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

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

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.

DE­SIGN/TECH ★★★★

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.

EN­GINE ★★★

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.

DRIV­ING ★★★★

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.

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