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Suzuki Vitara long-term test review: report 2

The Suzuki Vitara has long been one of our favourite small SUVs, but how will it fare as a photographer's assistant?...

Suzuki Vitara side
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What Car? team
17 Apr 2019 13:00

The car Suzuki Vitara 1.0 Boosterjet SZT 2WD Run by Max Edleston, junior photographer

Why it’s here To see how a small SUV with a 1.0-litre engine copes when asked to cover long motorway journeys and haul around gear for our roving photographers

Needs to Function as a mobile office when needed, be comfortable and economical for long trips and be able to store all of our photography equipment


Mileage 5918 List price £18,999 Target Price £18,221 Price as tested £19,799 Test economy 43.0mpg Official Economy 53.2mpg Extras Bright Red paint and Black roof (£800) Contract hire £174.80 Insurance group 13 Typical insurance quote £457


17 April 2019 – Does size matter in a small SUV?

I’ve only previously owned two cars: a Volkswagen Up and a Volkswagen Polo. So, while the Suzuki Vitara may not be particularly big by SUV standards, it’s still a substantial jump up in size for me. And yet after my first few weeks with it, driving in town, on motorways and down A-roads, my overwhelming impression is of how easy it is to get to grips with.

First, its boxy body, mass of surrounding glass and classic SUV elevated driving position means visibility is brilliant. There are virtually no blind spots, so I have easily been able to spot passing motorbikes and cyclists when sat in London traffic. Plus, parking is mostly simple; even the unfathomably tight multi-story at our Twickenham offices doesn’t cause me to go into meltdown, although having front sensors to go with the rear-view camera would make manoeuvring even easier.

Suzuki Vitara next to a tractor

On the downside, the Vitara’s boxy shape does mean it generates more wind noise than my old Polo, particularly at speed. But this isn’t deafening, so it’s more a case of turning the radio up than reaching for the earplugs.

Practicality is another strength. I have plenty of head and leg room (something that isn’t the case in all the cars we test, at 6ft 2in). And there are so many useful cubbies dotted around the Vitara’s interior, from the space beneath the central armrest which is surprisingly deep, to the small hole on the right of the steering wheel, which is perfect for holding keys or loose change for the parking meter.

Personally, my favourite spot is the door compartment which can hold a large water bottle upright easily and very securely. I didn’t know I needed this, but now I’ve got used to it, I find it incredibly frustrating when I swap into a car without it.

Suzuki Vitara boot

The Vitara’s boot, meanwhile, is easily large enough to take all my camera gear. And with the rear seats folded down, I’ve fitted everything from 12 bags of compost (for those of you who measure you boot space in agricultural produce) to my bike inside without any trouble.

So far, then I’m really enjoying life with the Vitara. It’s easy to see why it's previously won its price point at the annual What Car? Car of the Year Awards.

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