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Suzuki Vitara review 2019

Find out more about the Suzuki Vitara in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£13,432
Average Price
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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Good interior tech levels
  • Relatively involving to drive

Cons

  • Build quality not the best
  • Not as efficient as rivals
  • Not the most spacious
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    104 - 111 g/km

Model review

The Suzuki Vitara is an SUV which has been with us for some time now. Throughout the years it has come to represent good value motoring in the small SUV segment, with many opting for the Vitara as a car that can conquer trickier conditions on the off chance they surface – rather than a vehicle you go out searching for adventure in.

Now in its fourth generation, it’s a car which has evolved continuously yet retained the same key values. It has also come to offer more in-car technology than ever before, as well as a variety of cutting-edge safety assistance systems.

And though the crossover and SUV segment has boomed in recent years, the Vitara has done surprisingly well to keep up with the times, changing and adapting to climates as it has aged. Even though it’s become a more complex car than ever, it has still maintained that value-driven approach which has proved popular with buyers across the UK.

Current model

The latest, fourth-generation model Vitara was first unveiled at the 2014 Paris motor show. It debuted a fresh, angular look which both blended well with Suzuki’s design language as well as establishing the Vitara as a standalone car in its own right.

It arrived with a series of new, cleaner engines too, along with the option of either full four-wheel-drive (known as AllGrip in Suzuki-speak), and a two-wheel-drive version for those for who all-out traction was less of a priority.

A series of trim levels meant that buyers had a variety of different looks and designs to opt for, and there was the option of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox too.

A facelifted version of the Vitara arrived in 2018; this was no all-new model, more an update to keep the compact SUV looking fresh. A more comprehensive range of safety equipment was included as standard too, as well as a new interior display. It now came with traffic sign recognition technology for the first time too. The exterior changes were blink-and-you’ll-miss-them different though – you’d be hard pressed to notice the facelifted version of the standard 2015 car. However, if you want a car with the very latest systems and tech, then this is the one to opt for.

Value for money

Stroll into a Suzuki dealership, and you’ll have to part with £16,999 to get the keys to a new Vitara. That seems like excellent value to us; it’ll secure an entry-level SZ4 model which, despite being bottom of the specifications list, still gets premium features such as 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and LED daytime running lights. There’s only one standard paint choice – flat white – with all other shades commanding a £500 price tag. Still, that doesn’t seem like too much of a premium when you consider the price that the Vitara is starting at.

Residual values are something that have troubled Suzuki models for some time, but it does mean there are bargains to snatch up if you’re willing to go through the classifieds. For instance, you could get a mid-range SZ-T model with just 2,104 miles on the clock for just over £14,000 – so there’s certainly method in checking through the used car market.

 

Looks and image

Although the Vitara is a somewhat older addition in the compact crossover segment, it’s still a fresh looking car – in our eyes at least. As mentioned the 2018 refresh brought minimal changes to the exterior design, but that at least helped to give it a small boost. It’s a compact car – it’s shorter than the Vitara generation it replaces, in fact – but its styling gives it a larger-than-life appearance, and it dominates the road far more successfully than you’d have expected given its compact size. In all, it’s a well-rounded look and one that seems to be standing the test of time.

Space and practicality

Any small SUV needs to offer at least some level of practicality, and fortunately the Vitara ticks the boxes. There’s a decent amount of room for those sat up front, with a smattering of cubbyholes and cupholders there to help keep the interior as clutter-free as possible.

Those in the back are equally well looked after. Rear-seat headroom is diminished slightly thanks to the car’s raked roofline – so we’d argue that if you’re looking to take taller passengers quite frequently, then other options may be a better choice.

Boot space is decent too; there’s 375 litres to play with when you’ve got the rear seats in place, and this can be increased to 1,160 litres by folding the rear seats down. It’s more than you’ll find in the Nissan Juke, in comparison. It’s also a very square boot, which should make loading bulkier items inside that bit easier. There aren’t any intrusions into the load area to diminish space, either.

 

Engines

The range of engines offered with the Vitara is quite compact – there are just two, in fact – but it could be argued that this makes deciding which powertrain to go for that bit simpler.

Things kick off with a 1.0-litre turbocharged ‘Boosterjet’ unit. It packs 109bhp and will get the Vitara from 0-60mph in 11.3 seconds which may not sound all that quick, but it feels snappy enough for a car of this size. Plus there’s plenty of torque to hand, so there’s a bit more flexibility in the powertrain than you’d expect.

This is followed up by a larger, more powerful 1.4-litre engine. This will help the Vitara to crack that 0-60mph sprint in 9.2 seconds, and does give the car a sportier feeling overall. It’s refined and smooth engine too, though a word of warning – it’s only available on the top two trim levels.

Running costs

Running costs for the Vitara may not be the cheapest when compared to other cars in the segment, but they’re still far from scary.

Suzuki claims that the two-wheel-drive Vitara powered by the 1.0-litre engine will return 45.9mpg in manual form, or 41.7mpg when fitted with the automatic gearbox. Emissions-wise, the Vitara will put out 121 or 129g/km CO2 respectively. Of course, select a four-wheel-drive version and these figures will be hit considerably, too.

When it comes to the larger 1.4-litre-powered Vitara, Suzuki claims that you’ll get up to 43.6mpg in the manual car, or 39.8mpg in the automatic variant. CO2 figures are 131g/km and 133g/km respectively – so the smaller 1.0-litre version is by far the cleanest option here.

Things to look out for

Though the interior of the Vitara feels quite cheaply finished, it does give the impression that it’s been built to stand up to plenty of abuse. When it comes to reliability, there shouldn’t be too many headaches here – Suzuki has a strong reputation when it comes to building cars which stand the test of time, and we’d expect the Vitara to be an extension of this.

 

Rivals

As the years have gone by, the number of rivals for the Vitara has increased considerably. There’s the Nissan Juke – which is due to be replaced for an all-new model imminently – along with cars such as the Peugeot 208 and Renault Captur. A new wave of Volkswagen Group cars stand in the Vitara’s way too, such as the impressively refined Seat Arona, or the recently introduced Skoda Kamiq. Both eclipse the Vitara in terms of interior finish by some margin, and the Skoda gets close to the Suzuki’s level of value too – though can’t quite reach it.

 

Depreciation

As we’ve mentioned already, depreciation is an area where the Vitara suffers. Because of that budget entry cost, even if the price of a used car falls by a slight amount it still means that a version with few miles on the clock won’t command a huge price tag. Suzuki is a brand which, in general, has historically suffered with depreciation, and that’s certainly the case with the Vitara.

Which Vitara to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.4 Boosterjet 48V Hybrid SZ4 5dr

Most MPG

1.4 Boosterjet 48V Hybrid SZ4 5dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

1.4 Boosterjet 48V Hybrid SZ4 5dr

Trims Explained

There are just three trim levels to choose from with the Vitara – again, helping to keep things simple.

SZ4

Things kick off with the SZ4 which, as we’ve discussed, includes 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth alloys and chrome accents. It’s a well-appointed specification, and certainly represents excellent value for money.

From £16,900.

SZ-T

Up next comes SZ-T. This adds cruise control, a rear parking camera and DAB digital radio. One of the biggest additions is satellite navigation, while the exterior appearance is given a boost thanks to larger 17-inch alloy wheels. There’s a wealth of equipment available here, and given that SZ-T cars start from £18,999, it’s still not going to break the bank.

Starts from £18,999.

SZ5

At the top of the pile comes SZ5, bringing with it the most comprehensive list of equipment and tech available on the Vitara. A panoramic sunroof is an addition which will help lighten up the cabin considerably, while keyless entry is a system which gives the Vitara a premium feel.

From £22,360.

Summary

  1. 2018 cars get a minor update
  2. Prices start at £16,999
  3. Just two petrol engines are available
  4. Used models represent great value for money
  5. Economy is behind rival models
  6. All-wheel-drive dents consumption and emissions
  7. Boot space is good and can be extended easily
  8. Rear seats are a little cramped
  9. Top-spec cars get an abundance of tech
  10. Goes against myriad of rivals in the segment

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