The choice is yours and the Suzuki Vitara is a good one. Choice. Something you are blessed with when you have to buy a car, house, phone, clothes, and so on. I could go on and on. That’s not the complete picture though. Your choice is very much informed by what you can afford and what makes sense at a particular time. You see when shopping for an SUV, you are blessed with the choice to buy the amazing Audi SQ7 with a 4.0-litre TDI turbo-diesel V8 engine but your budget, unless you hold an address at Camps Bay, often than not, curtails your enthusiasm. Naturally you don’t give up, you think about exercising your God given choice and before you know it, the Audi SQ5 comes to mind. That is quickly followed by the Audi RS Q3 and so many other great choices. I won’t go to the Audi Q2, it still needs to tag itself as something that makes sense. Other than budget, your choice needs to make sense and that car doesn’t make sense. Marketers will tell you otherwise, they will even point to impressive sales figures but trust me it doesn’t. It’s too expensive to make any sense.
Back to your choice. By now we have unfortunately established that I am talking about your choice that your budget can accommodate which in this day and age, where almost everyone is obsessed with SUVs, more often than not, you’ll find yourself looking for something in the compact SUV segment. It’s not as depressing as you think because at the breakeven point between choice and budgets, you’ll find your choice hasn’t deserted you. You are really spoilt for choice in this segment, ranging from the Suzuki Vitara I tested to the Ford Ecosport, the Renault Duster and the class leading Nissan Qashqai. There are many others I haven’t mentioned. Recently the Chinese mounted an assault in the segment with the Haval H2 which is incredibly popular in China.
So, what if you’ve exercised your choice and ended up with the Suzuki Vitara? Naturally you’ll want affirmation that your choice is a good one. Whilst driving the Suzuki Vitara over the past weekend, it was nice getting a pat on the back from a chap who stopped me to tell me that new Suzukis nice and complements from my mommy friends who were so impressed with the Vitara’s looks that they insisted on a demonstration that involved opening the back doors and the boot to check the Vitara’s rear legroom and the boot because these things matter to them. What if the affirmation comes from other Suzuki Vitara drivers who believe in your choice so much so that they vote it Compact Family Car of the Year at the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards? Feeling like a champ already? Great, you’ve made a good choice.
I had the Suzuki Vitara on test this past long weekend and liked it not only because it came to me with a crown from its victory at the Consumer Awards but because it is a really impressive car. The first impression on me was the ride position. Suzuki has managed to give you a good ride position without compromising comfort. That matters. Others get it so hopelessly wrong that you never find that happy driving position or you end up bumping your head on the roof all the time. Ouch.
The Suzuki is spacious upfront as well as at the back. There all sorts of storage spaces in the cabin and boot is also good. You have the option of making the boot completely flat by keeping the hard cover on or removing that hard cover for a deeper boot space. This is a clever concealment place to keep items hidden from wondering eyes. The boot space can also be extended by folding the back seats down.
All Suzuki Vitaras are powered by a 1.6 naturally aspirated engine. The engine is good for 86 kW of power and 151 Nm of torque. The power is good enough to ferry passengers with luggage over long distances which means you have sufficient power for the school run and city driving. I had the automatic guise of the Vitara whilst the engine drives well, I struggled a bit overtaking. I found myself having to deploy the paddle shifts to gear down to get some power for the extra oomph. This minor irritation is easily mitigated by an impressive 6.4 l/100 km fuel consumption which I managed in my long drive from Gauteng to the Kingdom of the Zulus. This is not far off from Suzuki’s claimed 6.0 l/100 km.
The Vitara comes in 6 trims, from the bottom of the range GL, all the way up to the GLX manual with ALL GRIP. The ALlGRIP function gives the car extra traction for an improved off-road driving experience. The Vitara is not an off-roader but feels at home driving on the odd dirt road even without the ALLGRIP feature.
The GLX automatic I had on test came with standard features such as daytime running lights, adaptive xenon lights, paddle shifts, keyless push start system, PDC (front and back), automatic wipers and a large panoramic sunroof just to name a few. Even with these standard features, the GLX auto comes in at a decent R337,900.
These are the prices of the complete Suzuki Vitara range (which are correct as at 19 June 2017):
– GL (5MT): R267,900
– GL+ (5MT, 2WD): R303,900
– GL+ (6AT): R321,900
– GL+ (5MT, ALLGRIP): R327,900
– GLX (6AT, 2WD): R337,900
– GLX (5MT, ALLGRIP): R356,900
The above prices include a three year 100,000 km warranty, a four year/60,000 km services and a three year roadside assistance package.
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