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Suzuki Vitara 2015 review: snapshot

EXPERT RATING
7
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the 2015 Suzuki Vitara with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

The Suzuki Vitara is taking a fascinating new direction in its 4WD history, moving away from being a dedicated 4WD / SUV into the crossover field. Even more interesting is that it’s joining European marques in providing the sort of personalisation to give you a vehicle to exactly match your needs.

All Minis and Fiat’s 500 have been offering personalisation for years while the Renault Captur and the Citroen DS line-up have joined the customisation contest in recent times. Now Suzuki wants part of the action.

Styling cues carried over from previous models include the clamshell bonnet with its noticeable dummy air-vents now sitting at the foot of A-pillars. There’s a wide shoulder line as well as side style lines that kick at the rear doors then over the wheel arches. The rear is aimed at giving a sharp horizontal look that works nicely to our eyes.

Overall, the new Vitara is aimed more at being timeless in its lines, rather than a fashion statement today that could prove flans-in-the-pan and quickly fade. Which is where the Vitara's customisation comes in.

You can choose from 13 colour combinations, including eight two-tone finishes (love it!). It gets even better: the dashboard can be had in basic black or you can choose to have the external body colour repeated in wide slashes on the dash and instrument binnacle.

Forestry trails and beaches will be Vitara's natural habitat as families get out to enjoy life

Fascinatingly, there’s even a choice of radiator grilles, detailed finishes on the guards and - wait for it - choices of different clocks!

For a while the Vitara was marketed in Australia as the Grand Vitara, but that somewhat grandiose tag is no longer - it’s back to simply Suzuki Vitara again.

Longer and lower than the first Vitara the all-new 2015 model is more station wagon than SUV. However, its ground clearance of 185 mm will give it some off-road ability; forestry trails and beaches will be its natural habitat as families get out to enjoy life.

In the real world of suburban shopping and daily commuting the lower ride height is a positive, making for easy entry and exit, but still providing a higher than sedan/hatch driving position.

Or you can simply choose not to have AWD and opt for a Vitara with two-wheel drive if all you need is a bright and breezy suburban runabout.

Vitara’s power comes from a 1.6L four-cylinder unit putting out 86kW, and 156Nm of torque at a high 4400rpm. Transmission is by five-speed manual, only on the 2WD, or six-speed automatic.

We found the engine to have enough performance, but only just as it struggles at times on hills. Five-speed units are rare these days, an extra forward ratio in the manual improve matters.

Still faithful to its 4WD roots, new Vitara has multiple modes if you choose the all-wheel-drive (AWD) transmission. Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock. The latter mode should provide decent traction on sand and dirt in mild off-road conditions, but see our previous remarks about ground clearance. All our road testing at the Vitara media launch was done on sealed surfaces.

There's good interior space for four adults, with quite impressive rear seat legroom for a vehicle of this size. Headroom is as abundant as you would expect.

Verdict

Suzuki is one of the world leaders in small cars and new Vitara is an indication of how much it's involved not only in engineering but also the difficult task of reading the future. 

We feel the decision to tackle the 'soft roader with customisation' market is a smart one, and can see it doing pretty well in the sales race.

Does the Vitara win the customisation contest for compact SUVs? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2015 Suzuki Vitara pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$18,500
Based on 47 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$15,550
Highest Price
$23,985

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GL (2WD) (QLD) 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $11,660 – 15,620 2015 Suzuki Vitara 2015 GL (2WD) (QLD) Pricing and Specs
GL+ 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $12,320 – 16,500 2015 Suzuki Vitara 2015 GL+ Pricing and Specs
GLX (4x4) 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $18,040 – 22,880 2015 Suzuki Vitara 2015 GLX (4x4) Pricing and Specs
RT-S 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $11,110 – 15,290 2015 Suzuki Vitara 2015 RT-S Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Pricing Guide

$15,550

Lowest price, based on 46 car listings in the last 6 months

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