Tell you what’s unexpectedly popular – videos about the Suzuki Vitara. In the space of two months in 2019, Nedahl and I reviewed Suzuki’s updated reboot of the SUV that defined a genre almost thirty years ago, and both videos blasted past 100,000 views.
I was mildly shocked because I’d misjudged how popular the Vitara is, not just in Australia, but around the world.
So popular is the Vitara that it became clear one of us in the CarsGuide office should spend a lengthy amount of time in one to find out what it’s like to have around for longer than a week.
Part 1 – September 2020
I’m not going to lie, I was very pleased the team picked me as the custodian of the long-term Vitara. I was extra-pleased when it turned out I’d be getting what I consider to be the best of the three-tier range, the Turbo.
I reckon it’s the best because the all-wheel drive one is only useful if you need that off-road capability. The front-wheel drive is fine on gravel.
The Vitara Turbo 2WD lands on your driveway at $31,990 drive-away (the usual price is $30,490), a solid $5500 more than the 1.6-litre base model. The extra $5500 is worth it alone for Suzuki swapping the gasping naturally aspirated four for a smaller capacity turbocharged four-cylinder with the charmingly ’80s tag ‘BoosterJet’.
Power may only be 103kW and torque a respectable 220Nm, but it weighs just 1100kg, give or take.
Worth noting Matt Campbell and I disagree on the merits of that base engine (and I don’t mind that he’s wrong), and Richard Berry agrees that it’s not that bad, unless you’ve driven the two engines back-to-back.
Standard are 17-inch alloys shod with excellent Continental tyres, Alcantara and fake-leather trim, six-speaker stereo, auto wipers and headlights, climate control, adaptive cruise, heated and folding rear vision mirrors, LED headlights, keyless entry and start, hill-descent control, sat nav and a space-saver spare.
The modest 7.0-inch screen runs the system you’ll find across most Suzukis and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The 2019 model year brought a stronger safety package, with forward AEB, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring, weaving alert and reverse cross-traffic alert, bringing it up to speed on that front.
Over the next few months we’ll be looking, as much as we can in this COVID-restricted world, at how the Vitara performs. It has a never-ending stream of competitors throwing the kitchen sink at this price point so a few months in the Alcantara-trimmed saddle, where the Vitara will meet many of its rivals, should prove its mettle.
Acquired: August 2020
Distance travelled this month: 220km
Average fuel consumption for [month]: 8.3L/100 (measured at the pump)