Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Thanks in part to deep footwells, there’s enough room in the front of the Vitara for tall drivers. If you’re very lanky, though, the head room-robbing panoramic glass roof fitted to top-spec SZ5 models may cause your quiff to brush the ceiling.
However, while the USB port and 12V sockets are handily located behind the gearstick, the accompanying cubbies are too small for many of the latest smartphones. The two cupholders are positioned annoyingly far back behind the central armrest, too.
Even when the front seats are occupied by tall people, there’s plenty of leg room and a decent amount of head room in the two outer rear seats. The middle seat is slightly raised, so its occupant is more likely to struggle with head room. An adult can sit there, but shoulder room will be very tight if all three rear seats are filled. Again, the SZ-5's panoramic glass roof has the effect of lowering the ceiling a little.
Seat folding and flexibility
It’s pretty standard fare here, with rear seats that split and fold 60/40, granting you much more luggage space when you need it.
All you need to do to lower the backrests is pull the levers at the top, and there's no need to faff about removing the rear headrests beforehand like you do in some cars. What's more, because the backrests aren’t heavy or awkward to move, it’s no chore getting them back up again.
The Vitara has a decently sized boot by the standards of small SUVs. It’s thoughtfully designed, too; there’s no annoying lip at the entrance, while the floor itself isn’t too high off the ground, making it that bit easier to lift heavier items into the boot.
There's a useful underfloor storage area that's ideal for stowing valuables or loose items, plus two storage pockets (one on each side). Drop the rear seats and space increases further – the seats don’t fold completely flat, but at least there’s no awkward step in the extended boot floor to make life difficult when sliding long, bulky items in.
Not all of the Vitara’s rivals are this well designed, but, if you need more boot space, try the C3 Aircross or, for those with a bigger budget, the Volkswagen T-Roc.