Diesel may be the default choice for business drivers, but it’s far from the only fuel. The rapid growth in hybrid and pure EV sales is making headlines, but there’s increasingly a case to be made for petrol for some drivers.

The latest addition to our fleet, the Suzuki Vitara, is a case in point. There are two engine options – one petrol, one diesel. On the face of it, the 1.6 DDiS diesel would seem to be the version to go for, with carbon dioxide emissions from 106g/km putting it in the 19% bracket for Benefit-In-Kind taxation.

However, the 1.6-litre petrol is a reasonably efficient engine in its own right. Emissions of 123g/km mean that, with no 3% diesel surcharge to pay, it actually sits in the same BIK band as its diesel alternative.

Suzuki charges a £1500 premium for the DDiS, so a higher rate taxpayer would be better off to the tune of £114 per year driving the petrol.

Of course, the BIK figures are just one part of any fleet purchase decision but, for the end-user at least, the numbers do stack up well for petrol power, especially for low-mileage drivers.

Besides, an official combined figure of 53.3mpg is none too shabby. It’s early days, but over the car’s first
700 miles or so on test, the Vitara has returned 42.9mpg. I’m not surprised to miss the official figure, but hopefully we’ll get closer to it as the miles pile on and the engine loosens.

At first I found the engine a bit lacking. Most of my working life is spent driving diesels, so switching to a low-capacity petrol has taken a bit of getting used to. Peak pulling power doesn’t arrive until 4400rpm, so there’s a bridge-to-engine-room pause before anything much happens, unless you’re in the right gear.

However, while it’s certainly a steady performer at best, so long as the engine is worked hard the Suzuki will shift along at a respectable rate.

I’m more impressed with the ride, which I find very comfortable, and the high-set seating position, which took care of my dodgy back on a recent run from Surrey to Gloucestershire and back.

The list of high-tech kit on SZ5 spec is impressive for an £18,000 car and includes satnav and Bluetooth through the touchscreen system. There’s room for my three-year old’s buggy in the boot and my seven-year old loves the panoramic sunroof. So far, things are shaping up well.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ5

Mileage 3061
Official consumption 53.3mpg
Our average consumption 42.9mpg
Forecast/actual CPM 46.6p/49.4p
P11D price £18,444
Model price range £13,999-£22,549
Residual value 33.6%
Depreciation cost £13,244
Fuel £4664
Service, maintenance and repair £2130
Vehicle Excise Duty £40
National Insurance £1569
CO2 (BIK band) 123g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month £58/£117