Suzuki Vitara S 1.4

Boosterjet Auto

Suzuki Vitara, front
Suzuki Vitara, front
Suzuki Vitara, front
Suzuki Vitara, front
Suzuki Vitara, front
Suzuki Vitara, side
Suzuki Vitara, rear
Suzuki Vitara, boot
Suzuki Vitara, detail
Suzuki Vitara, interior
Suzuki Vitara, interior
Suzuki Vitara, rear
Suzuki Vitara, engine

IT is barely a year since the fourth generation of the Suzuki Vitara was launched to widespread nods of approval from industry experts and consumers alike.

Buyers quickly took to the more compact, city friendly dimensions and clean, modern looks of the new crossover model and sales have been good.

Refusing to bask in the success of their reinvented flagship, though, Suzuki have quickly upped the ante with the introduction of the Vitara S - boasting more sporty trappings and a brand new power pack.

The S model is visually distinguished from the rest of the range by eye-catching 17-inch gloss black alloys, a special grille, satin silver door mirrors, LED headlights with red projector covers, a rear spoiler and black side mouldings.

The sporting theme continues inside with red contrast stitching to the seats and steering wheel, red accents for the air conditioning vents and instruments as well as aluminium alloy pedals.

These styling tweaks add an extra youthfulness to the already good looking Vitara which should serve to broaden its appeal - especially coupled with the major change under the bonnet.

The Vitara S is the first car to feature Suzuki's Boosterjet engine technology in the form of a 1.4-litre direct injection turbocharged unit kicking out 140ps and offering 220Nm of torque from just 1,500rpm through to 4,000rpm.

Currently available only with the manufacturer's ALLGRIP four-wheel drive system, this compact and lightweight petrol power pack produces the same sort of low-end pull as the 1.6-litre diesel and outpaces the 1.6-litre petrol engines featured elsewhere in the range.

In this car it was paired with the optional six-speed automatic transmission and the combination produced a refreshingly responsive and engaging drive - especially with sport mode selected via the easy-to-use switch on the centre console.

While not matching some of the top german offerings the automatic gearbox is, nonetheless, impressively smooth and unintrusive while prompt power delivery makes the acceleration feel even sharper than the quoted 0-62mph sprint time of 10.2 seconds would suggest.

Well-weighted, accurate steering and the assured grip of the 4x4 system make for some nimble handling and, although the raised ride height means some body roll, the Vitara S always feels secure on the road.

The drive selector also offers and auto mode for normal driving conditions as well as a snow setting for slippery surfaces and a lock mode which helps the car cope with heavy snow, sand and mud.

It probably won't be rivalling a Land Rover any time soon, but the intelligent 4x4 system does mean that the Vitara S will cope with most situations that buyers are realistically likely to face.

The Boosterjet technology also significantly improves fuel efficiency and cleanliness with the Vitara S boasting more than 50 miles per gallon on average and carbon emissions 127g/km - both impressive for a 4x4 and meaning that running costs stay within the limits of most reasonable family budgets.

Family-friendliness is one of the big draws of the new Vitara - and none of this changes in the S model.

The interior is comfortable and spacious with good head and legroom, sufficient personal cubbies and a decent sized boot - although the amount of scratchy plastic on display is a little disappointing for a range-topping model.

Good equipment levels go some way to compensating for this, though, with a touchscreen infotainment and satnav system, digital radio, Bluetooth, reversing camera, climate control, keyless entry and ignition and suede upholstery all included.

Safety is also well taken care of with adaptive cruise control, traction and stability control and seven airbags all helping gain the top five-star European crash test rating.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki Vitara S 1.4 Boosterjet Auto

Price: £22,249

Mechanical: 140ps, 1,373cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:124mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG:51.3

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 127g//km

Bik rating:20%

Warranty: 3yrs/62,137 miles

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