The Suzuki Vitara has always had a unique image with its off-road ability and fabric rear roof sections. Then in 2015, the more attractive fourth generation was launched into the SUV crossover market. The Vitara was updated with an edgier look, lots of fun personalisation options and fashionable colour schemes.
The interior doesn’t quite match the exterior when it comes to design, but it’s practical and has enough kit to satisfy most owners. It’s also well connected and there’s plenty of space for passengers, suitcases or a bike.
The engines are punchy and deliver excellent economy, while the ride comfort is pretty good.
In 2019, the Vitara received a number of updates, including a few styling changes and revisions to the engine line-up which have improved things even more.
While the exterior looks stylish, the interior is a bit more conventional with a fair amount of hard, dark plastic.
The buttons on the steering wheel provide easy access to functions like the infotainment system, which includes smartphone connectivity, navigation, music streaming and a DAB radio.
It has a decent driving position with lots of adjustment so you can find a really comfortable position. The armrests are well-positioned, there’s plenty of storage and there’s a good amount of leg and headroom for backseat passengers. All the seats are comfortable and will keep you relaxed over longer journeys.
Boot space is 375 litres so you’ll be able to fit in several small bags. You can expand the space to 700 litres if needs be by putting the back seats down. There’s also additional space beneath the boot floor.
The Vitara offers good ride comfort, particularly around town, reasonable handling and steering that’s geared more for tackling urban challenges than long and winding country roads.
Suzuki only changed the engine line-up in 2019 so the most used models will be the 1.6-litre petrol and diesel or the 1.4-litre Boosterjet turbocharged petrol versions. The diesel promises some very impressive fuel consumption figures, but the 1.4 is the most fun to drive with brisk acceleration. The new 1.0-litre Boosterjet, which arrived in 2019, has a good combination of efficiency and power.
There is an AllGrip all-wheel drive version available, but it’s less common than the two-wheel drive model. If you do need extra traction, the AllGrip is competent off-road. It’s capable of automatically switching between two and four-wheel drive depending on the conditions, but it’s also good on fuel as it will stay in two-wheel drive most of the time.
The Vitara hasn’t depreciated very much so you can expect to pay a similar amount to rivals like the Mazda CX-3 and Peugeot 2008. With claims of up to 70 mpg on the diesel and in the later 40s for the 1.4 turbo, the Vitara won’t need to visit the pumps too often.
Insurance costs are competitive and Suzuki service costs are very good, with fixed price servicing on cars under three years old and the option to buy a service plan on models less than six years old.
The Vitara has scored well with most owners when it comes to reliability. There have been a few electrical problems but the numbers reported are very small which means you shouldn’t have any major issues.
Safety is good with a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. All models have stability control and tyre pressure monitoring, but go for the range-topping SZ5 if you want adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring.
Best for economy - 1.6 DDiS
Best for family - 1.6 SZ-T Boosterjet SZ5
Best for fun - 1.4 Boosterjet SZ-T
Unless you really need the superb fuel consumption figures of the diesel, we’d suggest going with the 1.6 petrol or 1.4 Boosterjet petrol. The 1.6 petrol is very popular so you should have a lot of choice. The 1.4 is great fun to drive and if you drive carefully, it’s still economical.
When it comes to trim levels, the SZ4 is quite basic so the SZ-T is a good starting point. It ensures you have the touchscreen infotainment system and parking sensors. If safety is your top priority, then the SZ5 has all the bells and whistles.