The brunette of the group, Suzuki’s Vitara

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5 years has passed since Suzuki launched their current generation Vitara. Interesting, their second-generation Vitara is still in production for select markets. That’s a 15-year production run. Nice Suzuki! If the customers are still calling you, keep flipping those burgers, so to speak.


Mid last year the current Suzuki saw some tweaks - now featuring the brand’s 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and their punchy 1.4-l turbocharged motor. This model addition is called the Vitara Turbo.


It took Suzuki a long time to add a turbocharged motor to their product offering, so when they did, you best believe it’s going to be tested and re-tested for reliability. That’s a good thing – a blown turbocharger is pricey to replace.  


From a performance perspective, the motor offers a considerable advantage over its naturally aspirated brethren - producing 103 kW and 220 Nm. Not mind-blowing, but when fitted to a lightweight rigid body with a quick-shifting 6-speed manual or automatic gearbox, overtaking is a walk in the park. Also notable, the torque band is available in a completely linear way from 1 500 to 4 000 rpm. This power advantage over the 1.6 litre GLX that delivers 86 kW at 6 000 rpm and 156 Nm at a peak of 4 400rpm. Most notably, the difference can be felt in acceleration. 2 seconds is shaved off the 100 km/h sprint dropping the dash to 9 seconds for the turbocharged model. 


Being a Suzuki, you know fuel economy is a given. Despite its turbocharger, modest and rational driving will see fuel consumption levels falling between a 6-7-l consumed per 100 km. Drive like an Uber and you could achieve less. I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed driving vigorously due to its engaging motor and light-wristed manual gearbox and still only used 9 litres over a 100kms.


The Vitara Turbo vaunts the same specification and equipment levels of the range-topping

GLX grade. These include 17” alloy wheels and the choice of five solid colours and seven dual-tone combinations, where the body colour is contrasted by the choice of a black or white roof, depending on the colour chosen.

The Vitara Turbo is also equipped with LED daytime running lights and, in this configuration, LED head and brake lights, with a set of silver roof rails and chrome detailing in the front grille and under the fog lamps.

The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system features smartphone connectivity and reverse camera with image display on the system to the Turbo, which offers complete mobile phone integration with in-build Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink systems. The system includes an SD slot, a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free dialling and voice control for many of the infotainment features.


I highlight - the quilted leather and suede upholstery combination that wraps around the supportive seats. Additionally, you get automatic LED headlamps, with LED daytime running lights and automatic rain-sensing wipers.


It is a nice package from Suzuki. My concern isn’t to question the offering but rather the offering when considering the 20 odd competitors. There is some stiff opposition that offers new technology in fresher designs. If you are looking for value, longevity and reliability, I would strongly consider the Vitara Sport. 


The competition

Citroën C3 Aircross, Fiat 500X, Ford EcoSport, Haval H2, Honda BR-V, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Venue, Hyundai Creta, Jeep Renegade, KIA Seltos, Mahindra XUV300, Mazda CX-3, Opel Mokka X, Peugeot 2008, Renault Duster, Renault Captur, Renault Triber, Toyota Rush, and Volkswagen T-Cross.  



The pricing

Vitara 1.6 GL R289 900

Vitara 1.6 GL + R327 900

Vitara 1.6 GL + Auto R347 900

Vitara GLX R375 900

Vitara GLX AllGrip R385 900

Vitara 1.4T GLX R380 900

Vitara 1.4T GLX Auto R399 900



The service and warranty

The Suzuki Vitara Turbo is sold with Suzuki’s promotional 200 000km / 5-year mechanical warranty and a full 6-year / unlimited kilometre warranty against corrosion. Suzuki has also added a 24//7 roadside assistance plan for the same period as the warranty and a comprehensive 4-year / 60 000km service plan.


My Choice

Vitara 1.4T GLX R380 900

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