SUZUKI VITARA RT-X

In the bat­tle of the baby SUVs, space and price are para­mount. Craig Duff splits this pair of new­com­ers.

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Head To Head -

VALUE

A mas­sive sun­roof, a smart-look­ing mul­ti­me­dia in­ter­face and mod­ern looks are the high­lights. Hard, if glossy plas­tics and a price that pitches the top-spec ver­sion against the best of breed in the com­pact SUV class are the down­sides. The three­year/100,000km war­ranty re­quires ser­vices ev­ery six months/10,000km and the capped price for the first three years runs to $1540.

DE­SIGN-TECH

A deep and solid front end gives the Vitara more road pres­ence that its size would sug­gest. A colour-coded panel bi­sects the dash. The seven-inch touch­screen is hi-res and easy to drive. Boot space is good at 375 litres … but the

Honda holds an­other 50L.

EN­GINE

The pow­er­plant is the chink in the Suzuki’s light­weight ar­mour. The Vitara is 200kg lighter than the Honda but the power deficit means it trails the HR-V in real-world driv­ing — and the Honda is far from be­ing best in class. The six-speed auto is happy to change up early to save petrol but can hes­i­tate drop­ping down the cogs. Of­fi­cially fuel use is 6.3L/100km; Cars­guide saw 7.0L.

SAFETY

ANCAP has yet to crash the Vitara but a strong re­sult in the EuroNCAP crash tests and seven airbags should see it achieve a de­cent score here. The ab­sence of safety fea­tures such as lane de­par­ture warn­ing or au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing may count against it tick­ing the five-star box.

DRIV­ING

All-wheel-drive grip gives the Vitara an edge on slip­pery slopes. The en­gine is happy to spin and the en­gi­neer­ing qual­ity can be felt ev­ery time you ask the SUV to change di­rec­tion. The sus­pen­sion soaks up small bumps bet­ter than the Honda with­out pitch­ing like a drunk through the turns and the steer­ing is about ideal for this class of car.

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