Since its introduction in 1988, Suzuki’s Vitara has become a highly successful car. That's despite the fact that neither the first-generation car, nor its replacement introduced in 1998, was a particularly competitive on-road performer. Against that they were attractive, well-priced and fairly good off-road.

That’s not good enough these days. The current Grand Vitara has to hold its head above water in a busy sector of the market, and while it offers more in the way of traditional off-roading hardware than its more modern rivals, the trade-off could be a lack of the sophistication now normal in the compact SUV class.

Granted, most more recent opposition is also more expensive, but the success of the sector shows that people are prepared to pay. This road test features the 2.0-litre petrol version with 138bhp, an engine now supplanted by a 166bhp 2.4. A 127bhp, 1.9-litre, Renault-sourced turbodiesel is also offered.

Top 5 Sports SUVs

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Suzuki range

Driven this week

  • BMW M240i
    First Drive
    26 October 2016
    More power, more speed, more noise: BMW's revamped and renamed performance coupé is sweeter than ever
  • Volkswagen Up High 1.0 TSI
    First Drive
    26 October 2016
    A new turbocharged three-pot injects some fun into VW's slick city car and makes it a more rounded package
  • 2017 Vauxhall Insignia prototype first drive
    First Drive
    25 October 2016
    We review the next-generation Vauxhall Insignia and find that, while still disguised and giving little away about its appearance, it's encouragingly good to drive
  • 2016 Ford Kuga ST-Line 1.5 Ecoboost 182
    First Drive
    25 October 2016
    The Kuga ST-Line is enjoyable to drive, but this version of the 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine doesn't suit Ford's SUV
  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    Can Seat’s first SUV impress, even with the heavy burden of expectation?