In size, the Vitara fits between the Juke and Yeti, which makes it big for the B-segment. But its prices go straight into the class's heartland: the front-drive petrol model is around £14,000, while the ritziest 4x4 diesel, which includes gadgets like radar cruise and automatic city braking, sits below £19,000.
There are new colours and lots of personalisation; owners can choose a black or white grille, a city or a rugged body look and even their own fascia colour from half a dozen different options.
On the road, the 1.6DDiS 4x4 impresses with strong torque off the mark and pleasing mid-range acceleration.
The steering is fairly light, though perhaps a little slow near the straight-ahead. The suspension isn't sophisticated in description (what with a twist beam rear end), but it shows the benefit of UK tuning; body control is excellent and the car damps high-frequency bumps well to give occupants an overall feeling of comfort and robustness.
The diesel gets a standard six-speed gearbox (you only get five with the petrol) that has a light, short throw.
The engine is quite vocal, even at idle, but it sounds quieter when working and supports high overall gearing, so its note disappears at a motorway cruise. Road and wind noise are not that well contained, but the Vitara is no worse in this respect than anything else in this class.
Still, this is an easy and enjoyable car to drive, with faithful controls, a comfortable driving position and an obvious long-distance capability. Although we drove nowhere near any mud or dirt, we'd back it to show prowess off road, too.
AllGrip (4x4) models get a transmission mode selector (Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock) plus hill descent control. Sport tweaks the engine to yield extra torque and sends a greater percentage of it rearwards for better cornering balance.
Lock is for when you're bogged; it directs torque to each corner and brakes any wheel that tries to spin. If the car is capable of driving out, it will manage it in this mode.
Suzuki calls the new Vitara city-friendly, and it is, the compact dimensions and relatively tall body making it easy to manoeuvre in crowded streets. That tallness helps overall packaging, too; the Vitara feels big in front, but that airy feeling doesn't come at the expense of rear room. The boot is generous and there's a false floor with more storage beneath. But for really big loads, the backrests collapse on to the squabs; there's no sign of a flat floor.