What is it?
If you want a small SUV - and judging by the sales of Nissan Qashqais and Skoda Yetis, many of you do - there’s a cornucopia of models to choose from, but it was the Suzuki Vitara that was at the vanguard of this movement.
Indeed, you need to head back to 1988, the year that Edwina Curry scrambled the UK’s poultry industry with her salmonella scare, to discover the genesis of this cheeky little off-roader.
It was good value then, and unlike other examples of the breed that have since gone upmarket, the Vitara has always remained true to its budget roots; this current generation starts from just £13,999. However, what we have here is the new ‘sporty’ S version, with an equally new 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine, which does look a little pricey at £20,899.
That said, you get four-wheel drive with diff-locks and a bundle of kit for your money, including seven airbags, climate control, privacy glass, adaptive cruise and LED headlights. The S also gets a set of fancy black alloys, satin door mirrors and a rear spoiler on the outside; inside it comes with sat-nav, Bluetooth, suede seats, red accents on the air vents and aluminium pedals.
The new engine is a nice bit of kit. Compact and lightweight, it integrates the turbo and exhaust manifold into the cylinder head to optimise gas flow. To reduce lag it uses a bypass valve designed to stop the turbo stalling if you momentarily back off the throttle, and in light driving the wastegate is opened to help engine breathing and boost efficiency.