Suzuki has always had a small 4×4 champion in the guise of the Jimny – the all-conquering mini 4×4 with spunk. But they’ve now re-entered the compact crossover SUV segment with a re-incarnation of a famous nameplate for the brand; the Vitara.
Styling-wise, the new Vitara features a fairly tame appearance, improved upon somewhat by the vivid colours available, but remains distinctly Suzuki in its design. In a market dominated by the Nissan Juke, and competing against new entries such as the Fiat 500X, the Vitara may find its looks a bit too demure to draw a large contingency of buyers.
But Suzuki, remaining true to their roots, takes their SUV’s capabilities rather seriously. As such, in addition to FWD models, ALLGRIP models will be available with AWD for traversing tougher terrain – complete with four selectable driving modes including Auto, Snow, and Sport.
All models, regardless of drive configuration, will feature one of two 1.6-litre engines – an M16A petrol model with outputs of 88kW @ 6000rpm and 156Nm @ 4400rpm, or a D16AA diesel engine with 88kW @ 3750rpm and 320Nm at 1750rpm. Transmission options for the petrol engine are a choice between a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic, whilst the diesel will rely solely on a 6-speed manual ‘box.
The Vitara will boast a range of features for both safety and convenience, ranging from Brake Assist and Collision Warning to Adaptive Cruise Control and a panoramic sunroof. Other features on the Vitara include a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth telephony, media streaming, and navigation.
In a tightly contested market segment, Suzuki has a tough task ahead. But with buyers looking for small crossover models rather than hatchbacks, the Vitara may offer something unique compared to the likes of the Ford EcoSport.