The Suzuki Vitara is an inexpensive car to run because its engines are economical, its insurance groups are reasonable and servicing costs are sensible. In the What Car? True MPG tests, the 1.6-litre petrol version averaged an impressive 47.7mpg, compared with a claimed 53.3mpg. We’ve yet to test the diesel but Suzuki claims it should average 76.3mpg. The diesel also produces less CO2 emissions than the petrols, making it cheaper to tax and more attractive to company car drivers. The four-wheel drive versions are slightly less efficient, but not to a notable extent.
The Vitara doesn’t hold its value as well as rivals such as the Citroën C4 Cactus, offsetting some of the savings you might make elsewhere. On the plus side, it makes up for this by offering much more kit than its similarly priced rivals, so it’ll be the most pleasant to live with, if not the cheapest.
Suzuki Vitara equipment
There are four trims called SZ4, SZ-T, SZ5 and S. Even the entry-level SZ4 is well equipped, and features climate control, a DAB radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and electric windows. We’d recommend paying for the upgrade to SZ-T, though, because of the extra infotainment equipment this brings.
SZ5 models get lots of upmarket upgrades including active cruise control and suede trim, meanwhile the sporty S model adds sports suspension, a rear spoiler, gloss-black alloys wheels, a rear spoiler and LED headlights.
Suzuki also offers a Rugged and Urban Pack for the Vitara. The Rugged Pack adds some black trim and skid plates, while the Urban Pack adds a rear spoiler and some chrome trim.
Fortunately, at any trim level, you won’t have to wade through a long list of options. Most upgrades are just accessories such as a dog guard or chromed door handles.
Suzuki Vitara reliability
Problems should be few and far between
Suzuki ranked second out of 37 manufacturers in our reliability survey, so Vitara buyers should have little to worry about. This won’t come as a surprise to existing owners; the brand has an excellent reputation for reliability and several of its cars have performed well in previous reliability and satisfaction surveys.
As with many of its rivals, a three-year/60,000-mile warranty is standard, while a 12-year anti-perforation warranty should quell any concerns about rust.
Suzuki Vitara safety & security
The Vitara was awarded five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, scoring particularly well for adult and child protection. It comes with plenty of safety kit including hill hold control, seven airbags – including a driver’s knee airbag - and tyre pressure monitoring. Top-spec SZ5 and S models get an emergency stop signal system, which flashes the hazards when you perform an emergency stop, and autonomous emergency city braking. This warns of front-end collisions and can even apply the brakes to prevent, or reduce the severity of, a crash.
Security experts Thatcham Research awarded the Vitara four stars out of five for its resistance to theft, but only two stars for its resistance to being broken into. A tyre repair kit is standard – a spare wheel is not an option.
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The entry-level Vitara is well equipped. It gets climate control, cruise control, a DAB radio, electric windows, front foglights, USB and Bluetooth connectivity and 16in alloys. Consequently, it doesn’t feel like a completely budget choice.
Our pick SZ-T
We’d recommend opting for the SZ-T trim, as it gets the integrated sat-nav and media system, as well as 17in alloys and rear privacy glass. These upgrades help make the Vitara look and feel a lot more upmarket.
This features lots of upmarket upgrades including suede seat trim, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and adaptive cruise control. It’s not an overly expensive upgrade but it’s not a necessary one, either. The glass roof reduces head room, too.
The sporty S trim comes with the cracking 1.4-litre petrol engine and 4WD as standard. You get many of the SZ5’s features along with stiffer sports suspension, black alloy wheels and sportier interior detailing. It’s a bit pricey, though.