What is it?
This is the new Vitara, The new weapon Suzuki wants to use to for continue its expansion in Europe. It will hit the market next April, but we were allowed to road test it in late prototype form, months before the launch.
The company has been having a good time in the UK market over the past three years, practically doubling its sales to 37,500 units and acting like a serious player instead of the wallflower it has often been. And that's before it launches six new models planned for the next three years.
First of the new crop will be the super-frugal baby Celerio, but it will be the arrival of the new Vitara SUV that really gets thing moving. Suzuki wants to take aim at the Nissan Juke, the class favourite, plus the Skoda Yeti and all the other B-segment SUVs currently crowding into the market – and no wonder.
By 2020, demand for B-segment SUVs is tipped to reach a million a year, and Suzuki believes it deserves a decent share, not least because it has been building small off-roaders since 1970, so this latest model contains more than 40 years of concentrated know-how.
The Vitara has an all-new body and interior but uses adapted underpinnings from the recently launched S-Cross.
There are two engines: an improved version of Suzuki's 118bhp 1.6-litre petrol four and an improved, cleaner 1.6-litre diesel producing precisely the same power but around double the torque.