SUZUKI’S ICONIC SUV RE­TURNS

With prices of the Vi­tara start­ing un­der P1 mil­lion

Business World - - MOTORING - By Kap Maceda Aguila

THE mil­lion-peso mark has tra­di­tion­ally been an im­por­tant ref­er­ence point for sellers — par­tic­u­larly in an auto in­dus­try still seen to be price sen­si­tive. South of that mark, the per­ceived and prac­ti­ca­ble ac­ces­si­bil­ity of a ve­hi­cle ex­po­nen­tially in­creases. Yet, posited within this con­text, it is also an ac­cepted irony that the av­er­age Filipino seems to pre­fer SUVs — which are ex­pected to breach that price point and psy­chic bar­rier.

Suzuki is let­ting buy­ers have their cake and eat it, too. The fa­mous SUV name­plate first un­veiled in 1988 is back with an all­new it­er­a­tion. The fourth gen­er­a­tion — which was ac­tu­ally de­buted glob­ally at the Paris Mo­tor Show in 2014 — is said to be largest in its class, while of­fer­ing the “best value in terms of de­sign, per­for­mance, and fuel ef­fi­ciency,” ac­cord­ing to Suzuki Philip­pines au­to­mo­bile di­vi­sion GM Shuzo Hoshikura in a state­ment. The ex­ec­u­tive added that the Vi­tara is also cus­tom­iz­a­ble, and car­ries a “wide ar­ray of col­ors and ac­ces­sory pack­ages.”

The SUV is 1,775 mil­lime­ters wide, 1,610 mil­lime­ters tall and 4,175 mil­lime­ters long — with a min­i­mum ground clear­ance of 185 mil­lime­ters — while boast­ing the light­est curb weight in its cat­e­gory. Un­der the hood is a 1.6-liter en­gine de­liv­er­ing 115 hp at 6,000 rpm and 156 Nm at 4,400 rpm. Mated to Suzuki’s newly de­vel­oped six-speed A/T sys­tem, the power plant prom­ises im­proved re­sponse and fuel econ­omy.

Suzuki will ini­tially sell three vari­ants (all 4x2 mod­els) which, as stated, will start at a price un­der P1 mil­lion. The GL+ gets a tag of P938,000, while the top vari­ant GLX costs P1.048 mil­lion. The GL is yet to be priced as of press time.

STAY­ING TRUE

De­sign­ers have ex­erted an ef­fort to be true to the Vi­tara’s orig­i­nal styling, such as in the fa­mil­iar clamshell bon­net which makes a wel­come return. Ad­di­tion­ally, “the side press lines and smooth roofline sug­gest a youth­ful, rugged look, and strong aero­dy­namic per­for­mance, re­spec­tively, com­ple­mented by the rear that gives off a sta­ble look,” stressed the car maker.

Other features in­clude day­time run­ning lamps with ver­ti­cally placed LEDs (stan­dard in the GLX), and pro­jec­tor halo­gen head

lamps giv­ing am­ple light dis­tri­bu­tion even in low beam set­ting. The GLX is equipped with 17-inch al­loy wheels, the GL+ has 16-inch steel

wheels with full caps.

In­side, the Vi­tara features a stylish, leg­i­ble in­stru­ment panel with a black and matte sil­ver theme. Cir­cu­lar air vents fringe an ana­log clock. The GLX gets a com­bi­na­tion of leather and suede-type fab­ric for its seats, and a panoramic sun­roof de­signed with two glass pan­els that can both slide open. All vari­ants have a pad­dle shifter and audio con­trol on the steer­ing wheel. The GLX and GL+ fea­ture a footwell lamp and key­less push-start sys­tem.

Mean­while, a new in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem of­fers hands-free con­nec­tiv­ity, nav­i­ga­tion as­sis­tance, Blue­tooth teth­er­ing, and a USB port. The GLX vari­ant serves up Wi-Fi sup­port, while a Mir­rorLink func­tion can pair a smart phone with the SUV’s An­droid-based sys­tem. The GLX is be­stowed a 10-inch screen, while GL+ and GL vari­ants get a seven-inch dis­play. Up to 710 liters of lug­gage space is avail­able in the Vi­tara with the rear seats folded.

GLX vari­ants are avail­able in two-tone schemes: At­lantis Turquoise Pearl, Hori­zon Or­ange Metal­lic, and Bright Red Metal­lic. GL+ and GL vari­ants are avail­able in Cool White Pearl, Silky Sil­ver Metal­lic, Galac­tic Gray Metal­lic, Cos­mic Black Pearl Metal­lic and At­lantis Turquoise Pearl Metal­lic.

In a speech dur­ing the launch held at a Pasig City events venue, Suzuki Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Hiroshi Suzuki spoke of the mar­ket “trust and con­fi­dence” the com­pany has en­joyed through the years. No se­cret then that the Vi­tara’s return is cer­tainly plan­ning to cap­i­tal­ize on that cher­ished his­tory — not to men­tion, among oth­ers, its at­trac­tive pric­ing.

IN­FO­TAIN­MENT sys­tem has hands-free con­nec­tiv­ity, nav­i­ga­tion as­sis­tance, Blue­tooth and a USB port.

SUZUKI Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Hiroshi Suzuki

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