I'm not going to lie, I was very pleased the team picked me as the custodian of the long-term Vitara. I was extra-pleased when it turned out I'd be getting what I consider to be the best of the three-tier range, the Turbo.
The Vitara Turbo 2WD lands on your driveway at $31,990 drive-away (the usual price is $30,490), a solid $5500 more than the 1.6-litre base model. The extra $5500 is worth it alone for Suzuki swapping the gasping naturally aspirated four for a smaller capacity turbocharged four-cylinder with the charmingly '80s tag 'BoosterJet'.
Power may only be 103kW and torque a respectable 220Nm, but it weighs just 1100kg, give or take.
Worth noting Matt Campbell and I disagree on the merits of that base engine (and I don't mind that he's wrong), and Richard Berry agrees that it's not that bad, unless you've driven the two engines back-to-back.
Standard are 17-inch alloys shod with excellent Continental tyres, Alcantara and fake-leather trim, six-speaker stereo, auto wipers and headlights, climate control, adaptive cruise, heated and folding rear vision mirrors, LED headlights, keyless entry and start, hill-descent control, sat nav and a space-saver spare.
The 2019 model year brought a stronger safety package, with forward AEB, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring, weaving alert and reverse cross-traffic alert, bringing it up to speed on that front.
Over the next few months we'll be looking, as much as we can in this COVID-restricted world, at how the Vitara performs. It has a never-ending stream of competitors throwing the kitchen sink at this price point so a few months in the Alcantara-trimmed saddle, where the Vitara will meet many of its rivals, should prove its mettle.
Acquired: August 2020
Distance travelled this month: 220km
Average fuel consumption for [month]: 8.3L/100 (measured at the pump)