Driving

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

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Suzuki Vitara 4x4 performance

We rate both petrol engines. The 1.6-litre unit is responsive if you keep the revs up, although it is weaker than turbocharged rivals, such as the Seat Arona 1.0 TSI, at low revs. Meanwhile, the turbocharged 1.4-litre engine is quicker and stronger; it's perfect if you regularly venture onto the motorway, but it's rather pricey.

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Opting for the automatic gearbox option instead of the standard manual blunts the performance. The same is true of the optional four-wheel drive system that's available on the 1.6. Four-wheel drive is standard on the 1.4 but, because of the extra power, it’s still quick enough.

There used to be a diesel engine, but Suzuki dropped this in the summer of 2018 due to poor sales.

Suzuki Vitara 4x4 ride

The Vitara has firm but well-damped suspension. Big bumps or potholes will send a dull thud through to the interior, but the ride rarely gets unsettled and never becomes jarring.

You can drive the car for hours on motorways, or across country on rougher roads, and it doesn’t get tiring or uncomfortable. This is still the case even on the slightly stiffer-sprung S model.

SZ-T, SZ5 and S models get 17in alloy wheels, instead of the standard 16in rims, but they don’t compromise the Vitara’s ride quality. All things considered, the Vitara is one of the more comfortable small SUVs, although the Volkswagen T-Roc and certain versions of the Arona are even more so.

Suzuki Vitara rear

Suzuki Vitara 4x4 handling

The Vitara has a precise and grippy front end but is let down by its steering. It’s very light around the straight-ahead position and there’s little sense of connection to the front wheels. Little additional weight builds in faster corners – something that can be disconcerting at first. Around town, though, it’s absolutely fine.

Despite the steering issues, there's still some fun to be had hustling the Vitara down a twisty B-road, thanks to its excellent body control; this is more akin to a good family hatchback than a wallowy off-roader. Go for the sportier and stiffer-sprung S model and things get even better.

The best-handling small SUVs include the Arona and T-Roc. Or, if you've got even more money to spend, the Audi Q2.

Suzuki Vitara 4x4 refinement

The Vitara’s engines are smooth, even when worked hard. They don't make an unpleasant noise when revved, although are ultimately noisier than the engines in rivals, such as the Arona.

All models suffer from intrusive wind and road noise, however, making the Vitara a noisier motorway car than some of its rivals.

If you go for the 1.6 engine, you get a five-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.4 unit gets a six-speeder. Both are slick and precise and, combined with their well-weighted clutch pedal, allow you to change gear quickly and easily and make it simply to pull away smoothly.

 

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There are 3 trims available for the Vitara 4x4. Click to see details.See all versions
SZ4
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SZ-T
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SZ5
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