By: Craig Proctor-Parker (www.accidentspecialist.co.za)
Suzuki as a brand has always held its stature as a quality product, this latest version of the Vitara maintains this standard well.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the vehicle, is the immediate comfort and ease with which you can step in and driver, a trait of the Suzuki brand. The important day to day operational items such as the seating position, the steering wheel and its feel, indicators, gear lever and its reassuring clean gear selections and excellent feel clutch in this manual model, along with other general functions are reliable and reassuring comfort for a vehicle that is clearly target as a vehicle that will be well used in day to day life by its owner.
The image is just spot on, not too aggressive, and not too soft, however still holding the distinctive Suzuki traits just as the brand calls it “sporty and chic”. The two tone Red and Black version driven gives a great image, with other two tone and more subdued colours allowing an alternate or more conservative perspective for owners.
With all the necessary creature comforts such a sound system, blue tooth, steering controls, electric windows, central locking, aircon, power ports, including USB and sufficient gadget and bottle storage, the cabin is very comfortable and capable. An important feature bound to be made use of extensively is the easy fold down rear seating, allowing massive space for loading of the day to day sporting, household or business paraphernalia.
The safety features are the usual list of items associated with modern vehicles and synonymous with Suzuki quality, including ABS EBD and others, likewise numerous airbags, seven on all models, and other safety features. Most notably that the vehicle attained a 5-Star EuroNCAP rating, an important consideration when purchasing a vehicle for daily multipurpose use in our driving conditions.
The extensive list of extra paraphernalia available to customize your purchase are impressive, notably such interesting accessories as front and rear skid plates, fender extensions, door handle covers, a range of wheels and colours, Suzuki specific valve caps, ambient floor lights, colour coded internal trims, armrests, cargo net and tray and many other.
The suspension and drivetrain are extremely forgiving and comfortable, but stable enough for all use. The 16inch mags and tyres give an excellent feel and allow for that forgiving occasional pothole and rougher road travelled and are a better option than the more expensive 17inch ones available. Although it is unlikely on this version that any serious off-roading will take place, as a front wheel drive only; on all models the entry and exit angles and general ground clearance are good and should see off most difficult situations.
The injected four cylinder sixteen valve 1.6 petrol, 5 speed manual version driven returned a consistent 6-6.5liters per 100kms, not changing my driving style, this was a combined cycle of both town and open road driving over more than a week, an excellent feather in the vehicles cap in today`s costly fuel times. Although not by an means a powerful motor, at around 86kw, it is more than capable, having driven with four adults and baggage the motor held its own very easily, a little extra prod on the loud pedal and away.
The availability of a four wheel drive version, denoted as the “All Grip”, with various drive settings and a typically greater range or standard kit would no doubt make for a very capable vehicle as Suzuki has consistently proven with their vehicles.
There is no doubt that in a tough economic climate, those still looking for an excellent quality, very practical and reliable every day sport utility, with excellent fuel economy at the price of R289 900 with the usual warrantees and servicing, will definitely have this on their very short list of considerations.