The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
It’s easy to find a suitable driving position in the Vitara; both the driver’s seat and the steering wheel can be moved up and down as well as forwards and backwards. The seat itself is quite comfortable, although a little more side bolstering wouldn’t go amiss to grip you tighter through corners. There's no adjustable lumbar support or electric seat adjustment available on any trim, either.
The gear lever is high-set and relatively large and so falls easily to hand, while most of the controls are intelligently laid out and the physical buttons and dials for the climate control make it easy to adjust on the move.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
It’s easy to see out of the Vitara, thanks to its box-like body and large glass areas. And, as with any SUV, the relatively lofty seating position helps, too. If you’re used to a conventional hatchback, you’ll certainly find it easier to keep tabs on what’s going on around you in the Vitara.
A rear-view camera is standard on all but the entry-level SZ4 model. If you want front and rear parking sensors, you’ll have to plump for the pricier SZ5; they're not available on the SZ4 or SZ-T models, even as an option.
Sat nav and infotainment
Go for entry-level SZ4 trim and you’ll get DAB radio, USB port and Bluetooth connectivity. This model's media system is very basic, but at least it isn’t difficult to use, and this is the only trim level that gives you a CD player.
SZ-T and SZ5 trim levels, meanwhile, get a more sophisticated touchscreen infotainment system with integrated sat-nav. You also get Smartphone Link, which enables you to mirror a simplified version of your Apple or Android smartphone onto the screen. The system is easy enough to use on the whole, but can be a little slow to respond, and the touch-sensitive pads for volume adjustment and other frequently used functions are more fiddly to use than physical buttons or dials would be.
The impression of quality is not something the Vitara exudes. The doors and bootlid feel quite light and tinny when you close them, while many of the interior plastics, including those on top of the dashboard as well as those lower down, feel cheap to the touch. The Seat Arona, Ford Puma and Volkswagen T-Cross have altogether more modern-feeling interiors.
But, while the Vitara isn't exactly plush inside, its interior does at least feel reasonably durable, and uses gloss-black plastics and patterned fascias to help break up the gloom.