Car-like ca­pa­bil­i­ties and good looks at­tract­ing young driv­ers

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - GEELONG - WITH CAM WARD

THERE are needs and there are wants when it comes to buy­ing a car. Ev­ery Back To Fu­ture fan DeLorean, but does any­one need one?

My rel­a­tively sim­ple: air­con­di­tion­ing, cruise con­trol (I hate help­ing the state raise any more rev­enue than I to), a higher driv­ing po­si­tion (eas­ier to get in and out of at my age) good au­dio sys­tem, prob­a­bly with CD player (so I don’t need con­vert all discs files just yet).

There is no rea­son the world, then, why Suzuki Vi­tara shouldn’t be per­fect for me at this time of my life. The irony that it’s more likely to be peo­ple start­ing out their driv­ing ca­reer who seem to be com­ing around to its way of driv­ing.

The Vi­tara name has been for years with the Grand Vi­tara but this lat­est version was re­leased in Septem­ber in two ver­sions — the en­trylevel RT-S and higher-spec RT-X aimed squarely at compact SUV sec­tor.

Blood Suzuki sales con­sul­tant Tony Sa­muel­son says new Vi­tara is smaller than its Grand name­sake and “more car-like”.

The en­gine — a 1.6-litre four-cylin­der petrol in the RT-S RT-X smaller but power-to-weight ra­tio bet­ter, as is fuel econ­omy. Af­ter full week­end’s driv­ing RT-S, which in­cluded two trips to Mel­bourne with five adults aboard, I’d matched Suzuki’s claimed 5.8 litres/100km.

And it uses reg­u­lar un­leaded, which is a bonus.

“This what the ‘hot mar­ket’ seems to be at mo­ment — compact SUV-type ve­hi­cle,” Sa­muel­son said.

“It’s as ver­sa­tile in­side as what the Grand Vi­tara is.

“Your fuel econ­omy’s quite a bit bet­ter . . . it han­dles more like car.

“We’ve had peo­ple up­grade from Swift be­cause they want some­thing that’s slightly big­ger but not huge.”

Also not huge is the price — $22,990 on road for RT-S man­ual.

‘We’ve had peo­ple up­grade from Swift be­cause they want

some­thing that’s slightly big­ger but not huge.’


Sa­muel­son said the Vi­tara was prov­ing pop­u­lar with younger driv­ers, who were at­tracted by its looks as well as its mix of tech­nol­ogy.

Even on RT-S, Blue­tooth, sat­nav, Ap­ple CarPlay/Mir­rorLink in­ter­face, re­vers­ing cam­era, touch­screen and iPod/USB ports are stan­dard.

The thing prospec­tive buy­ers need to be aware of is the one big dif­fer­ence be­tween RT-S RT-X.

Apart from touches of com­fort — key­less en­try and start, sun­roof, leather/suede seats, au­to­matic head­lights (that are also auto lev­el­ling)

rain-sens­ing wipers, the RT-X is all­wheel-drive, while RT-S fron­twheel drive.

Just re­mem­ber which is which when you’re choos­ing the model in to rough it on week­end.

Away from bush tracks, RT-S is a smooth and steady ride with some nicely un­ex­pected touches.

Per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence tells me while it will seat five, four adults would be a bet­ter max­i­mum if you want to avoid all-out civil war in the back seat.

At least seam­less Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity made for ready peace­maker with an al­most un­lim­ited playlist.

Like me, you may do a dou­ble take the first time look in the side mir­rors. I ini­tially thought petrol cap was open — not that I knew where it was at the time — but closer in­spec­tion re­vealed it to be curve of the rear quar­ter panel as flares over wheel. The ana­logue clock in mid­dle air vents on dash is a nice retro touch. At the other end spec­trum, re­vers­ing cam­era’s clar­ity is per­haps best I have yet ex­pe­ri­enced.

And boot space can be made big­ger by means of a clever sliding lug­gage board. Nat­u­rally the 60:40 rear seats fold down.

In short, if your off-road needs are not para­mount and you make do with­out some of life’s lit­tle lux­u­ries, RT-S is hap­pily up to chal­lenge.

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