Grand Vitara likes the rough stuff
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