The three-door Suzuki Vitara offers a lot in a little package.

Now a three-door Suzuki Vitara is not for all. It is a smallish four-seater with limited luggage space if all seats are used.

It may not be the first choice for covering long distances week in, week out.

But at $25,000 the short Vitara is worth a long look as a daily commuter _ inexpensive to run, easy to park and still capable of a beach or bush weekend.

For the Suzuki has a long and honourable four-wheel drive pedigree. It is built by a company with a long and honourable history in bolting together reliable machines.

Current Vitaras are quite handsome vehicles. There are hints of a family heritage dating back to Suzuki’s first Vitara in 1988.

So the three-door is familiar yet manages to look fresh (even while this latest crop of Vitaras are largely style and mechanical updates to the 2005 versions).

It is a no-nonsense, practical shape with just a polite hint of muscle that won’t scare the grannies. It is a sensible style _ if a little sexier than the five-door version _ that’s practical in the scrub, tidy enough for town.

That line follows through to the cabin with decent ergonomics, sound system and air conditioning; instruments and controls are easily followed and there’s good room for two up front, reasonable room (and access) for two behind.

With the back seats up there’s not a deal of space left in this short wheelbase machine, plenty for a day at the beach but maybe not for a week away for four. It is a compact compact.

These rear seats do fold up and toward the front with ease, leaving a deal of cargo space. The spare wheel sits pretty on the tailgate.

While there are some minor style change, including a flash new grille, it is the addition of a 2.4 litre, four-cylinder engine to the range that makes the biggest impact with the latest three-door Vitara.

Allied to the five-speed manual gearbox, the 122kW motor is much handier than previous offerings. It is helped by variable valve timing and forever keen to have a go.

All the while fuel consumption is averaging out around 9 litres per 100km. This will climb a little with sustained hard slogging _ up a soft sand track or through a boggy bush byway _ but this engine is generally quite thrifty.

And the Vitara package is quite handy when road turns to track. The transmission runs all day in four-wheel drive but there is a four-high lock with centre differential locked, then a four-low range lock for more serious work.

Suzukis are always willing little off-roaders, made handier here with the three-doors smaller body, shorter wheelbase plus better ramp-over and departure angles compared with bigger wagons.

It is a nimble machine, whether dodging boulders or bollards; the three-doors advantage runs from tight parking spots to narrow bush tracks.

It steers, rides and handles quite well. It is quieter than previous Vitaras, a little less edgy in the ride quality although for regular long trips the longer wheelbase five-door version would be a more comfortable option.

It may not turn in, corner or hang on as deftly as a Suzuki Swift but the Vitara does not disgrace itself in the traffic. It is, with that 2.4 litre engine stirred, quite a decent point-to-point vehicle on a back road.

So as a weekday run-around and weekend adventurer (for two) it is hard to ignore the three-door Vitara at this price. It is a value proposition with a good mix of on-road cred and off-road ability.

SUZUKI GRAND VITARA

Price: from $25,990

Engine: 2.4-litre, 4-cylinder

Power: 122kW @ 6000rpm

Torque: 225Nm @ 4000rpm

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