From £15,006
Improved power and refinement, but lacking market appeal

Our Verdict

Suzuki Grand Vitara

The Suzuki Grand Vitara used to put off-road ability before on-road manners, but does it now deliver?

29 September 2008

What is it?

An upgraded Suzuki Grand Vitara with an enlarged 2.4-litre petrol engine, developed from the 2.0-litre unit in the previous model.

The engine now has a balancer shaft built into the oil pump to save space.

It produces 164bhp and 166lb ft of torque, but Suzuki has managed to improve the fuel economy so that this car has identical CO2 emissions to its predecessor.

What is it like?

Rearwards visibility in the three-door is heavily restricted by the width of the B-pillar, but with its permanent four-wheel drive, low-ratio transfer box, 1444kg kerbweight and civilised road manners, the three-door Grand Vitara car is almost in a segment of its own.

The steering and pedals are supermini-light - the lack of brake pedal feel is almost unnerving - but allow yourself five minutes to acclimatise and it's easy to hussle the Suzuki along at sensible hatchback speeds.

The 47:53 torque split and excellent chassis geometry mean that it is considerably better behaved in corners than many of its larger, longer and more expensive siblings.

There are a few notable low points, however. At 184 litres with the seats up, the boot is far from spacious, and with a tall driver there's precious little legroom for passengers in the back seats either.

Tall drivers also suffer, as the steering - quite incredibly - has no reach adjustment and the seat reclining mechanism is operated by a lever/ratchet.

ESP is now fitted as standard to all Grand Vitaras, but despite the size and prominence of the over-ride button - large and mounted in the middle of the dashboard - it can only be disabled when the centre diff is locked.

Should I buy one?

Power and refinement improve, but this is still a car with limited market appeal. The engine's new-found refinement and zest add appeal, but in the end this quirky 4x4 is a car in search of a niche.

Ed Keohane

Join the debate

Comments
4

2 October 2008

Where I live out here in the wilds of rural France Suzuki 4x4’s sell like hot cakes as they are known to be exceptionally good “Honest John” that will take most things that you can throw at them.

They might not be the leaders of the pack when it comes to the latest style gizmos, but they do answer so many questions at a totally realistic price and they are as rugid as hell.

This latest edition is bound to sell very well indeed to those who know what they are looking for.

Loving life in France with my Springers

24 May 2009

dillonsamben

I totally agree with you. I just took delivery of a 5 door GV 2.4 and found it to be a car that does alot of thing at a small price. It is 15% cheaper than a comparable version of Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4, Mitsubish Overlander and has all features (more in certain cases) except that rear cargo space is smaller. Mine has ESP, full time 4 wheel drive, 6 airbags, climatic control. I think this car is seriously under-rated.

In performance department, power is more than adequate for my use in a Melbourne suburb in Australia. Handling is sharp, thanks to the full time 4x4. Ride is good on well tarred roads with occassonal uneasiness. I'd say that on uneven roads, ride is more bumpy that other SUVs.

In the looks department, the GV is not exceptionally good looking but is hamesome enough to fit its image as a versatile SUV. The interior is simple and not fussy looking. Plastics materials are decent and looks hard wearing-practical on a compact SUV. On top of all this, I get a 5 year warranty for a compact SUV that is otherwise perfect.

I'm looking forward to many years of enjoyable motoring with my GV.

Suzy2109

ex Lexus RX and X Trail owner

6 July 2010

I bought a new Grand Vitara DDiS in September 2007. It was OK but not as good as the last model in a number of ways.

It has had four recalls for minor and major things (one a sticker!), that's a 64 mile round trip to the dealer every time, at my expense.

The front brake discs had to be replaced at 31 months old and 34,000 miles, Suzuki seem to think this is normal and will not admit that they should be done under warranty. I should add that it has never been off-road or driven through floods. So I will not be buying another Suzuki, sorry Customer Relations Dept. you have lost one.

6 July 2010

[quote hedgehopper]it has never been off-road[/quote]

So why did you buy one? It's not particularly civilised or luxurious, and it's certainly not fast, it's a simple, rugged car for off-roading (or at least it's supposed to be!). That would be like buying a used Audi Quattro to go off-road, just because it's 4WD. Just because a Suzuki Vitara is practical and cheap doesn't make it a great road-only car... surely you should just have bought a conventional estate or MPV?

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