Cost & verdict

Suzuki Vitara review

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Suzuki Vitara front
Review continues below...
12 Dec 2015 10:28 | Last updated: 20 Sep 2018 10:41

In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Suzuki Vitara 4x4 running costs

The Vitara is an inexpensive car to run, because its engines are economical, its insurance groups are reasonable and servicing costs are sensible. In our real-world True MPG tests, the 1.6 petrol version averaged an impressive 47.7mpg, compared with a claimed 53.3mpg. The four-wheel-drive versions are slightly less efficient, but not to a notable extent.

The Vitara doesn’t hold onto its value as well as rivals such as the Seat Arona, offsetting some of the savings you might make elsewhere. On the plus side, it makes up for this by offering much more equipment than its similarly priced rivals – something we'll explain in more detail in the next section.

Suzuki Vitara 4x4 equipment

Even entry-level SZ4 trim is well equipped and features climate control, cruise control and electric windows. We’d recommend upgrading to SZ-T, though, because of the extra infotainment equipment this brings (see infotainment section).

SZ5 models get lots of upmarket upgrades, including adaptive cruise control and suede trim, while the sporty S version adds sports suspension, a rear spoiler, gloss black alloy wheels and LED headlights. Tempting as these trims might be, we’d suggest plumping for SZ-T – it has all the kit you really need.

Suzuki also offers a Rugged Pack and an Urban Pack for the Vitara. The Rugged Pack adds some black trim and skid plates, while the Urban Pack features a rear spoiler and some chrome trim.

You won’t have to wade through a long list of options on any of the trims. Most upgrades are classed as accessories, such as a dog guard or chromed door handles. That makes for simple ordering, but it is annoying that you can’t have factory-fit parking sensors on the cheaper trims.

Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki Vitara 4x4 reliability

Suzuki ranked top (out of 31) manufacturers in our latest reliability survey, while the Vitara itself was the third most reliable small SUV, behind only the SX4 S-Cross (another Suzuki model) and the Peugeot 2008.

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 4x4 safety and security

The Vitara was awarded five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test, scoring well 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 wouldn't score so highly if tested under modern standards. Rivals such as the Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc are safer options.

That's chiefly because only the range-topping SZ5 and S models get automatic emergency braking; this vital safety aid isn't even available on the cheaper trims. Lane-keeping assistance and blindspot monitoring aren't available on any trim.

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.

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There are more upmarket small SUVs, but the Suzuki Vitara is one of the most spacious and is great value for money

  • Pleasant on-road manners
  • Spacious and practical interior
  • Lots of standard kit
  • Cheap-feeling interior
  • Engines are a bit noisy
  • So-so resale values
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