- Level of Personalisation
- Good Base Level of Features
- Great Fuel Economy
- More Power Desired
- AWD option only available in top model
Way back in 1988, the very first generation Suzuki Vitara launched in Australia and was a model that helped introduce small SUV’s and 4×4’s. Fast forward to today, and Suzuki has reimagined the Vitara adding more style, comfort and modern luxuries whilst still retaining its capable and adventurous roots. This is our 2016 Suzuki Vitara review.
Compared to the first generation Vitara, it has evolved from a 3-door small 4WD, into a larger 5 door all-wheel-drive SUV; catering to a totally different landscape to its predecessor.
Available in a wide array of colour combination, both inside and out, the new Suzuki Vitara is easily spotted out on the road, and gives buyers even more levels of styling personalisation even seen in BMW’s, Audi’s and Mercedes vehicles, and at a much lower cost too.
At launch, there are two grades available, the 2WD GL+ and the AWD GLX. A welcome introduction is the availability of a 6 speed automatic gearbox, compared to a CVT transmission. However, if you prefer a manual, a 5 speed manual is available but only on the 2WD GL+.
Powering the new Suzuki Vitara is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, producing 86kW of power and 156Nm of torque. Despite the power figures are the same as the Suzuki S-Cross, the lighter Vitara allows it to better utilise the power available, and also officially a fuel economy figure as low as 5.8L/100km.
Priced from just $22,990 for the 2WD GL+ model, the2016 Vitara is actually cheaper than when the original 1988 Suzuki Vitara was introduced. So, let’s see what else has changed out on the road.
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the 2016 Suzuki Vitara for number of different vehicles. From some angles it can look like a Mitsubishi Outlander, Range Rover Evoque, and even a Citroen CA Aircross. However, we don’t think that means it’s a mash up gone wrong, because it seems to actually work quite well.
In person, the bold colours make it very hard to miss, and are a welcome change to the small handful of dull colours usually available from manufacturers. During the media launch, it didn’t take long for members to start picking out their favourite colour combinations (13 in total to choose from).
Aside from colour choice, to further personalise the Vitara, there are two packages available to further change the exterior look. The Urban and Rugged packages change things from the fog lamp bezels, front skid places, body moulding, and more.
Jumping to the inside, and Suzuki has managed to retain the clean, functional feel to their interiors, whilst adding a little of personality with the dash fascia, instrument binnacle trimmings available in four colours.
Best of all, most of the personalisation (except for paint) can be done at the dealership, meaning that you can do your mixing and matching at time of purchase.
Packing 86kW of p
ower hardly makes the Vitara the most powerful, or most potent vehicle in its segment, but being quite light at 1100kg for the GL+, it means that it cannot only deliver great fuel economy, but a little bit of go when you need it.
We were able to test both the manual and automatic models, and we really appreciated both options. The manual transmission is very easy to drive, and the clutch feels great. As for the automatic, the smoothness and fairly well match gear selection meant that we had a nice and quiet cabin, quite the opposite experience a CVT box would give you.
Due to the choice of a traditional automatic gearbox, we were quite surprised at the fuel economy figures we were achieving out on the road. Driving a mix of highway, and twisty mountain roads both, the manual and automatic models achieved well below their combined and extra urban figures with our tests showing a result well under 5L/100km. It’s something that’s quite rare, especially for a brand new car and it’s a true testament to Suzuki’s engineering team.
Everything from the driver’s seat was quite pleasant, with the driving position providing plenty of visibility, the mirrors minimising blind spots, comfortable seating and a simple multi-function steering wheel.
If your own for a little adventure, the AWD All-Grip technology on the GLX will allow you to venture a little off the beaten track with various driving modes, including Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock. Whilst it isn’t a traditional 4WD system with a low-range gearbox, most buyers should be able to enjoy easy national park trails for day-trips, or even visits to the odd property or two.
Suzuki’s new recipe for a city friendly Vitara is further accentuated when you take note of the high number of standard features on both the GL+ and GLX models. Standard across the range include a 7inch infotainment system, GPS navigation, rear view camera, cruise control with speed limiter, Berlingo Van Racking included, LED daytime running lights, and other convenience features.
We didn’t get to squeeze it into any tight car spaces, or navigate any car parks, but the light steering makes the Vitara quite easy to swing into almost anywhere. On the inside, there’s huge amounts of headroom, accommodating those taller than others, or those who like to wear their hair up. It really stands out with the standard features, all of which that do indeed make it easy to live with and drive every day.
Plus, it’s going to look great parked on the side of the street in those hip inner city hubs.
Amongst other reasons, you can always count on Suzuki being competitively priced in its segment, and the new Vitara achieves this too. Starting at just $22,990 drive away for the entry level GL+, it’s actually cheaper than the first generation Grand Vitara that launched in Australia 25+ years ago – without taking inflation into account! In addition, capped price servicing is offered, along with a 3 Year/100,000km Warranty.
The higher GLX model is what we would be picking of the two, but there is a significant price jump of $10,000 between the GL+ and GLX drive away prices. However, the steep price jump can be justified with its swag of additional standard features including AWD ALL Grip system, sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, rain sensing wipers and more. It’s just up to you on what you want, and what’s important to you.
Compared to its competition, the specs of both the GL+ and GLX at their respective price points are hard to beat, including comparisons between the Holden Trax, Mitsubishi ASX and Ford Kuga.
It’s so nice seeing a new SUV come onto the market, and tries to change the status quo by adding some flare, colour and good levels of personalisation all for a price that’s lower than it originally launched at over 25 years ago.
There could always be more power added, but the fuel economy, ride comfort and how easy it is to drive quickly excuses that lack of power. Overall, the Vitara is going to appeal to those who want reliability, affordability, functionality and a little bit of personality.
We look forward to seeing the different colour combinations buyers go with, and to see them out on the road!