Would you believe that the first Vitara was released way back in 1988? It was met with a warm reception in Ireland and the Vitara has always been quite popular here. During 2015 Suzuki launched their latest generation of Vitara and again it received a warm welcome from the Irish motor press. The new Vitara has hints of other vehicles like the Range Rover Evoque and we think that it’s not a bad looking machine. Suzuki has also priced themselves competitively against the likes of the Mazda CX-3, the Opel Mokka, the Fiat 500x, the Skoda Yeti, the Peugeot 2008, the Jeep Renegade and the Renault Captur.
There are two engines available with the new Suzuki Vitara. The entry level model houses a 1.6 litre petrol engine that offers maximum power of 118 bhp and maximum torque of 156Nm at 4,400rpm. The diesel offering comes from a 1.6 DDiS engine. This direct injection engine also offers maximum power of 118 bhp but maximum torque on offer is 320Nm at 1,750rpm. This same engine powers the 4x4 ALLGRIP model that we were testing. In terms of off road abilities the Suzuki will certainly not have you stuck on mountain roads on icy days and it should be good for some minor off-roading.
The Vitara is a fun car to drive. It doesn’t have the most responsive steering that you will ever feel in a car of this ilk and when it comes to cornering at any type of speed there is a bit of body roll. Apart from that the Vitara grips the road well and soaks up bumps evenly and it’s an enjoyable machine to drive.
The diesel engine can be a bit on the loud side but things even out when you get to your intended speed. The Vitara is not exceptionally padded in terms of sound insulation. Therefore it does suffer from both road and wind noise. The wind noise we suspect comes from the wing mirrors.
This Suzuki is not full of high-end plastics and they are cheap to the touch - but they are nicely styled and in our test model the exterior colours were brought onto the dash board. The driver’s seat and the steering wheel can be manoeuvred to suit most shapes and size and the seats are comfortable too. There is a central touch screen which looks great and is highly functional but unfortunately it was not as responsive to the touch as we were hoping.
During 2015 the Suzuki Vitara scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests. This compact SUV received a score of 89% for adult occupancy. It also scored very well with child occupancy and pedestrian safety scoring 85% and 76% respectively. The Vitara comes with seven airbags in total, this includes a driver’s knee airbag. The top spec GLX models are also available with Radar Brake and Adaptive Cruise Control. Radar brake operate at lower speeds and will automatically apply the brakes if the car feels that a collision is imminent.
The Vitara is a spacious compact SUV. It offers excellent head and leg room to the front. Taller passengers may have a problem with head room to the rear on account of the slanted roof. The capacity of the boot area is 375 litres and with the seats folded down this increases to 710 litres. The Vitara also has a towing capacity of 1,500 kg.