Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet SZ5 AllGrip Auto
SUV buyers need
something more than just 4x4 to
pique their interest
a petrol engine. Which is where
popular Vitara comes in,
fresh to the fray with not one
but two new petrol powerplants...
THREE POT OR FOUR, the Vitara offers you both: a 109bhp 1.0-litre triple
and a 138bhp 1.4-litre four. For the record, none of the previous engines have
been carried over into the 2019-year facelifted models and the diesel engines
have been banished from the line-up.
But, as the King in Alice in Wonderland said: begin at the beginning.
With the Vitara that would be the looks. And they're a well-judged blend of
chic and cheeky, exuding that polished self-confidence of a Range Rover Evoque.
At the front the Vitara uses a clamshell bonnet, LED projector lights and a
vertically chrome-barred grille to great effect; character sculpting on the
doors flows into purposeful rear shoulders with distinctive stand-proud LED
combination lamps, all smartly topped by a clean-cut, black-roofed glasshouse.
But smart looks don't alone a SUV make four-wheel drive still counts
for a lot too. And in the Vitara's case, it's there for the asking; optional
with both engines. Better yet, you can also specify it with an automatic gearbox
in the top-of-the-range 1.4 SZ5.
new-for-2019 look continues inside there's plenty of room in the five-seater
cabin and first impressions are good with a well-judged mix of sporty and swish,
boosted by some appealing metallic trim and soft material touchpoints. It's
also a welcomingly airy interior courtesy of the genuinely panoramic powered
sunroof (one of the largest in the class) that extends over the front and rear
seats and lets you feel Mr Sun's warmth on your face with no buffeting; shut,
there's a powered opaque sunblind.
looks dont alone
a SUV make four-
wheel drive still counts
for a lot too. And in the
Vitaras case, its there
for the asking; optional
with both engines.
Better yet, you can also
specify it with an
automatic gearbox in the
range-topping 1.4 SZ5...
The front seats are set high and upholstered in a tactile suede with firm bolstering;
they also provide strong lumbar and shoulder support and hat-wearers can keep
theirs on. Both seats are height adjustable, and the seatbelts too. The view
over the bonnet is perfect (as too is it through the back screen) while the
sporty three-spoke multifunction wheel's leather-wrapped rim fits satisfyingly
in your palms. Placing and parking is a doddle, thanks to the generous-sized
windows, rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors.
Ratcheting up the ambiance is an efficient climate control system as well as
a pair of stylish pin-sharp dials either side of a multi-mode colour driver's
display this shows a range of information including the posted speed
limit and a digital speed readout. Remote controls for phone, voice, media,
cruise, and speed limiter are to be found on the steering wheel.
Comms are accessed via the seven-inch infotainment touchscreen set in the heart
of the fascia with smartphone linkage via Android Auto, MirrorLink, or Apple
CarPlay that also facilitates receiving directions for optimised traffic conditions,
listening to music, accessing email, text messaging, etc. The navigation is
crystal clear (both visually and commands-wise) with 3D mapping plus there's
an audio system, DAB digital radio, and Bluetooth connectivity with USB.
certainly don't go short on kit in the SZ5 along with all the other items
mentioned elsewhere in this review there is keyless entry with a Start button,
tinted and privacy glass, powerfolding heated door mirrors, electric windows
(the driver's is one-shot), auto lights and wipes, adaptive cruise control with
speed limiter, aluminium pedal set, hill hold, tyre pressure monitoring, LED
projector headlamps with automatic headlamp levelling, LED daytime running lights,
seven airbags (including one for the driver's knee), roof rails, and 17-inch
gloss black and machine-faced alloy wheels. The Vitara also comes with a five-star
EuroNCAP safety rating.
footprint the Vitara
has room for five and the
back cabin offers more
space than you can
shake a stick at;
theres loads of foot
room, good knee room
and the backrests are set
at relaxing angles
even three can sit
amicably side by side...
making it easy to live with are the numerous practical storage solutions including
deep bottle-holding door bins (all four doors), several open cubbies, separate
dual-use cupholders, a generous storage box under the sliding armrest between
the front seats, a lit glovebox, and a drop-down glasses case.
its socially-acceptable 4.1-metre footprint the Vitara has room for five and
the back cabin offers more space than you can shake a stick at; there's loads
of foot room, good knee room and the backrests are set at relaxing angles
even three can sit amicably side by side. Wide opening doors they open
to a full ninety degrees make it easy for grown-ups as well as slotting
small ones into child seats. For your refreshment, bottles can be carried in
the door bins, helping to make the Vitara's airy rear cabin a particularly pleasant
place in which to travel.
The turboed 1.4 Boosterjet unit delivers substantially more power and a wider
torque band that's an impressive 41 percent more than the outgoing 1.6-litre
engine. With 138bhp and 162lb ft on call between 1,500 and 4,000rpm, extracting
get-up-and-go via your right foot is satisfyingly easy and makes upping a canter
to a gallop a pleasantly smooth affair the 1.4 feels as lively pulling
up steep hills as it does accelerating from low-down, while at the top end you'll
find 124mph waiting for you.
two-pedal fans will appreciate its smooth-changing autobox, steering wheel paddle-shifters
set close to the driver's fingertips offer slick manual changes either short-term,
for a timely overtake, or for longer if the selector lever is flicked into its
for when pressing on with real verve is what you need then the Sport mode, which
also makes maximal use of the four-wheel drive, really wakes up the 1.4-litre.
You'll find Sport close to the selector lever; it's one of the four settings
on the foolproof push/twist AllGrip controller that also offers Auto (2WD but
switching to 4WD whenever necessary), Snow, and all-wheel drive Lock for extricating
the Vitara from snow, mud, or sand.
two-wheel drive SINOs
enables genuine off-road
capability. Aiding this is
185mm of ground
clearance, Hill Descent
Control, and off-road-
friendly approach and
departure angles that are
also handy negotiating
deeply rutted or snow-
More good news: cruising at the UK's legal limit is refined and fuel-efficient
even the Combined Cycle official figure comes in at 44.8mpg. Given that
our week's hard driving saw 42.3mpg, matching the official number should be
Unlike many competitor two-wheel drive SINOs (SUV-in-name-only), the Vitara's
AllGrip 4WD system enables genuine off-road capability. Aiding this is 185mm
of ground clearance, Hill Descent Control, and off-road-friendly approach and
departure angles (respectively 18.2- and 28.2-degrees) that are also handy negotiating
deeply rutted or snow-covered roads.
all-wheel drive also ups the Vitara's game on-road; the extra traction helps
to keep the nose on track through bends and is particularly supportive when
pushing-on through the twisties. The steering is nicely progressive, turn-in
is sharp and body lean well managed, and along with great visibility and compact
dimensions, makes the Vitara both wieldy and easily placed.
And, come winter, there's nothing more reassuring than having traction at each
corner (just twist the AllGrip control knob to Snow). Did we mention the braking?
Well, with discs all round, vented at the front, it's strong and drama free,
exactly as you'd want it to be.
Also good to know is that even in everyday road traffic there's plenty of safety
and 'assists' looking out for you Lane Departure Warning and Prevention
not only warns you at speeds above 37mph if you depart your lane without indicating
but, if you do, it will also apply an automatic input to the steering to ensure
the car remains in its correct direction of travel.
changing at speeds above 10mph is now even safer with the addition of Blind
Spot Monitor. If you indicate to change lanes and this spots a vehicle approaching
in the rear blind spot on either side of the vehicle, it warns you in time to
ride is compliant
and comfortable even
in Sin City the
out speed humps, broken
blacktop and potholes
with minimal fuss.
It helps too that the
alloys arent skinned in
go-faster lo-pro rubber
but proper 215/55
that contribute to the
ride and much as to
Rear Cross Traffic Alert is another must-have. At speeds of up to 5mph when
reversing out of car parking spaces, this warns of vehicles approaching from
either side. It will save your bodywork (and pride) in all manner of parking
Naturally there's also an electronic stability programme as well as Dual Sensor
Brake Support this advanced forward detection system supplies a collision
warning with automatic braking. From approximately 3mph to 62mph, if the system
determines a risk of collision with an obstacle ahead it issues both audio and
visual warnings. If there's a high risk of a collision and the driver panic
brakes, the system deploys Brake Assist, increasing braking force. And when
the risk of a collision is more urgent, the system applies full automatic braking
in an effort to avoid the collision or reduce damage.
The Vitara's ride is compliant and comfortable even in Sin City the suspension
smoothes out speed humps, broken blacktop and potholes with minimal fuss. It
helps too that the alloys aren't skinned in go-faster lo-pro rubber but 'proper'
215/55 'comfort'-profile tyres that contribute to the ride and much as to the
the tailgate and you'll find a deep and well thought-out 375-litre boot with
a two-level floor that, in its top position, sits flush with a lip-free load
sill and the folded 60:40-split rear backrests when they're parked for cargo
duty. The floor panel-cum-luggage board can also be used to divide up the boot
area or simply removed to make good use of the lower underfloor section.
Outer boot 'pockets' have removable sides for accommodating wider loads, bag
hooks are provided, and the lightweight rear parcel shelf-cum-luggage cover
can be quickly removed and stowed. For those occasions when the boot alone is
not enough, dropping the rear seatbacks opens it up to a 710-litre loadbay with
a seamless floor. Alternately, you can tow a braked 1,200kg.
Say hello to a good buy! Drive a Vitara for even a short trip and it will come
as no surprise that Suzuki's handsome compact SUV enjoys a strong following
the new Boosterjet petrol engines and £17K-£25K pricing make it an attractive
choice, and despite all the 2019-year upgrades it's still less expensive than
most of its classmates. ~ MotorBar
Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet SZ5 AllGrip Auto
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds | Test Average: 42.3mpg
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 162lb ft | CO2: 143g/km