Is it just me, or does the Suzuki range of vehicles just smack of quality? Right from their entry-level models such as the Celerio and Swift, up through to the Ertiga, Ciaz, SX4, Jimny, Vitara, and ending with their flagship Grand Vitara?
Good quality coupled with competitive pricing is always hard to find. This stands true for the Suzuki range, and coupled with good spec levels, makes this a brand that should get serious consideration from buyers.
I’m surprised that there aren’t more Suzuki drivers on the road. My 15 years spent in the motor industry, surrounded by new and used vehicles, and managing a large used-car department, meant that I got to know the dependability of particular brands − and I cut my teeth on the Suzuki brand, with earlier model Vitaras, boxy Samurais and the like.
Okay, let’s talk Grand Vitara. The suede-and-fabric seating is supremely comfortable, and the Vitara can easily accommodate four passengers and the driver. To load larger items, simply fold down the 60:40 split rear seats.
One thing I found really impressive about this vehicle is how quiet it is in the cabin. Suzuki has certainly done its homework with noise dampening and reduction. You can hardly hear the 2.4-litre Variable Valve Timing (VVT) petrol motor when you’re on the road. The VVT technology improves power and torque to 122kW at 6000rpm, and 225Nm at 4000rpm.
The instrumentation is aesthetically pleasing in design, and easy on the eye. The navigation system is also very simple to operate. Climate control is standard on the Grand Vitara and the high-quality audio system offers crisp sound. If you want to use your own music device, simply use the plug-andplay features on offer. There are several storage facilities for maps and other items, and the sliding centre armrest/storage is great for long trips.
From a safety point of view, the Grand Vitara offers high levels of occupant-protection, with both driverand passenger airbags equipped with seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters. Side and curtain airbags are also present to protect occupants in the case of side impacts.
There are three driving modes that can be used, depending on the environment. I used the Grand Vitara only in 4H mode, which is used for normal driving, as I was travelling mainly on dust roads that were relatively flat and easy to negotiate. The 4H lock mode is designed for more serious off-road driving and is a high range 4×4 mode, offering evenly distributed traction to the front and rear wheels for powering through deep mud, or tougher conditions. The third mode is the 4L lock mode, which ensures that there is enough low-end traction to get out of the most difficult off-road conditions.
ABS braking with EBD is standard, as is traction control and stability control. Ventilated discs front and rear are standard, and tyres are either 17 inch or 18 inch depending on the model. The ladder frame with the monocoque body gives increased rigidity without adding to the overall weight, and the independent suspension also increases resistance to any twisting and flexing. Suspension is in the form of a front MacPherson strut with a rear multi-link which increases on-road response and off-road handling.
The Suzuki Grand Vitara is a capable vehicle that competes well against other SUVs on the market. Would I use Grand Vitara on another trip to Dinokeng Game Reserve? Yes!