Back in 2015, Japanese manufacturer Suzuki launched an all-new Vitara, a model that was a little softer than its predecessors, but one that has been a popular sight on our roads ever since.
Being designed more towards city and family life, the majority of Vitara’s on the road are of the two-wheel-drive variety, whilst for those who require something a little more able, there is a super-capable all-wheel-drive system available.
This latest version of the Vitara has received a little plastic surgery along with some heart surgery, as not only has it received a face-lift, making it a little more pleasing to the eye, it has had the option of a diesel engine removed completely.
Suzuki has also removed the old 1.6L petrol engine, that to be fair was a little lack-lustre, which leaves you now with the choice of two turbocharged petrol power-trains, both named ‘BoosterJet’ they come as either a 1.0L or a 1.4L in capacity.
The smaller of these engines has been seen in the latest Baleno for a short time now and in fairness, despite being a 3-cylinder unit, is more than adequate for most owners, especially those who don’t commute outside of the city much.
Producing 111PS, the turbocharger helps generate 170Nm propelling you to a top speed of 111mph with a 0-62mpg sprint in 11.5 seconds – this engine, depending on the trim level you opt for, is available with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed auto ‘box.
For me personally, as someone that would do more than average miles, including some long haul journeys from time to time, I’d opt for the larger 1.4L unit which has been seen in the Vitara S before, as well as in the all-new Suzuki Swift Sport.
Having driven both, I am a huge fan of this engine with its 140PS and commendable 220Nm of torque, seeing it to a top speed of 124mph with a sub 10 second 0- 62mph sprint, crossing the line in 9.5 seconds to be precise.
Available only on the upper two trim levels, this engine can be mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto ‘box. So with the engine line-up explained, what other changes have been made you ask?
Well, at the front end, the upper and lower grills have been redesigned along with a change of shape for the headlights whilst around the rear, restyled lights are now full LED and a couple of new colour options have been added, including the sublime ‘Ice Greyish Blue’ – yes, that’s actually the name of it.
With more safety features than before, the interior has been treated to some soft-touch, great news for those who thought the materials used previously were a little to rugged, but sadly, the soft-touch is on top of the dash, where you rarely touch.
For me, Suzuki should have concentrated on the door cards and control panels, as these are the areas you actually touch on a daily basis, and are still a little hard-wearing. One very welcomed convenience is that of a front, central armrest and a coloured digital screen now resides within the instrument cluster.
With pricing of the 2019 Vitara (which is available on forecourts now) starting from a mere £16,999, you can buy an ‘SZ-4’ model which comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, USB input and Bluetooth, cruise control, air conditioning, full electric windows and LED daytime running lights.
For me, the model to go for is the ‘SZ-T’ which starts from £18,999 and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, white stitching within the cabin and a reversing camera, along with navigation and smart-phone link.
If all of that is still not enough, you will need to stretch a little, to £23,849, which gets you a very well loaded ‘SZ-5’ model providing polished alloy wheels, LED projector headlights, suede upholstery, key-less entry, panoramic roof and automatic lights and wipers.
Safety is paramount on this spec with the addition of traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, dual sensor brake support and blind spot monitoring, though it does come at a premium, that I personally don’t see value in.
If you opt for an all-wheel-drive model, Suzuki’s ALLGRIP system uses feedback to send more torque to the rear wheels if it detects wheel spin at the front, it is a system that works incredibly well and offers four driver select modes as follows: Auto | Sport | Snow | Lock.
All in all, huge thumbs up from me on this latest incarnation of Suzuki’s most successful model, with the added punch from the boosterjet engines, as well as a 3-year, 60,000 mile warranty and attractive monthly payment options, what’s not to like?
I can genuinely see a 1.4L Vitara SZ-T two-wheel-drive and a Swift Sport on my drive in a couple of years time as the family steeds of choice!