Suzuki Vitara 1.4

Boosterjet SZ5

ALLGRIP

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

WITH strikingly good looks, all the on-board technology you could wish for and performance capabilities that match the styling, it's easy to see why Suzuki proudly claims its latest 2019 Vitara is its most technically advanced car ever.

Admittedly, the Vitara has always been a great all-rounder, but now the Japanese manufacturer has really raised the bar with extra safety kit, styling upgrades, a more premium interior and some punchy now powertrains.

And after four months behind the wheel of the all-singing, all-dancing range-topper - the Vitara SZ5 complete with ALLGRIP 4WD - I'm still looking for something to criticise.

The five-door Vitara, priced at £24,299 (£25,099 with options), looks smart from any approach thanks to the privacy glass, roof rails, a chrome front grille and chrome lower bumper trim, wheel arch extensions, graphite grey door mirrors and 17-inch alloys.

It has Galactic Grey bodywork complemented by a black panoramic sunroof with two individual glass panels to complete the impressive styling. When open, this has one of the largest apertures in its class.

Move inside and the spacious cabin is bright and upmarket with a clutter-free layout. But there is plenty of technology at your disposal with the likes of a DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system and a six-speaker sound system.

The Smartphone Linkage Display Audio with a seven-inch touch screen is Suzuki's technical way of saying the car can connect to a smartphone with MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and there is also a three dimensional navigation map.

Getting comfy is an easy process with ample seat and steering wheel adjustment and the elevated driving position results in excellent all-round visibility. There is plenty of leg room for a couple of passengers to sit comfortably in the back provided the front seats are not pushed back too far.

Powering our Vitara was the latest 1.4-litre Boosterjet petrol engine delivering 140ps and 220Nm of torque. This was mated to a six-speed manual gearbox which was both smooth and responsive as it moved swiftly through the gears with a constant stream of power on tap.

The car can sprint from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds, maxing out at 124mph, and according to the latest WLTP figures, it can deliver combined fuel economy of 37.7mpg with carbon emissions of 169g/km (WLTP) or 139g/km (NEDC).

The Vitara feel nicely balanced as it sweeps along the country lanes and bends can be attacked with a degree of confidence. The cabin is well insulated against any road surface or engine sounds, although at faster speeds you can expect to hear some wind noise due to the high-sided design of the car.

And even our network of pitted, potted and crumbing roads couldn't deter the Vitara with the suspension system doing a very worthy job of smoothing out the creases.

In town centres, the Vitara is agile and easy to manoeuvre with the rear parking camera, plus front and rear parking sensors, helping to make light work of squeezing into small parking bays.

I covered more than 2,500 miles on motorways in the Vitara and it can effortlessly cruise at 70mph with the ability to deliver sharp bursts of acceleration at higher speeds when required.

And having a test car long-term means you can leave lots of handy bits and pieces - otherwise known as junk - in the car for months on end. The boot is generously sized and can swallow 375 litres of kit and this limit can be increased to 710 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped down.

Elsewhere there are lots of handy storage compartments, including a glovebox, door pockets, cup holders, a central cubby box, a rear seat pocket and a double height boot floor.

The Vitara also boasts an impressive array of safety kit that secured a maximum five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP.

Features include anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, hill-hold control and hill descent control, seven airbags, foot protecting brake and clutch pedals, a tyre pressure monitor, lane departure warning and prevention, vehicle sway warning, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

There is also a clever dual sensor brake support system that works between 3mph and 62mph. If it detects a possible collision with a person or vehicle ahead it delivers a visual and audio warning. If these warnings are ignored by the driver, the system will start braking the vehicle automatically.

And finally, the Vitara SZ5 features ALLGRIP, Suzuki's four-wheel drive system which has four modes called Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock. Auto is for day-to-day driving and maximises the fuel efficiency by using two-wheel drive as a default.

Sport is great for winding country lanes. The Snow setting delivers extra grip in the snow or when travelling on other slippery surfaces and finally Lock is used for extricating the car from snow, mud or sand.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet SZ5 ALLGRIP

Price: £24,299

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

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 37.7

Insurance Group: 17

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating: 31%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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