2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2WD Review
Initial Impression7
Target Market8
Practicality9
Drivability7
Liveability10
Cost9
What we liked
  • RWD configuration
  • Towing capacity
  • Fun to use everyday
What we didn't like
  • Interior cabin refinement
8.3Overall Score

When the words 2WD and SUV are put together they don’t seem to sound right. However it seems to be the recent trend for compact SUV makers. Suzuki has not wanted to miss out on this opportunity.

Grand Vitara & Jayco Discovery Pop-Top Review

The Grand Vitara for Suzuki has been a great success story, but when I read the invitation to review the 2WD variant I was unsure, especially as Suzuki had arranged a Jayco Discovery Pop-Top Van with it. From this point on, we knew that it was going to be a unique review and one that would test the Grand Vitara. If you like remote control cars then check RC Rank – best autos.

The 2012 Grand Vitara 2WD review vehicle came in the Urban trim level and follows with the rest of the family line up including cruise control, Bluetooth, electric windows, remote locking, reverse camera, six airbags and electronic stability control as standard. Pricing starts for the 2WD from $26,990.

Especially with the 2WD Grand Vitara being rear wheel drive compared to the competition being front wheel drive, the question though for us was, could this petrol 2WD compact SUV tow a proper caravan comfortably?

Initial Impression

Whenever I spot a current Grand Vitara on the road, it’s hard for me not to like it. It isn’t too feminine and it doesn’t try to be a hard core off roader like a Toyota Landcruiser. The urban doesn’t come with alloy wheels as standard; you’ll have to make do with steel wheels. Luckily they didn’t look that bad at all.

The brown metallic which our test vehicle was optioned, after seeing it in person, immediately became my first choice if I was to be purchasing one. It looks great, even when a layer of thick dirt covered it.

Grand Vitara & Jayco Discovery Pop-Top Review

When stepping inside you will find everything which you expect from a car at this price point plus a few little extras such as a full leather steering wheel. The seats are cloth, there isn’t Navigation standard (it is available as an option though) and there is a lot more space than what the outside leads you to believe.

So it’s nothing amazing by any margin, but not forgetting what this compact SUV is about it certainly hadn’t let me down. Especially with the Jayco Discovery Poptop hooked up – it didn’t look out of place.

Target Market

Who was the Grand Vitara 2WD designed for? Who did they expect to purchase it? I’m actually pretty sure Suzuki has been surprised at who is buying it versus who it was intended for. Being an early 20’s Male, I expected this to be perfect for my age group, but when looking at who is driving them on the road you’ll see teenagers all the way through to the older-more distinguished-drivers.

With the addition of the towbar you have the perfect vehicle for towing the jet-ski to the coast or adding a caravan, like we did, to the back and having a completely different style of adventure.

Grand Vitara & Jayco Discovery Pop-Top Review

The Grand Vitara does an excellent job at doing whatever you throw at it and not making you feel out of place on the road. No matter what demographic you fit into.

Practicality

Practicality when it comes to the Grand Vitara is excellent. As already mentioned the size inside of the cabin and boot space is surprising for a compact vehicle. There was no trouble in fitting four large guys and gear in the boot for a weekend away.

Grand Vitara & Jayco Discovery Pop-Top Review

The 2.4litre 4 cylinder petrol engine paired with the manual transmission had no troubles with highway or city driving. The clutch however did take a little while getting used to, as the catch on point was very high to what I’ve driven before (and confirmed by others who had a chance to drive it).

There were not many situations which we felt that the Grand Vitara was out of its depth. This included some very much so unsealed roads.

The Jayco caravan really blew us away. It could be because it was my first experience with a caravan, but I did not expect to find so many luxuries. There was everything from a gas/electric stove, microwave, aircon, gas/electric/battery fridge, plenty of storage and super comfortable beds.

Drivability

When getting out onto the road we felt comfortable and the driving position was good. It was high enough to get some benefit out of the higher ground clearance, but not too tall that you actually had to worry about making it into car parks with height restrictions.

The Grand Vitara isn’t the fastest thing on the road, but had enough grunt when it mattered. Especially with a 1 Tonne Jayco on the back, we were able to overtake on the highway with ease and no concern of losing control.

Grand Vitara & Jayco Discovery Pop-Top Review

Towing capacity of the Suzuki is 750kgs unbraked and 1850kgs braked, which is good enough for almost anything you’d want to tow on a vehicle of this size. Fuel economy with the Jayco attached was at an unsurprising 14litres per 100km and was closer to 8litres per 100km without.

Liveability

A compact SUV is expected to not just get you around town, but when the time comes, it should be able to handle the odd towing job or adventure on a dirt road. With each test we threw at it, it handled it and completed it with a level of distinction.

On the road presence was great and the visibility of blind spots on the mirrors was the best I had ever experienced. I wouldn’t say there were no blind spots, but far better than what I had experienced in other vehicles.

The seats were comfortable enough and the air conditioning was fantastically cold, even when left out in the hot December sun for a number of hours. The addition of the Jayco caravan really puts the question of liveability to a literal one. Could you live with this and the caravan on an adventure across Australia?

Grand Vitara & Jayco Discovery Pop-Top Review

I would say yes. The towing prowess of the 2WD Grand Vitara and the extensive list of luxury items on the Jayco would mean that you could very much take this up and down the east coast without much hassle or worry!

Cost 

Suzuki has done very well with the range of standard options and the entry pricing being under $30,000. Sure the list of options is well fleshed out, but that shows the range of capability which the Grand Vitara has. You have the ability to turn it into a tuff SUV or load up on luxury items to make the journey that much more comfortable.

Grand Vitara & Jayco Discovery Pop-Top Review

There aren’t many options from the competition at this price point and it is unfortunate that we don’t see more in this bracket.

Conclusion 

The Suzuki Grand Vitara 2WD had certainly been tested well in this review. We had travelled further than any other review, and had a great experience in its own unique way. Never had I expected to have such an enjoyable experience with a 2WD petrol compact SUV towing a 1 tonne Jayco caravan.

Grand Vitara & Jayco Discovery Pop-Top Review

The FWD systems of most other compact SUV’s would not have been able to do this review as well as the Grand Vitara thanks to its RWD setup which is now rare for this market. I’d like to say a huge thanks to Suzuki Queensland and Jayco for converting me into a caravan lover (didn’t expect to say this at 22!).

 

About The Author

AshMan, aka Ashley, has had a passion for cars since playing with Matchbox cars as a youngster. Currently working on World Domination and looks foward to seeing you on the small screen soon. He also likes people following him on Twitter: @ashmansays

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