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Tow Car Review: Suzuki Vitara 1.6 GL

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Combining value, safety and versatility, the zippy Suzuki Vitara certainly underlines the Japanese carmakers’ new design direction.

Words & Images by Mary Smith

I find the cross-over style and room for personalisation much more alluring than its off-road biased predecessors, but some people may disagree, saying it has gone ‘too soft’.

While many manufacturers hoover up the plaudits for coining the cross-over/small SUV market, it is important to take a moment and salute Suzuki’s pioneering work in this segment with the launch of the Jimny in global markets in 1970. The Vitara’s lineage can be traced all the way back to 1988, tallying in over 3 million sales globally.

So, what is all the fuss about? Why does this cross-over do so well in the highly contested market? And more importantly, why does it not perform better in terms of sales in the local market?

Literally everywhere we went, the zesty little orange number turned heads; and its capability on the 12km gravel road was impressive.


Suzuki Vitara Images

Suzuki knows a thing or two about SUVs in no-frills, good-value packages; and while the new Vitara switched from a proper off-roader to the style-led cross-over segment, it still promises on the adventure spirit of the original Vitara.


A responsive and agile body (for its class), it offers nimble handling which makes it fun to drive – highway, town and gravel.

While it probably could do with some increased oomph when it comes to the towing capacity, it handled well in all conditions and turned corners with surprising eagerness.

Moving to the inside, leg room is sufficient (comfortably sitting my 3 kids in the back) with lots of rear headroom. The styling is modern, metro and fresh. However, the lowrent feel of the facia is a let-down; as is the interior trim, which feels more at home in a workhorse than a family car.

When it comes to safety, the Vitara holds it head high with a 5-star EuroNCAP rating – standard features include 7 airbags, ABS, Anti-Lock Brakes and electronic stability control, to name a few.

The efficiency of the 1.6GL+ model we used makes this an “all seasons” car, a practical run-around for city use, yet enough capability to get you out of a sticky dirt road if you find yourself on one!

Suzuki Vitara Information

Specifications

  • Tare: 1120kg
  • GVM: 1730kg
  • Max Output: 86kW/6000rpm
  • Max Torque: 151Nm/4400rpm
  • Towing limit: 1200kg
  • Overall length: 4175mm
  • Overall width: 1775mm
  • Overall height: 1610mm
  • Wheel base: 2500mm
  • Min Ground Clearance: 185mm

Prices

  • GL (2WD, 5MT): R261 900
  • GL+ (2WD, 5MT): R295 900
  • GL+ (2WD, 6AT): R313 900
  • GL+ (4WD, 5MT): R319 900
  • GLX (2WD, 6AT): R329 900
  • GLX (4WD, 5MT): R348 900

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