CarsMotormouth Reviews

New Suzuki is a perfect Vit’

The Suzuki Grand Vitara
The Suzuki Grand Vitara

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 DDis ALLGRIP

It’s not too often I get to do the school run, as my little fella is pulling the duvet back and rubbing his eyes as I close the front door. I don’t get home until he’s running about in his superman jammies, meaning I’ve missed the best part of the day.

Doing the school run is a simple pleasure I miss out on, and it’s not to look at the yummy mummies either. But the school run has changed over the years. The streets surrounding the school would be packed with big oversized SUVs that were more a status symbol, than actually a tool that is being used to its capacity.

They never ventured further than supermarket car parks, or on the rare occasion, a little sand at the beach. So the gas-guzzling SUV had to be ditched when the financial meltdown meant downsizing became a reality. It was hard for the school-run brigade to give up their luxuries, but a new breed of car meant they could retain some of their credibility. The crossover saved the school run and it is now one of the most popular cars in Ireland.

Nissan’s Qashqai leads the pack and many manufacturers have joined in recent years to try and get in on the action. But when you think of small 4x4-type vehicles, you have to think of Suzuki. They have been making small off-road cars for years now and, last year, the new SX4 S-Cross joined the crossover gang. It offered everything you need in a crossover, with a much smaller price.

Better again, is the latest Suzuki to hit showrooms, the all-new Vitara. The popular SUV has been in the pipeline for more than five years now, but this one is definitely worth the wait. The Vitara of old was a real workhorse that was capable of challenging terrain, and the XL model was a no-nonsense machine that was equally capable off, than on-road.

This new model is much more polished and will really appeal to the fashion-conscious family who like the idea of driving an SUV. It’s actually not that much bigger than many crossovers, but it does give the impression of something with a much bigger footfall.

Some may mistake this for another crossover, but this is a compact SUV, and going for the range-topping Allgrip model gives you the ability to go off-road with Suzuki’s four-wheel drive system.

You’d think you’d be looking at little change out of €35k, given a top-of-the-range Nissan Qashqai with four-wheel drive will set you back €35,745 – but you’d be wrong. With all the bells and whistles, Suzuki’s Vitara is only €27,995, and prices start from only €19,995. That’s amazing value.

The styling is very much in keeping with the stylish crossovers and compared to the older model, this new Vitara is catwalk material. The interior has improved light years and has one of the best touch screens.

The Vitara comes with either a 1.6 petrol or diesel, and my test car was the 118bhp 1.6 DDis Allgrip model, and I have to say, it drove very well. It never felt underpowered and was actually very capable in the corners. I didn’t get a chance to get the tyres muddy, but having experience of Suzuki’s off-road before, they can more than hold their own.

The Suzuki Vitara would leave most 4x4 crossovers in its shade when taken off smooth tarmac and, even though cars like the Qashqai and Hyundai ix35 feel more refined, the Suzuki beats both on value. Taking into account the initial outlay, and low running costs, the new Vitara is a bit of a no brainer. If I was looking for a crossover/SUV for around €25k, then I know where my money would be going.


Tech Spec:

Model: Suzuki Vitara 1.6 DDis Allgrip

Price: From €19,995 (test car €27,995)

Road tax: Band A4 €200

0-100kph: 12.4 seconds.

Max speed: 180kph.

Fuel economy: 4.2l/100km (claimed)

Boot space: 375 litres


Paul Keown