Suzuki Vitara long-term test review: report 3

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

Suzuki Vitara interior

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 7102 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

8 May 2019 – the 'liveable' SUV

As part of my job as one of What Car?’s roaming photographers, I spend many waking hours on the road. Because of this, my car becomes a sort of mobile home – ferrying myself, my camera gear and a cluster of other bits and pieces all over the country. As a result, it is vital that I feel calm and comfortable when driving. And in many ways, my Suzuki Vitara supports this easy living with its mass of easy-to-reach storage units placed around the driver, and its highly adjustable seats and steering wheel, which allow you to really find that perfect balance between practicality and comfort.

The touchscreen infotainment system is reasonably straightforward to use, too, and comes with a host of features including DAB radio, sat-nav and smartphone connectivity for both Apple and Android devices. One thing I find especially useful when on the move is the voice activation, pick-up and hang-up phone call buttons that are located on the steering wheel. These have been ideal in helping me to stay in touch with the office while also keeping my eyes on the road.

Suzuki Vitara interior

There are some niggles to mention too, though. While the seats are brilliantly adjustable, there is little in the way of lumbar support and I have found on longer journeys that this can start to cause backache. Secondly, while the interior looks great, it does still have areas of scratchy plastic that feel cheap to touch, betraying the Suzuki’s bargain nature.

The biggest problem I have, though, lies with the infotainment touchscreen. Although packed with features as mentioned above, its graphics are terribly outdated. The screen is often very slow to respond, causing me to hit the wrong button or accidentally jump through menus. There are also inconsistencies in volume when the radio switches from DAB signal to FM signal, usually making the music far louder than it was, which leaves me reaching frantically for the volume control as the latest hits from Absolute Radio get blasted to all those around me.

These are small negatives, though, and overall the Vitara is helping me to do my job more than it is hindering.

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