Suzuki is celebrating three decades of Vitara success with the introduction of a refreshed model range, with an even more generous helping of creature comforts.
The Vitara has proven very popular, with over 1 700 models sold since its introduction in South Africa in 2015.
Laying the foundation
Its combination of a very high safety level – which includes stability control and seven airbags across the entire range – and its affordable price was recognised through several industry awards, including first place in the Compact Family Car category in the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank for two of the last three years.
The model range upgrade also lays the foundation for the introduction of Suzuki’s turbocharged Boosterjet engine technology, which will be included in this model range later this year in the form of a 1.4 Boosterjet turbo petrol engine.
There will be no mistaking the new Vitara for its predecessor, thanks to a fresh new front design, new alloy wheel options and revised rear style with new LED light clusters.
In front, new clear headlamp clusters flank a redesigned grille with horizontal slats and a large Suzuki S badge.
No change in price
True to its tradition of offering the best value for money, Suzuki has not increased the prices, despite the new look and additional features. The models available immediately are:
Lower down, the bumper features a large trapezoidal air intake with deep-set fog lights (on certain models). For the GLX specification level, the main driving lights are LED.
The distinctive vertical LED daytime running lights are enclosed in a new J-shaped chrome insert (black on the GL spec level), which extends from the edges of the black number plate housing to the top of the fog lights.
Fans of the Vitara SUV will be happy to know that Suzuki has refreshed the optional silver scuff plate and side mouldings to integrate with the new bumper design, both in front and at the rear.
At the rear, the completely new combination light is fitted with LED lights that mimic the daytime running lights in the front, and Vitara GLX fans have the option of new polished 17” alloy rims. On the GLX, the front and rear bumpers are fitted with flush mounted parking sensors.
Suzuki has fitted the Vitara with new creature comforts but spent the most time and attention on the fit and feel of the interior.
As such, the upper instrument panel is now made from premium soft-touch materials and on the GLX specification level, there is a new seat trim material that is both more luxurious and hardy.
On the GL+ model, the designers have replaced the black stitching on all seats with contrasting white stitching and on the GLX specification level, the seats are covered with a combination of luxury suede and synthetic leather.
For the driver, Suzuki has fitted the GL+ and GLX models with a new 4.2" full-colour LCD information display and a 3.5" monochrome LCD on the GL specification level.
This screen displays information such as driving range, average speed, outside temperature, a gear shift indicator and, on AllGrip models, the selected Driving Mode.
Suzuki added a second large screen in its new Smart Linkage Display Audio system, which replaces the more traditional analogue system on the GL+ and GLX models.
This new touchscreen system features smartphone integration, built-in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity. It will display the reverse camera image in full colour.
As before, the Vitara has a very long list of standard features. These include electric windows (front only on the GL model), central locking, air conditioner with pollen filter, power steering and foldable rear seats.
For the GL+ and GLX spec levels, Suzuki added climate control, cruise control, a multifunction steering, all-round electric windows and chrome detailing.
And on the GLX model, designers have distinguished this top spec model with a unique instrument panel trim, keyless access with push-button Start/Stop and an electric tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof flanked by chromed roof rails.
Setting the standard for family safety
The Vitara has been a benchmark for family safety in its class, thanks to Suzuki’s decision to fit all models with seven airbags (including an airbag for the driver’s knees), electronic stability control (ESP) and ABS brakes with emergency brake assistance.
With this safety specifications, the Vitara received a full five-star rating in the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP).
All Vitara models are also equipped with three-point seatbelts for all passengers, ISOFIX anchorage points for child seats, high-mounted additional brake light and a full-size spare wheel.
Proven mechanical pedigree
Powering the car is the company’s popular 1.6 VVT petrol engine, which delivers 86kW at 6 000rpm and 156Nm at 4 400rpm and it’s mated to the choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.
As before, Suzuki will offer buyers the choice of either front-wheel drive or its intelligent adaptive AllGrip all-wheel-drive system.
The latter is available at the GLX specification level coupled with a manual gearbox.
Suzuki’s AllGrip system allows the driver to select between various driving modes on the fly.
In Auto Mode, the system will default to front-wheel drive in normal usage and automatically switch to all-wheel drive when the road conditions or driver inputs necessitate it.
In Sport Mode, the system will change engine and accelerator response, while delaying ESP intervention for a more spirited drive, and in Mud / Snow mode it will actively spread torque delivery between all four wheels to allow for possible slippery conditions.
Lastly, the driver can lock the Vitara in all-wheel-drive mode for speeds of up to 60km/h for greater peace of mind and maximum traction when conditions require it.
Large option list
As before, Vitara owners can customise their vehicles to their heart’s content thanks to a very comprehensive accessory catalogue.
This catalogue offers over eighty optional extras, including roof racks, bicycle racks, tow bars, cargo partitions, special deodorised air conditioning filters, custom door sills and even an electric cooler box for the luggage compartment.
Suzuki will also offer special customisation packs, such as the Suzuki Rugged Pack, which includes a pre-approved set of optional extras, such as front and rear silver scuff plates and other functional and cosmetic trim pieces.
The refreshed Vitara will be sold with Suzuki’s promotional 200 000km / 5-year vehicle warranty.
It also has a 4-year / 60 000km service plan and roadside assistance for the duration of the vehicle warranty.