Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Vitara is a relatively inexpensive car to run, because its engines (particularly the 1.0-litre) are economical, insurance groups are reasonable and servicing costs are sensible. The four-wheel drive versions are less fuel-efficient, but not to a notable extent.
Equipment, options and extras
The Vitara SZ4 and SZ-T are available only with the 1.0-litre engine. SZ4 trim gets you 16in alloy wheels, cruise control and climate control. SZ-T adds 17in alloys, tinted windows and the upgraded infotainment system we discussed earlier. SZ-T trim pushes the Vitara’s price squarely into Arona and T-Cross territory, though.
SZ5 models, available only with the 1.4-litre engine, get lots of upmarket features. These include adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and automatic lights and wipers. However, unless you really need the more powerful engine, we’d suggest plumping for cheaper SZ4 trim; it has all the kit you really need.
Suzuki ranked third (out of 31) manufacturers in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, while the Vitara itself was one of the most dependable small SUVs, finishing third in the class.
That probably won’t come as a surprise to existing Suzuki owners, though; 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.
Safety and security
The Vitara was awarded five stars in its Euro NCAP safety tests, scoring good marks for adult and child occupant protection. However, it's worth bearing in mind that the test was carried out back in 2015, and the Vitara would be less likely to score so highly if tested under the latest standards.
That's chiefly because the cheapest trim level doesn't come with automatic emergency braking (AEB). In fact, you only get this important safety aid with mid-spec SZ-T trim if you opt for four-wheel drive. The top-spec SZ5 model gets AEB and a heap of other safety features, including blindspot monitoring, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.
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. These are below-par scores for the small SUV class.