The original Suzuki Vitara is one of the progenitors of today’s small SUV craze, and despite having been off the market since 1998, the nameplate maintains a certain kind of cache. This is one company that knows a thing or two about small, cheap off-roaders.
The Vitara also breaks the mould for Suzuki in terms of design. Not only does it have a real edge not found on its S-Cross twin-under-the-skin, it also comes with some fun customisation options.
Of course, those S-Cross origins also means the Vitara rocks a monocoque construction, no low-range, good but hardly epic levels of ground clearance, and the availability of four-wheel drive (on demand, not full-time) only on the top-spec version.
The cabin of the Vitara immediately stands out from other Suzukis by way of its configurable plastic inserts and a more modern touchscreen than we’ve seen from the brand previously. The fact the RT-S gets the same seven-inch unit with camera and sat-nav as the RT-X , and the fact it also sports stylish 17-inch wheels and DRLs, is commendable on the part of Suzuki.
The other selling point over a small hatchback is the elevated driving position — you get a typically more commanding view of the road given the ride height. Ergonomics are good, with a chunky little steering wheel offering proper reach/rake adjustment.
The seven-inch screen is simple to navigate, with a home screen comprising four quadrants like Ford’s SYNC 2 system. Suzuki is not yet offering Apple CarPlay, though there is Mirror Link for Android devices.
The sat-nav graphics are excellent, the reverse-view camera with guidelines is crisp, the voice control allows for conversational inputs and the Bluetooth phone and audio systems re-paired swiftly every time.
Published: Wednesday, September 23, 2015