Top Vi­tara S

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

UZUKI is de­vel­op­ing quite an im­pres­sive line-up of cars these days with the com­pact Swift, prac­ti­cal S-Cross, charis­matic Jimny and now the in­tro­duc­tion of a new-look Vi­tara that the com­pany claims is its most tech­ni­cally ad­vanced car ever.

The lat­est five-door Vi­tara was launched in 2015 and has just un­der­gone a facelift. There is ex­tra safety kit, new pow­er­trains, styling up­grades and a more up­mar­ket in­te­rior.

In fair­ness, the Vi­tara was al­ways a good-look­ing car with its ath­letic up­right de­sign, roof rails, rear pri­vacy glass, wheel arch ex­ten­sions and chrome lower grille. Now the de­sign­ers have added ex­tra ap­peal with the in­tro­duc­tion of new front grille and bumper along with freshly restyled LED lights.

There’s a choice of three welle­quipped trim lev­els called SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5 and prices range from £16,999 to £25,649.

When it comes to the en­gine line-up, Suzuki has ditched the diesel op­tion and there is now Boost­er­jet tech­nol­ogy for the 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gines. Other choices in­clude man­ual or au­to­matic gear­boxes along with two or four-wheel drive.

The Vi­tara has lots of kit as stan­dard and, de­pend­ing on the trim level, ex­pect to see smart­phone link to con­nect a smart­phone via Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Auto, a good au­dio set-up with DAB dig­i­tal ra­dio, a nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, Blue­tooth, a colour touch­screen, a USB socket and plenty more.

Suzuki has also lis­tened to cus­tomer feed­back and the car now has a front arm­rest along with some soft-touch sur­faces and im­proved seat­ing.

We sam­pled the Vi­tara in mid-range SZ-T trim level pow­ered by a punchy three-cylin­der, 1.0-litre Boost­er­jet en­gine mated to a five-speed gear­box.

The car was priced at £20,799 and the only op­tional ex­tra was spe­cial­ist paint cost­ing £800.

Suzuki en­gi­neers claim the 1.0-litre en­gine that has pre­vi­ously fea­tured in the Suzuki Baleno, S-Cross and Swift, of­fers the same level of power and torque as a much larger ca­pac­ity nor­mally-as­pi­rated 1.7 to 1.8-litre en­gine.

And it’s a fair as­sess­ment – our car sim­ply fizzed along. It’s a car that’s as happy on mo­tor­ways as it is whizzing through the coun­try lanes and there is a con­stant stream of power on tap, so over­tak­ing slower-mov­ing farm traf­fic is a breeze.

The 0-62mph sprint time is 12.0 sec­onds, but feels faster and the car maxes out at 111mph. It can de­liver com­bined fuel econ­omy of 39.4mpg with car­bon emis­sions of 162g/km on the new more re­al­is­tic WLTP rat­ing.

The road hold­ing is im­pres­sive with min­i­mal body move­ment even when pushed into cor­ners and the cabin is well pro­tected against any wind, road sur­face or en­gine noise.

I was im­pressed with how quiet the three-pot en­gine was – even when driven hard it re­mained rel­a­tively hushed. My only slight gripe was the lack of a sixth gear.

Our car also fea­tured Suzuki’s All­grip all-wheel drive sys­tem which will keep you on course when driv­ing in poorer weather con­di­tions or on more chal­leng­ing ter­rain.

It has four modes called Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock. Auto max­imises fuel ef­fi­ciency and uses two-wheel drive as a de­fault, Sport is best for twisty roads, Snow de­liv­ers ex­tra grip and fi­nally Lock is used for ex­tri­cat­ing the car from snow, mud or sand.

Pas­sen­ger com­fort lev­els are good with am­ple space in the back for a cou­ple of adults – three if they don’t mind rub­bing shoul­ders.

The boot has a ca­pac­ity of 375 litres which is in­creased to 710 litres with the 60:40 split-fold­ing rear seats dropped flat and there is an ad­justable boot floor to sep­a­rate items such as wet gear or muddy boots.

An­other plus fac­tor is the cars max­i­mum five-star Euro NCAP rat­ing. This was achieved in 2015 and even more safety kit has been added to the 2019 car.

Fea­tures in­clude a dual sen­sor brake sup­port sys­tem that works be­tween 3mph and 62mph. If it de­tects a pos­si­ble col­li­sion with a per­son or ve­hi­cle ahead it of­fers a vis­ual and au­dio warn­ing. If the warn­ings are ig­nored it will start brak­ing the ve­hi­cle.

Other safety sys­tems in­clude lane de­par­ture warn­ing and lane keep as­sist, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, adap­tive cruise con­trol, rear cross traf­fic alert and traf­fic sign recog­ni­tion.

All in all, the lat­est Vi­tara is proof that Suzuki is a brand that is go­ing places. It was al­ready a good car, but they were not sat­is­fied with that – now it’s a great car.

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