I have previously reviewed the Suzuki Vitara Turbo (2WD) and came away very impressed with its capabilities and standard features. This past week I have been driving what is essentially the same car with a slightly larger engine that also lacks a small turbo-charger, as well as some bells and whistles along the way.
What struck me was for the budget conscious, the base model Vitara is still a very well equipped small SUV that boasts all the important features and eschews any flimflam. With a saving of nearly $6,000 over the 2WD Turbo, this is a great car for those looking for the essentials in smart, safe and reliable packaging, and nothing more.
|Life Style||Life Stage||Safety||On The Road|
First time new car owners
There is something to be said for the way a car ‘feels’. Some say it’s the way the car behaves as it exits a corner. For others, it’s the way the seats hold you in all the right places, like tailor made clothes. For me, it the steering wheel.
We have five senses for a reason and the way a car’s steering wheel feels in your hands speaks volumes for the care and attention that the designers and engineers took on the interior. The entire Vitara range has a really nice, relatively thick leather-bound steering wheel that allows clear communication with your brain. That’s how a car should feel.
The rest of the interior on the Suzuki Vitara is very nice place to me. Visibility is extremely good in all directions with the well-made cloth seats supporting the driver and passenger very well with ample height and leg-room adjustment available. The rear seats aren’t quite as comfortable however, copious head and shoulder room make up for this.
Darkened glass on the rear windows convey a sense of privacy and on hot days make the air-conditioning far more effective. I’m amazed more manufacturers don’t do it. For those of you with young kids, multiple ISOFIX points for your infant car-seats are a very welcome inclusion across the range.
The boot has a great double storage feature that means shopping bags and umbrellas are kept safe and prevented from rolling about as you drive.
Apple Car Play is standard on this model with a more than adequate 4 speaker sound system with steering wheel controls capping of a well appointed interior.
I really like the colour combination that Suzuki uses on the Vitara with a gloss black roof and pillars on six of the eight colour combinations. My vehicle was the Galactic Grey metallic which apart from mixture of rain and dust in Sydney ruining it on the third day, looks really good in almost any light.
Apart from the subtle badge changes, there is very little on the outside to distinguish this model from the Turbo.
On The Road
This is where the differences (which ever way you consider them) are most evident. The slightly larger engine in the base model Vitara is full of promise and for the most part delivers that. It does have a tendency to over-rev when ascending hills as the power is down about 18% and the weight is exactly the same as the Turbo model.
The road-presence is very akin to the Turbo and the aforementioned steering wheel gives very good ‘feel’. It’s also on the road that you become aware of a few of the features that are forgone in the base model. Parking sensors, auto wipers, and dusk sensing head-lights are a few to mention but that really is about it and begs the question – if you’re just looking to potter about town in something that’s super safe (6 airbags, ESC with Brake Force Distribution, and Brake Assistance) then this is a very hard car to go past for the money.
The six-speed gearbox with shift paddles behind the steering wheel ensure that you can adopt some ‘sportiness’ when the moment catches you. Discs all around mean they feel through the brake pedal is very positive and the ABS ‘pedal-bounce’ is not alarming in the Vitara as it can be in other cars.
Fuel consumption is a little higher with the 1.6 litre engine and the same bulk to carry. We saw 8.6 L/100km for the week we had the car which was 0.6 L/100km worse than the Turbo.
For & Against
✅ The very powerful air-conditioning was joyous on some very hot days!
✅ Front seat comfort and driver visibility.
✅ Value for money for a small SUV that still has some handy features such as Apple Car Play and a host of standard safety features.
❌ Engine lacking power for the weight, especially on hills.
❌ Road noise above 100km/h
Who Will Love This Car?
This is a perfect car for the budget conscious small family – who is looking to be austere rather than completely barren. You really have to look hard to see the differences to the Turbo and if you can turn on your own wipers and lights then you’ve saved a chunk of change to put towards something more important.
This is a very well appointed small SUV for the price. The 5 Year Warranty is another very attractive feature.
In the Galactic Grey Metallic with the Cosmic Black Roof the Suzuki Vitara will set you back $25,785 drive-away.