By Patrick James on 2019-07-20 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Suzuki Vitara 1.0
THE Vitara is something of a Suzuki veteran these days, having been around for three decades or so.
It has come in all shapes and sizes and with different engines and with different monikers, like the now-defunct Grand Vitara, but it has been consistent with quality and genuine offload capability.
It has gradually morphed from a rugged off roader into a stylish SUV, that is practical, economical and fun to drive.
The latest model is the most technically advanced Suzuki to date, says the firm.
Tweaks to the styling, new high tech safety and communication technology and a choice of the excellent turbo powered petrol engines, either the three cylinder 1.0 or the 1.4-litre, both with the firm's Boosterjet technology which is Euro 6 compliant.
Three grade line-up of SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5 models remains, with tweaks to equipment levels.
Standard kit is comprehensive and the entry level SZ4 model includes seven airbags, alloy wheels, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control with speed limiter, auto air conditioning and front and rear electric windows.
The SZ-T model driven here adds new 17-inch alloy wheels, parking camera, rear privacy glass, white stitching for seat trim fabric, Smartphone link audio and navigation system and the excellent four wheel drive technology.
Seven airbags including drivers knee airbag are standard on all models as is Bluetooth and climate control fitted.
Smartphone link audio and navigation fitted as standard on SZ-T and SZ5 grade.
The range-topping SZ5 adds all the bells whistles.
It also looks good, retaining the clamshell bonnet, but with smart redesigned chrome grille featuring the Suzuki ‘S' and lower bumper, sloping roofline roof line and new specially shaped side mirrors.
The interior is the best yet with the upper instrument panel is upgraded to a soft touch material and the instrument cluster now features a central colour information display.
The classy analogue clock on the centre of the dash remains and the touchscreen controls a number of major functions including infotainment and navigation. Other instrumentation feels sturdy and logical and is easy to use.
On the road, this one-litre, three pot engine packs quite a punch for such a little ‘un.
Like many three cylinder engines, it provides a pleasant thrum under acceleration which is surprisingly rapid as the turbo-charged unit propels the vehicle to 60mph in just under 12 seconds, but it does feel quicker.
It has car-like handling characteristics and remains well planted and stable when cornering, with little evidence of body roll sometimes associated with SUVs.
Like most SUVs it is practical with good head and legroom throughout. A decent-sized boot offers 375 litres of space, increasing to 1,730 with the rear seats folded. There is also extra space under the boot floor cover, with various oddment holders throughout the car.
The ALLGRIP four wheel drive gives extra peace of mind when dealing with rougher offroad surfaces and well as offering extra grip in inclement weather conditions.
There are four selectable drive modes, auto, whichprioritises fuel economy in typical driving conditions and uses two-wheel drive by default.
It switches to four wheel drive if it detects wheel spin; sport mode, obviously for enhanced performance and handling; snow mode selects four wheel drive, for well, snow andlock mode is for extricating the car from snow, mud, or sand.
Suzuki Vitara 1.0 SZ-T ALLGRIP
Mechanical: 111bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving four wheels wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 111mph
0-62mph: 12 seconds
Combined MPG: 49.5
Insurance Group: 12
C02 emissions: 129g/km
Bik rating: 29%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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