Suzuki Vitara

Allgrip Hybrid SZ5

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

IT'S more than 30 years since the original Suzuki Vitara first took to the road but the model is still continually evolving, still getting even better.

Keeping pace with advancing technology the latest version now comes as self-charging hybrid which means the dual benefits of better performance and better economy.

The addition of a 48-volt electric motor to the 1.4-litre Boosterjet petrol engine also means lower emissions which in turn means tax savings.

The car is available with both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive with the latter commanding a £1,800 premium.

The four-wheel-drive Allgrip Hybrid S75, driven here, puts its power to the front wheels during normal motoring to keep fuel consumption low but as soon as any slip is detected power also goes to the rear wheels to get you out of trouble,

Yet despite its comprehensive off-road ability the nice thing about the Vitara for me is that drives like a conventional family hatchback, proving that you don't need 4x4 bulk to have 4x4 peace of mind.

It's light to manoeuvre, easy to park and extremely comfortable with plenty of room for the family.

And with the top-of the range SZ5 you get an impressive range of safety features including rear cross traffic alert - to warn you of approaching vehicle as you pull put of your local supermarket parking bay - blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a hill holder clutch.

And just in case you do decide to venture off-road this model comes with hill descent control to ensure you can tackle severe downhill routes.

Stay on the highway and you will find the combination of engine and electric motor ensure this Vitara is never lacking in pace, hitting 62 miles per hour in a very respectable 10.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 118 mph.

I managed to average just over 45 miles per gallon in varied motoring without really trying too hard.

Creature comforts on board include a superb double panoramic opening sun roof, satellite navigation and a reversing camera for easy parking.

In the cabin there's warm-to-sit-on suede upholstery with good side bolsters on the front seats to hold you comfortably in place. And while the interior is predominantly black the use of light metallic inserts on dash and doors lightens the mood.

There's plenty to take in via a 4.2-inch LCD display which sits between the rev counter and speedometer and shows everything from the car's acceleration and torque to G-Force and exactly when power is coming solely from the engine or the electric motor and engine combined.

With its distinctive clamshell bonnet, redesigned grille and new LED headlights the new Vitara has a distinctive muscular look while still looking elegant.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki Vitara Allgrip Hybrid SZ5

Price: £27,549

Mechanical: 129bhp, 1373cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving all wheels via six speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 118 mph

0-62mph:10.2 secs

Combined MPG:48.3

Insurance Group: 19A

C02 emissions: 140 g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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