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2022 Suzuki Vitara to lead renewed SUV charge and step up against Kia Seltos, Mitsubishi ASX, Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-30

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The current Vitara launched in 2015, so the next-generation model can't come soon enough. (Image credit: Best Car Web)
The current Vitara launched in 2015, so the next-generation model can't come soon enough. (Image credit: Best Car Web)

Suzuki is reportedly preparing three all-new or revised SUVs for release from next year, starting with a redesigned Vitara, the long-awaited return of a larger SUV that might wear the Grand Vitara badge, and another facelift of the S-Cross.

The mainstay of the trio is the next-generation Vitara, which – if some reports are to be believed – may be unveiled internationally well before the end of this year, ahead of an early-to-mid 2021 global rollout that will of course include Australia.

Aimed directly at the small-SUV brigade as defined by the Kia Seltos, Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-30, Toyota CH-R, Honda HR-V and Hyundai Kona, the 2022 Vitara is said to employ an evolution of the existing LY model’s ‘B’ lightweight modular architecture.

This means that the basic compact dimensions – including the 2500mm wheelbase and circa-1775mm width – may be retained. However, the 2022 Vitara’s monocoque body is anticipated to be slightly larger and more rounded off in silhouette,to offer up a more spacious interior and cargo area.

Renderings published by Best Car Web point to fussier styling than what’s found on the current version released in 2015, but despite that added curvature, it should still remain a chunky yet compact SUV with good visibility and useful ground clearance.

Engine choices mentioned include a variation of the lauded 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol unit known as Boosterjet, as well as the smaller 1.0-litre turbo triple as offered in some European markets.

Whether the 1.6-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine that has been the mainstay of the current Vitara will carry over isn’t certain. Expanded electrification will feature in some of the more advanced grades, said to include 48-volt batteries and regenerative braking to help increase engine efficiency. Today’s front- and All Grip all-wheel drive configurations will carry on through.

Speaking of off-road capability, the long-awaited return of the Grand Vitara is expected sometime next year, but what form this takes remains shrouded in mystery.

Will it simply be an elongated 2022 Vitara with possibly a third row of seats, or will the next-gen Grand continue in the tradition of the old XL-7 (sold in Australia from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s) by adopting a larger, ladder-frame chassis and properly off-road-biased four-wheel-drive system?

Last year, Suzuki Australia general manager Michael Pachota told CarsGuide that the company generally does not abandon nameplates, especially ones where there is an appetite for the type of vehicle it adorns.

"I can't confirm it, but based on what I've heard, I don't think Grand Vitara is dead," he said at the time.

"Based on Suzuki's history with the Grand Vitara model, I would say it would be living up to its heritage. In saying that, and when we're talking about the word 'Grand', it would say it would be a bigger and more capable vehicle… and Suzuki customers definitely want an XL-7.”

Please note that the rumoured XL-7-style seven-seater SUV is unrelated to the Suzuki Ertiga wagon-based XL7 crossover sold in India and some South East Asian markets.

Finally, yet another facelift of the ageing S-Cross is scheduled for Australia over the next few months, we hear, but this is more of a refresh, with only minor changes that are limited to the bumpers, wheels and interior trim, as well as a possible multimedia update.

There are more Suzuki SUVs in the pipeline – most awaited is the long-rumoured Jimny five-door wagon – while a baby crossover is also speculated to be in the works for some markets, though whether this ultimately means Australia isn’t known at this stage.

As for the recently revealed Suzuki Across – a modified (and some say prettier) version of the super-successful Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid designed primarily for low-emissions markets like Europe – it is unlikely to arrive in Australia any time soon.

Byron Mathioudakis
Contributing Journalist
Byron started his motoring journalism career when he joined John Mellor in 1997 before becoming a freelance motoring writer two years later. He wrote for several motoring publications and was ABC Youth radio Triple J's "all things automotive" correspondent from 2001 to 2003. He rejoined John Mellor in early 2003 and has been with GoAutoMedia as a senior product and industry journalist ever since. With an eye for detail and a vast knowledge base of both new and used cars Byron lives and breathes motoring. His encyclopedic knowledge of cars was acquired from childhood by reading just about every issue of every car magazine ever to hit a newsstand in Australia. The child Byron was the consummate car spotter, devoured and collected anything written about cars that he could lay his hands on and by nine had driven more imaginary miles at the wheel of the family Ford Falcon in the driveway at home than many people drive in a lifetime. The teenage Byron filled in the agonising years leading up to getting his driver's license by reading the words of the leading motoring editors of the country and learning what they look for in a car and how to write it. In short, Byron loves cars and knows pretty much all there is to know about every vehicle released during his lifetime as well as most of the ones that were around before then.
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