SUZUKI VITARA RT-X
In the battle of the baby SUVs, space and price are paramount. Craig Duff splits this pair of newcomers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.