I've owned my Grand Vitara for 2 months now, and in that time it's proven itself to be a superb little 4x4 both on and off-road. The car drives surprisingly well given the traditional 4x4 design underneath: the steering is light and responsive, the firm suspension gives good control when cornering, the seats are supportive (though a tad firm) and cabin noise is reasonable. The post-facelift interior is both stylish and robustly built, with no squeaks or rattles and plenty room for the driver and passengers (though rear legroom is a little tight). Despite the compliant on-road handling, the Grand Vitara is also brilliant off-road; there's decent ground clearance, a ladder-frame chassis and a low-range gearbox. We have taken it off-roading several times now and it's never once come close to getting stuck, even when climbing and descending a 45-degree incline. Sadly, there are a couple of downsides. For one, while the suspension gives good body control while cornering, it also results in a bouncy ride, even on smooth road surfaces. It never becomes intolerable, but it does start to grate on long journeys. Fuel consumption is also rather poor at about 30mpg in everyday driving and boot space is tight with all seats in place. Reliability-wise, the car has suffered from minor niggles (heat shield rattling, loose cladding etc.) as a result of sitting in a yard for several years (cat C vehicle), but has otherwise proven to be totally reliable.
Callum McColgan, October 24th 2014