By Khulekani Dumisa
SUVs are taking over and all manufactures are trying to find means and ways to make them more exciting. The formula is to add more standard specification, sporty cosmetic features or a new turbo engine. Suzuki have opted to go for the latter. At the heart of the exciting new Vitara model is Suzuki’s turbocharged 1.4 litre Boosterjet engine, which lands at the same time, as the new Suzuki Swift Sport.
Engine and transmission
In the Vitara, the engine delivers 103 kW at 5 500 rpm and a healthy 220 Nm from 1 500 to 4 000 rpm. By comparison, the Vitara 1.6 litre GLX delivers 86 kW at 6 000 rpm and 156 Nm at a peak of 4 400 rpm. Power is delivered to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic gearbox, with the latter offering manual shifting via steering-mounted paddles.
Suzuki’s Boosterjet-engine technology is said to combine a range of engineering advancements to offer an engine with a very strong and linear torque delivery and low fuel consumption. Indeed, the engine delivers 220 Nm for a full 2 500 revolutions without wavering and its tested fuel consumption in a combined cycle is 5.8 litres for the manual model and 5.9 for the auto. We drove the Vitara on a 60 kilometer stretch that was meant to include some highway driving and a small section of gravel road. Unfortunately we were met with a roadblock on the highway which meant that we were caught up in stop-start traffic for nearly 15 minutes. This mimicked city pick hour traffic. Whilst we had been achieving the claimed 5,8l/100km prior to the roadblock, we were still able to maintain an overall average of 6,2l/100km notwithstanding being in very slow stop-start traffic.
In Vitara, the power is delivered to the front wheels and it should be noted that although the automatic gearbox is similar to the unit available on the normally aspirated 1.6 litre models (with steering-mounted paddles), the manual gearbox adds a sixth gear and is counterweighed for a more positive and sportier shifting feel.
Interior and specification
The Vitara Turbo offers the same specification and equipment levels of the range-topping GLX grade. These include 17” alloy wheels and the choice of five solid colours and seven dual-tone combinations, where the body colour is contrasted by the choice of a black or white roof, depending on the colour chosen.
The Vitara Turbo is also equipped with LED daytime running lights and, in this configuration, LED head- and brake lights, with a set of silver roof rails and chrome detailing in the front grille and under the fog lamps.
The long list of luxuries includes, steering mounted controls for the audio and cruise control systems (which also feature speed limiting functionality), park distance control both front and rear, automatic climate control, a 4.2” multi-information full colour display in the instrument binnacle and electric windows and mirrors.
Suzuki has also added its 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone connectivity and reverse camera to the Turbo, which offers complete mobile phone integration with in-build Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink systems. The system includes an SD slot, a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity for hands free dialing and voice control for many of the infotainment features.
The Vitara Turbo further offers a reverse camera with image display on the system, a unique leather and suede upholstery combination and automatic LED headlamps, with LED daytime running lights, and automatic rain-sensing wipers.
All models in the Suzuki Vitara range are fitted with a comprehensive list of active and passive safety features. Active safety features include electronic stability control (ESP) with traction control, ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and a brake-assist system (BAS). Passive safety features include seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain and driver knee airbags) on all models, as well as Suzuki’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) body-design, which features side and cross-body impact zones, ultra-high strength steel and additional bracing for a body that is both highly rigid and impact absorbing.
Pricing for the Suzuki Vitara Turbo is as follows:
1.4 Turbo GLX 6-speed manual – R378,900
1.4 Turbo GLX 6-speed auto – R397,900
The Suzuki Vitara Turbo is sold with Suzuki’s promotional 200,000 km / 5-year mechanical warranty and a full 6-year/unlimited kilometre warranty against corrosion. Suzuki has also added a 24/7 roadside assistance plan for the same period as the warranty and a comprehensive 4-year/60,000 km service plan.
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