Suzuki Vitara long-term test review: report 4

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

Suzuki Vitara side

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 our roving photographer's gear

Needs to Function as a mobile office when needed, be comfortable and economical on long trips and be able to swallow lots of photography equipment

Mileage 9800 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 per month Insurance group 13 Typical insurance quote £457 per year

18 June 2019 – One tough mudder

I recently took part in a Rough Runner cross-country obstacle course event (think sweaty runners plodding around an exceptionally muddy track for 15km, with added obstacles thrown in), and I found myself parking the Suzuki Vitara in a field which, even when I arrived, was strewn with mud.

With the run completed, and with lots of mud swallowed in the process, it was time to set off home. But when I got back to the Vitara, I realised the field was now in an even worse shape than when I first arrived, and with seemingly no one around to help, I prayed the little Suzuki would be able to make it back to the road. While I had taken it off-roading before, it wasn’t in quite such extreme conditions, so this was new territory for this small SUV.

However, I’m pleased to report that all's well that ends well, with the plucky Vitara pulling through brilliantly, despite not having four-wheel drive.

Suzuki Vitara rear

And this was only the latest instance in which the Vitara has impressed me. When you drive it, you can’t fail to notice how incredibly light it feels. In fact, the Vitara is a joy to drive around town. It’s easily capable of darting through busy traffic, slipping into tight parking spaces and taking faster corners with an agility that would make city cars blush. Indeed, while the Vitara is never going to be able to hide its bulky shape through bends, its body lean is well contained and the grip from the front tyres excellent. If you live in the urban sprawl, it’s ideal.

Every story has two sides, however, and that same light steering presents an issue at higher speeds, because it never weights up. And when you’re on the motorway, steering that’s as light as a feather can make the car feel nervous and twitchy.

That feeling is only exacerbated in the wet. There have been a couple of occasions in heavier rain when I've taken to sitting in the slow lane with the lorries, rather than risk an ungainly overtake. Time will tell whether this becomes a bigger issue.

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