Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV (2005-2014)
"Competent on and off-road, and well priced, the Suzuki Grand Vitara is a useful budget 4x4."
- Great value for money
- Good off-road
- Well built
- Ride is firm
- Petrol engines are poor
- Not as cheap to run as rivals
If you want a competent 4x4 but you're on a budget, then don't discount the Suzuki Grand Vitara.
The styling is handsome and it's good to drive, while the interior is well put together and just 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.
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MPG, running costs & CO2
The 2.4-litre engine is pricey to run, as it returns only 32.1mpg and emits 205g/km of CO2, so you're looking at £245 a year for road tax. The 1.6-litre is better, but not by much: it returns 34.5mpg and emits 195g/km of CO2, so road tax will cost £235 a year. The diesel is definitely the best bet, with 41.5mpg economy and 179g/km emissions, for £200-a-year tax. Insurance ratings for the Vitara range from group 22 to 23, which is about average.
Engines, drive & performance
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 worked hard to get the car moving quickly. 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 petrols and performs strongly. The manual gearbox is a bit disappointing, though, as it the gearlever feels heavy and clunky when shifting. The 2.4-litre petrol is the only engine available with automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive and a low-range gearbox help the Grand Vitara tackle tricky surfaces off-road.
Interior & comfort
This is the Grand Vitara's Achilles' heel – 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. Road and wind noise are also particularly obvious at speed, while the ride is very firm, so you notice rough road surfaces.
Practicality & boot space
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 SUV. The boot opening is quite tall and wide, too, which makes loading easy. The three-door version isn't as practical as the five-door, as it offers only 184 litres of space with the rear seats up and 516 litres when they're folded down. The storage space beneath the boot floor is handy for hiding valuables, though.
Reliability & safety
The Grand Vitara was awarded a four-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating. Safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, as well as front, side and curtain airbags. Interior quality is good and Suzuki generally has a good reputation for reliability, but not enough Grand Vitara owners have responded for it to feature in our recent Driver Power owner satsifaction surveys.
Price, value for money & options
Value is one of the Grand Vitara's strongest points. It's very well priced and even stacks up well against 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.