THE new Suzuki Vitara impressed me when I drove it for the first time last Autumn and the addition of a new 1.4-litre turbo engine has made it an even better choice.
Suzuki's success has been built on its ability to produce tough, reliable small 4x4s at affordable prices and the Vitara is up there with the best in class.
The crossover market may be crowded and fiercely competitive but the Vitara is a very easy car to like and will attract a wider audience with this new engine.
It is over 25 years since the Vitara first arrived and this latest version is a huge improvement over its predecessor.
The Japanese firm offers it as a five-door with a choice of engines, trims and transmissions. It is also available in two or four-wheel-drive.
Originally available with only a 1.6 petrol or 1.6 diesel, the Vitara now offers the 1.4 Boosterjet turbo petrol engine which gives the range a lift.
It may be the smallest of the three engines but it is the most powerful and provides extra performance - and as an added bonus it also sips less fuel.
For the moment it is only available in the top trim level and is paired with Suzuki's ALLGRIP all-wheel-drive system as standard.
Visually you can tell it apart from other Vitaras because of its 17-inch black alloy wheels, unique front grille and wheel arch extensions.
The Boosterjet S costs £20,899 but you also get stacks of equipment for your money.
It comes with a DAB radio, CD player, USB connection, Bluetooth, alloy wheels air conditioning and cruise control,sat nav and privacy glass.
You also get suede seat upholstery, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, LED headlights and the black alloys.
The test car also boasted forward facing radar that detects when you are getting too close to the vehicle ahead and starts braking for you.
Thestandard six-speed gearbox has a nice lightaction and the car feels good for the quoted 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds. Top speed is 124mph and Suzuki claims 52.3mpg economy and 127g/km CO2emissions.
On the move, the engine is quiet and punchy and the Vitara is one of the best cars to drive in its class thanks to well weighted and accurate steering and little body roll. The ride is on the firm side but still offers bags of comfort.
The ALLGRIP on-demand four-wheel-drive system features four selectable driving modes - Auto, Sport, Snow and four-wheel-drive lock. It switches power to all the wheels for extra grip when required and also benefits from hill descent control.
The Vitara's cabin offers bags of room and can easily carry four adults in real comfort. There is plenty of head, leg and shoulder room and numerous storage areas as well as a decent boot.
The dials and instrumentation are all clear and easy to use and most things can be operated from the touchscreen.
The Vitara has been awarded the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings with seven airbags as standard, along with an impact absorbing body, adaptive cruise control, electronic stability control, Radar Brake Support and bags of other safety kit.