By on 2021-08-13 -
Suzuki Vitara - Used
SINCE 2015 the Suzuki Vitara has offered a true alternative to the majority of family-sized SUV's - and one with excellent long term reliability.
True, it doesn't have the same rough, tough, go anywhere reputation previous models enjoyed, but many models are still available with proper four wheel drive (4WD) for those that want or need it.
Most other cars of the same size, like the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 or SEAT Arona, don't offer full all wheel drive anywhere in their line-up.
And despite that lesser go anywhere reputation, I‘ve found that the Allgrip 4WD versions of the Vitara are almost impossible to stop even over very difficult terrain at my local off-road driving centre.
Of course, many SUV owners don't want all wheel drive, because they don't need it and it does increase emissions and reduce economy somewhat.
But Suzuki have accommodated them with a goodly number of 2WD versions included in the range.
This is a very eye catching car with good road manners and a spacious interior - plus that great rep for reliability - making it very sought after on the secondhand market.
I know two people who have them, and both are delighted with their wide range of abilities.
When this model came out, it there were just two engine options - 1.6 petrol and diesel - both with 120bhp.
The petrol reaches 60 from rest in 11.1 seconds and is capable of 45 miles per gallon, and while the diesel takes the same time for the sprint it's capable of a superb 60mpg.
Figures are for the 2WD version, but the Allgrip 4x4 is only slightly slower and it loses just 3mpg.
In 2016, a new S version was launched, with the same Boosterjet 1.4 turbo engine later used in the Swift Sport.
Performance was markedly improved over the 1.6, with the benchmark sprint now taking a sprightly 9.2 seconds and economy of 40+mpg.
However, this first 1.4 model had slightly lowered and stiffened suspension, and was not as comfortable as the 1.6.
This changed in 2019, when the 1.6 engine was replaced by the 1.4 as the main power unit, and a 1.0-litre three cylinder Boosterjet was added below it, with similar performance to the 1.6, but lower emissions and 53mpg economy. The diesel was dropped at the same time.
All the engines have been available with a six speed automatic gearbox at different times, but the petrol 1.6 had a five speed manual as standard while the diesel had a six speed.
Earlier Allgrip models have on-demand 4WD, which means that you have to manually select it when you need it. Otherwise, the power goes to the front wheels.
Latterly, this was changed to an automatic system with Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock choices.
Auto leaves the car in front wheel drive until 4WD is needed, and Sport gives the best settings for more press-on driving on the road.
Snow obviously gives best traction for soft going of any kind, and Lock makes that even better by locking the centre differential.
Latest models come in just two trim levels SZ-4 and SZ-T and both come very well equipped.
Earlier mid-range SZ-4 comes with air conditioning, split fold back seats, heated mirrors, alloys, excellent seat adjustment, alarm system, audio remote control, loads of airbags and traction control.
Pay about Â£7,200 for a '16 16-reg 1.6 SZ-4 2WD petrol, or Â£18,800 for a '19 19-reg 1.4 Boosterjet SZ-5 Allgrip.
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