The Suzuki Grand Vitara has garnered success in the market, even if it’s not the model’s first-generation car. Don’t forget that its replacement, which was released in 1998, didn’t stand out as an on-road performer. But how the Grand Vitara will fare in today’s market is another question and a whole new challenge for the company to consider. The latest Grand Vitara may offer more in terms of off-road performance, but it still hasn’t reached the level of the compact SUV models.
The latest Grand Vitara sports a crisper look—a big improvement from the dull generation before it. Now it’s cleaner, better looking, and has a bit of muscle that impresses upon first glance. The new generation also is more refined and composed, making it more appropriate as well for on-road performance but still letting it fulfill its promise as an off-roader.
The interior design is just as impressive, sporting colours and textures that work for the switches and instruments. The overall build is of top quality and all the functional elements, such as the dials and switchgear, are neatly laid out for easy access. The look is backed up an ergonomic design. Rear seats recline and split or fold to a ratio of 50/50. Both rear and front passengers can get comfortable on the seats’ firm cushions, making it a suitable vehicle for long journeys. Larger bodied drivers won’t have a problem settling into the wide front seats, while three adults can easily fit and sit comfortably at the rear.
The Grand Vitara performs reasonably well, with its 2.0-litre petrol engine reaching a 60mph sprint time at 10.8 seconds. It’s also quiet even when kept idle. The engine also stands out when going at the lower revs: acceleration from 20 to 40mph is achieved just as quick as the 40 to 60mph sprint. There’s no need as well to go beyond the 5000rpm mark. Noise levels are also kept at a minimum when going at a motorway cruise speed of 70 mph. But expect a slight intrusion when the speed gets any higher than this.
The interior does have some downsides. Seats cannot be adjusted too low if a driver needs it to be so. The steering wheel can only adjust according to a tilt, so you’re forced to set it so low in order to get to access the top. Although the standard equipment is competitive for its class, it hasn’t done much of an upgrade from its predecessor. You’ll get the usual air conditioning, electric window, and CD player, but that isn’t much next to what competitors offer as a default.
The gearshift is accurate in response, but there tends to be a driveline shunt at the slower speeds. Any swift gearchanges could result in impediments. We wouldn’t recommend the four-speed automatic gearbox either as the gearshifts tend to be jerky and slow. Plus the ratios tend to be so far apart that the engine goes out of its powerband. There is also some slight noise for both the manual and auto boxes via a transmission whine, but it disappears once you’ve shifted through all the gears.
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