Grand Vi­tara likes the rough stuff

Glamorgan Gazette - - Motors Wales - PETER HAY­WARD news­desk@waleson­

PEO­PLE make a big mis­take about the Suzuki Vi­tara and Grand Vi­tara.

Even some mo­tor­ing writ­ers call them soft road­ers but they have ob­vi­ously never taken one off-road.

I have, and be­lieve me, they are tough cook­ies, quite ca­pa­ble of some se­ri­ous rough stuff.

The model be­fore the present one was built be­tween 2005 and 2014, and was avail­able as a three-door and a five-door.

All had four-wheel drive as stan­dard with low-ra­tio gears, but the three-door was only avail­able with a 104bhp 1.6 petrol en­gine, and sadly, this was not up to the weight and made the car a poor per­former.

The five-door had a choice of 2.0 or 2.4-litre petrol en­gines with 138 or 163bhp, and there was also a 1.9 turbo diesel with 127bhp.

This third gen­er­a­tion Vi­tara is much bet­ter to drive than ear­lier models, and it’s also bet­ter look­ing and good value sec­ond­hand.

The 2.0-litre petrol has just about enough power for the weight and the 2.4 is a big im­prove­ment over that.

The diesel is a lit­tle slower than the 2.0-litre petrol, but of course, econ­omy is bet­ter. Ex­pect about 37mpg, while the smaller petrol should do 31mpg and the 2.4 might man­age 32mpg.

All are good cruis­ers once up to speed, but over­tak­ing in the diesel and the 2.0-litre petrol is some­thing to be done with great care be­cause it takes so long.

On-road pres­ence is good, and they are all easy to man­age and have good road man­ners, with a fairly firm ride – and some roll in the cor­ners as you would ex­pect.

How­ever, they are all fairly noisy at speed, mak­ing longer jour­neys quite tire­some.

Sadly, the diesel en­gine is only avail­able in the top spec model so is likely to be the most ex­pen­sive, and the best buy for most will be the 2.4 petrol.

Han­dling is good, with rea­son­ably pos­i­tive steer­ing and de­spite the small amount of roll, it holds on well through the cor­ners.

Be­ing a smaller 4x4, it feels more like an or­di­nary es­tate to drive, and has the com­mand­ing driv­ing po­si­tion so many driv­ers have come to love.

Some come with a sev­enseat op­tion and the level of stan­dard kit is pretty good in all.

Suzuki Grand Vi­tara

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