We’ve often found cause to praise the standard of Suzuki’s chassis tuning and, happily, the Vitara offers us another chance to do so.

Much like the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, mostly everything the car does exudes a basic level of mechanical competence that puts many of its heavier, more ‘sophisticated’ rivals to shame. Certainly, owners of anything previously badged ‘Vitara’ are in for a pleasant surprise. The dynamic sloppiness of a ladder-frame chassis is a world away from this latest model’s eagerness to please.

The Vitara's resistance to understeer is admirable, certainly for a crossover, and although the stability control isn't entirely switchable, its interference is not of the nannying sort

Predominantly, this is about usability. In a comparatively short amount of time, people have come to expect their crossover to behave with the same easy-going civility as a hatchback and, for the most part, that’s what the Vitara gets on with doing.

The compromise between handling and comfort in particular is well judged. Body roll is nicely regulated. What high-sided sway there is feels appropriate to whatever speed you’re doing, and you can expect whatever bumps you meet along the way to be dealt with competently.

Aiming the Vitara is not difficult either, although the steering is a minor shortcoming in terms of its assistance. Suzuki’s attempt at providing the driver with a bit of initial bite on an otherwise light rack comes across as weird, wrist-bothering stiction at low speeds. It’s a fractional annoyance but noticeable given the model’s otherwise admirable enthusiasm for turning in.

Back to top

At a swift cruise, threading corners together is conspicuously easy – a proficiency afforded by the discernibly low kerb weight and surprising surfeit of grip – and certainly not disagreeable, either.

We probably did more laps of Millbrook proving ground’s hill route than were strictly necessary, which is unusual for us with a cheap small crossover and a commendation that, in our book, places the Vitara immediately among the better prospects in its segment.