SUZUKI VITARA RT-S
A city-sized SUV takes on a staplep hatch in the mid-$20 bracket. Joshua Dowling g rates an updated pair with plenty in common
VALUE ★★★ 1/2
At $25,490 drive-away, it’s one of the best equipped city-sized SUVs for the money. Standard fare includes navigation, rear camera, 17-inch alloys, privacy glass and daytime running lights. Servicing over three years is $1540 but if you stay with Suzuki dealers for each routine service your warranty climbs from three years/100,000km to five years/140,000km.
Not as rugged-looking as earlier models because Suzuki has embraced the trend to car-like styling. Well designed interior has more cargo and storage space than the Corolla but some of the plastics feel cheap. The doors can feel stiff to open and close. No volume dial on touchscreen. The black roof
(pictured) adds $995.
Don’t be put off by the 1.6-litre four-cylinder (86kW/156Nm) as it’s more than enough for city, suburban and highway use. It’s one of the key reasons the Vitara is so fuel-efficient (we averaged 6.0L/100km with a mix of driving and got 10L/100km around town). The five-speed manual is OK but the six-speed auto is the pick.
SAFETY ★★★★ 1/2
Seven airbags (including one for the driver’s knee) and five-star safety rating. Rear-view camera has a clear image — even at night — but guiding lines are fixed, rather than turning with the steering. Two rear Isofix child seat anchor points. No auto headlights but daytime running lights.
It’s easier to fit into tight spots than the Corolla. The tall driving position is a big plus for all-round vision. Tyre grip is good, the suspension is supple over bumps and the electric power steering is well weighted in most situations. However, it can feel slightly twitchy in the straight ahead position above 80km/h.