Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV
Price: £15,995 - £23,875
- Great value for money
- Good off-road
- Well built
- Petrol engines are poor
- Ride is firm
- Not as cheap to run as rivals
"Competent on- and off-road and well-priced, the Suzuki Grand Vitara is a useful budget 4x4."
If you want a competent 4x4 but you are on a budget then don't miss the Suzuki Grand Vitara. The styling is handsome and it's good to drive, while the interior is well put together and as attractive as the exterior. Unlike many similarly sized 4x4s, the Grand Vitara possesses some genuine off-road ability, so it can cut it in the rough stuff. The downsides are that it lacks refinement and the petrol engines are very thirsty.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Sadly, the petrol engine is expensive to run
The 2.4-litre engine is pricey to run as it offers only 32.1mpg and emits 205g/km of CO2, so you're looking at £245 for the annual tax disc. The 1.6 is better, but not much - it returns 34.5mpg and 195g/km, so road tax will cost £235 a year. The diesel is definitely the best bet with 41.5mpg and 179g/km (£200 per year). Insurance groups range from 22 to 23, which is about average.
Interior & comfort
Firm suspension spoils cabin comfort
This is the Grand Vitara's Achilles' heel, as it doesn't do comfort or luxury particularly well. The 2.4-litre engine isn't too gruff, but the other engines are really quite noisy - especially the 1.6-litre petrol, which makes quite a racket. Road and wind noise are also particularly obvious, while the ride is very firm, so you notice rough road surfaces.
Practicality & boot space
The boot is large and access to it is good
Suzuki's Grand Vitara offers 398-litres of boot space with the rear seats in place and 758-litres when they're folded down in the five-door model, which isn't bad for a compact car. The boot opening is quite tall and wide too, which makes loading easy. The three-door version isn't as practical, as it offers only 184 litres of space with the rear seats up and 516 litres when they're folded down. A storage space beneath the boot floor is handy for hiding valuables though.
Reliability & safety
The interior quality is good and the car has plenty of safety kit
The Grand Vitara was awarded a four-star Euro NCAP rating. Safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes with brake force distribution and front, side and curtain airbags. The interior quality is good and Suzuki has made big progress in this area. The Grand Vitara didn't appear in the 2010 Driver Power reliability survey, but Suzuki came 25th out of 27 manufacturers overall in the JD Power survey, so it will be looking to improve.
Engines, drive & performance
Petrol engines are overshadowed by the diesel
Two petrol engines are available - a 1.6-litre with 105bhp and a 2.4-litre with 164bhp. The former is underpowered and needs to be driven hard to get the car moving. The 2.4-litre engine is more responsive, but expensive to run. The 1.9-litre DDiS turbodiesel engine is by far the best of the bunch with 127bhp - it's smoother and more economical than the petrol alternatives and delivers good performance. The manual gearbox is a bit of a let down though, as it's lever feels heavy and clunky when changing gear; the 2.4-litre petrol engine is the only one available with an automatic option. Four-wheel drive and a low range gearbox help the Grand Vitara tackle tricky surfaces off-road.
Price, value for money & options
It stacks up well against rivals from Kia and Hyundai
Value is one of the Grand Vitara's strongest points. It's very well priced and even stacks up well against fellow budget rivals from Kia and Hyundai. Power steering, electric windows and mirrors, automatic air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, remote central locking, a CD stereo with wheel-mounted controls and roof rails are all standard.
What the others say
The Grand Vitara is cheaper than many rivals, looks the part and possesses genuine off-road ability. All versions steer and handle well, and the cabin is solid and spacious.
Whether you love them or loath them, 'soft-roaders' are here to stay and it's Suzuki who's partly responsible for them. It launched one of the first - the Vitara - back in 1988 and set the soft-roader trend that other manufacturers followed. This third generation model is major step up from the model it replaces. It's stylish, better to drive, and is great value for money, comparing well on price and specification to models offered by Kia, Hyundai and Nissan.
The Suzuki Grand Vitara is cheap but not appealing. The three-door doesn’t have many rivals so sort of gets away with it, but the five-door is swamped by better stuff.
Last updated: 20 Dec 2013