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Suzuki Vitara All-Grip SUV – much improved with mid-model updates

Talking about Suzuki’s small SUV today, the Vitara – one of the first small SUV’s in the market when it arrived in 1988. Back then it had little competition but today it is one of 25 small SUV’s. Suzuki updated the Vitara earlier this year with more active safety features. It’s available in 2WD versions however I tested the only 4WD version – the 1.4-litre automatic turbo all-Grip at $33,990. For this money you’d expect it to be well equipped and Suzuki has lifted active safety equipment to keep pace with the competition. The Vitara All-Grip gains hill-descent control, a panoramic sunroof, combination leather/suede seats, front and rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control. That’s on top of seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag, two Isofix child seat anchorages on the outer rear seats. Little has changed visually on what is a pleasant looking small five-door SUV with a strong face and nice 17-inch alloy wheels and a five-start ANCAP safety rating. Little nuances spoilt it however. Suzuki, a Japanese company, but the Vitara is built in Hungary and the interior to me doesn’t ooze the quality you’d expect – the light shade cover under the panoramic sunroof offers little heat protection and is flimsy while a noticeable omission is the lack of rear air vents. Good interior room however front and back and with above average luggage space especially with the rear seats folded. On road the 1.4-litre turbo performance is very satisfying although it can get a little raucous when pushed hard. A nice effort from Suzuki but in a very competitive SUV segment with some excellent players. I’m David Berthon

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