Suzuki Vitara 1.4

SZ-T Hybrid 4X4

Suzuki Vitara, 2020, front, static
Suzuki Vitara, 2020, side, static
Suzuki Vitara, 2020, rear
Suzuki Vitara, 2020, front, action
Suzuki Vitara, 2020, interior
Suzuki Vitara, 2020, boot

THE Suzuki Vitara has been around for a while but retains a broad appeal ticking virtually all the boxes.

It is a stylish looking compact SUV that attracted attention, especially in its two-tone livery, is powered by Suzuki's latest Boosterject/hybrid combination, is hugely practical with various boot space combinations and its 4x4 technology makes it more than capable off-road.

Add to that an attractive price tag and you can see the appeal.

While Suzuki has now linked up with Toyota to share models and technology, the Vitara remains a mainstay of the Suzuki brand.

It's a tough segment to operate in, but Suzuki is keeping pace with technology and during its 50th anniversary year in 2020 the Vitara received an even higher specification with 48V Hybrid technology, while at the same time the latest ALLGRIP ‘Select' four wheel drive became available as optional equipment on SZ-T and SZ5 models, again marking 50 years of Suzuki 4x4 technology.

It looks the part with tapering roofline with silver roof rails, familiar clamshell bonnet raked windscreen, distinctive chrome grille, chrome lower bumper, smart headlight clusters and LED daytime lamps. To the rear it features smart wraparound clusters with LED display and privacy glass.

The contrasting black roof, door mirrors and wheel arch guards further add to the appeal.

The interior is smart and airy, with solid and robust switchgear. The centrepiece, touchscreen, although looking slightly dated now, controls a number of major functions including infotainment and navigation and connectivity via smartphones.

There's also bags of headroom and legroom is good, while the seats are comfortable and fully adjustable and the commanding driving position is a bonus.

The single-choice powerful turbocharged 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine, mated to the auto gearbox, delivers pace and economy. It is quick off the mark, hitting 60mph in just over 10 seconds, while returning around 46mpg.

Pretty impressive for a four-wheel drive car. The engine set is paired with Suzuki's lightweight Integrated Starter Generator, or ISG, 48v lithium-ion battery and 48V-12V converter. These drive some low power components and adds an extra boost to acceleration.

The ISG is charged by the battery which is in turn re-charged as the car brakes and decelerates.

The base model includes seven airbags, assisted braking; collision avoidance system, alloy wheels, LED projector headlamps for low and high beam, DAB Radio with CD, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, auto air conditioning and front and auto headlights and wipers.

The SZ-T model driven here adds 17-inch alloy wheels, white stitching for seat trim fabric, Smartphone link audio and navigation system, keyless entry with start button and panoramic sunroof.

Practicality and versatility are key with this kind of vehicle and it offers bags of stowage space. With the rear seats in place there are 375 litres of space available increasing to 1,730 with the rear seats folded. There is also a hidden compartment space under the boot floor cover.

Handling is decent with little evidence of wallow when cornering and the ride is comfortable enough, soft enough for comfort, but firm enough for better handling.

The car is also packed with safety kit to deliver a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Equipment includes seven airbags, lane departure warning and lane departure prevention; blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki Vitara 1.4 SZ-T Hybrid 4X4

Price: £28,399

Mechanical:129ps, 1,373cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG:45.2

Insurance Group:23

C02 emissions: 142g/km

Bik rating:32%

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