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Suzuki Vitara - Copyright Suzuki

Suzuki Vitara - a pioneer among SUVs

Just in time for its 30th birthday, the new compact SUV appeared with a modern design and enhanced safety equipment. The upgraded facelift model has been available in Germany since autumn 2018. Since its market launch in 1988, it has been a popular compact SUV that is being sent into the future with its features from then and some innovations. We took a close look at the 1,4-liter version with automatic and tested it extensively.

Exterior


The revised front section with a five-part radiator grille and vertical chrome accents is the new trademark of the Vitara. The striking lights with LED technology close off the rear.
Thanks to the privacy glass, passengers in the rear seats are protected from views from the outside, which is really very pleasant for families with children, because the darkened glass weakens the direct sunlight so that you do not have to attach additional sun visors.
We particularly liked the panoramic glass roof. As soon as you open it, you get a convertible feeling through and through. This equipment variant is available in the Comfort + variant for every engine and is really recommended.
From the outside, too, the Vitara cuts a fine figure with its new paintwork of Solar Yellow Pearl Metallic and underlines its sporty elegance. The bright yellow attracts attention in traffic and stands out on the streets. If you like it more subtle, you can fall back on Ice Grayish Blue Metallic, another new paint finish.

Interior


Clear lines make it easy to find your way around so that you have the feeling that you have never sat in another car. This is also reflected on the seats, because they are covered with SUZUKI-TEX microfiber and embroidered with a diamond pattern.
The Vitara is available in three equipment variants: Club, Comfort and Comfort +. In the latter, there is also a central armrest with a storage compartment, which is relatively difficult to reach with the forearm for smaller people with a height of approx. 165 cm.
The design concept is thoroughly thought out and the bright silver-colored accents on the dashboard, the doors and the center console are further innovations. They are very modern and chic.
Unfortunately, we have to cut back on legroom in the front and in the back. Because it is not possible for passengers taller than approx. 190 cm to sit comfortably and straight. As soon as there are passengers and / or children in the back seats, it gets really tight. Also with regard to the trunk, compromises have to be made, because the Vitara has a relatively small storage space for an SUV.

Extended assistance systems

With its new, progressively active safety systems, the Vitara was able to convince after just a few minutes, because these support the driver in everyday traffic and help to avoid accidents.
The Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) are helpful and new in a Suzuki model. These two assistants are available in the Comfort equipment variant with ALLGRIP and Comfort +. They make it possible to design the Vitara as clearly as possible, because even the usual small car driver has an excellent overview of the vehicle right from the start and can skilfully guide the 4,17 meter long SUV across the street.
With the BSM, a warning lamp lights up in the exterior mirror as soon as a vehicle is in the blind spot. If you set the turn signal anyway, the warning system reacts immediately with a beep.
The Vitara can also provide expert assistance when reversing out of a parking space, because with the RCTA it detects crossing vehicles and issues an alarm with warning lights and an additional warning tone.
Of course, the Vitara has other helpful hands in store, for example traffic sign recognition (TSR = Traffic Sign Recognition), which we were particularly interested in. A mono camera registers the traffic signs at the roadside and shows them on the multifunction display. Up to three traffic signs can be displayed at the same time and inform the driver of speed limits, overtaking bans and their lifting.
Additional assistance systems such as the lane departure warning system and drowsiness detection are included in the Comfort and Comfort + equipment variants.

Suzuki Vitara - Copyright Suzuki
Suzuki Vitara - Copyright Suzuki

Driving behavior and price

In order to adapt to the different road and ground conditions, the driver of the ALLGRIP variant can also choose between four modes - "Auto", "Sport", "Snow" and "Lock" (terrain). For us, “Auto” was always the right choice. Here only the front wheels are driven and as soon as there is a lack of grip, up to 50 percent of the power is passed on to the rear axle. Here, too, you can tell that Suzuki simply has the routine and long experience in all-wheel drive.
The Japanese five-door with its 140 PS (103 kW) is 10,2 seconds to 100 km / h and can reach a top speed of 200 km / h. With the 1,4-liter engine we tested, we also benefit from overtaking maneuvers, which it continuously performs very quietly. In our test period and with predominant use on short journeys and country roads, the Vitara had a consumption of 8,5 L per 100 km / h.
As already described above, the Vitara is available in three different equipment variants and starts with the Club variant. This starts at 18.650 euros. If you decide on our test vehicle, which had all the equipment highlights, the price is around 29.850 euros.

Summary

The Suzuki Vitara is a modern and compact SUV that scores as an everyday companion. With its new, progressive, active safety systems and dynamism, it can make a good appearance from sport to off-road use. Anyone looking for a chic companion for everyday use and not planning to travel with a lot of luggage will get their money's worth with the Vitara.

Addendum

Practical test spring 2019

Cover picture: Suzuki Vitara - Copyright Suzuki

More tests and background information in the current subscription issue at:

N. Hawthorn
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