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Suzuki Vitara

Date: 20 March 2019   |   Author: Simon Harris

Standard equipment:
Seven airbags, including driver's knee airbag, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, four electric windows, USB connector
Engines:
Petrol: 111hp 1.0, 140hp 1.4
Equipment grades:
SZ4, SZ-T, SZ5
Transmissions:
Five-speed manual, six-speed manual, six-speed automatic

The trend of downsizing to small, turbocharged petrol engines has been widespread in the quest to produce tax-efficient models that run on unleaded.

In many small cars, their benefits have eliminated the need to offer more expensive diesel variants, but when it replaces a diesel engine in an SUV, it is likely to raise an eyebrow or two.

Suzuki never produced its own diesel engines and has a history of partnerships with other suppliers, including PSA, Renault and Fiat, for its European models. But now its entire range is diesel-free - and that includes the latest version of the Vitara.

It was always going to be a bit of a struggle to claim that the sprightly turbocharged 1.4-litre Boosterjet petrol engine was an alternative to diesel, and especially the normally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine, which lacked both the torque and the fuel economy.

However, for the 2019 model year, Suzuki has replaced the 1.6-litre engine with the 1.0-litre Boosterjet. Despite being smaller than the 1.6-litre unit it replaced, a turbocharger makes it more responsive, as well as more frugal, at least on paper.

A new look

These changes come with other updates for the Vitara, including a redesigned radiator grille and lower bumper, while the rear lamps now incorporate a new LED display.

Inside, a new seat trim design is used on the whole range, while suede seat fabric is fitted on SZ5 models. The dashboard top is upgraded to a soft touch material and the instrument cluster now features a central colour information display.

Large -4417-Vitara Range

For customers choosing the SZ-T model, it has, over and above the equipment listed in the specification panel, 17in painted alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, white stitching for the seat trim fabric, and a Smartphone link audio and navigation system.

The top SZ5 models come with LED projector headlights, 17in polished alloy wheels, keyless entry with start button, traffic sign recognition (also fitted on all Allgrip 4WD models), blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control and panoramic sunroof.

Peppy petrol

The 1.0-litre engine, new to the Vitara in 2019, was already available in Baleno, S-Cross and Swift models. It produces 111hp, with 125lb-ft of torque available between 2,000 and 3,500rpm when equipped with the standard five-speed manual transmission.

Torque is limited to 118lb-ft for the optional six-speed automatic transmission, but the top end comes in a little lower down the rev range at 1,800rpm, and lasts until 4,000rpm.

The 140hp 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine has been available on the S equipment grade Vitara since 2016. For 2019, the S has been discontinued, with the 1.4 litre offered in SZ-T and SZ5 derivatives.

The two top equipment grades are also available with Suzuki's Allgrip four-wheel drive system.

Large -4441-The 2019model Vitara

The version with perhaps the most to offer company car users is the 1.0 Boosterjet SZ-T with two-wheel drive (focused on in our specification panel).

The Vitara is quite a light car, tipping the scales at 1,160kg - a fraction less than a Ford Fiesta 1.0T Ecoboost Titanium - so it ought to be generally as fuel efficient as any other small car around town.

Simple to drive

The controls are light and easy to use, and the elevated driving position offers a better view than traditional small hatchbacks - many of which would be in this price bracket.

It is possible that the chunkier shape of the Vitara compared with a small hatchback could mean it is a bit thirstier during sustained high-speed driving.

The Vitara is a pleasant and likeable entry-level SUV, and with the 1.0 Boosterjet engine it is an affordable alternative to a traditional small hatchback for fleets that are keen on employee retention and need to have models on their choice lists that stand out a little.

Suzuki Vitara 1.0 Boosterjet SZ-T 

P11D: £18,779

Residual value: 40%

Depreciation: £11,304

Fuel: £6,168

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,310

Cost per mile: 32.97p

Fuel consumption: 53.2mpg

CO2 (BIK band): 121g/km (25%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £78/£157

Boot space: 375 litres

Engine size/power: 998cc/111hp


Verdict


7/10
  • Nippy Boosterjet engine
  • Improved interior
  • Cheap for an SUV
  • Not as practical as other compact SUVs

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