Wednesday, 10 July 2019 08:52

Feisty Vitara right on the mark

Written by  Mark Daniel
Vitara 2WD Turbo. Vitara 2WD Turbo.

Just why is the Suzuki Vitara so popular in New Zealand? Mark Daniel found out as he test drove the new 2019 2WD turbo.

My daily drive is a seven-seat SUV so I’m always prepared for disappointment when reviewing a small SUV or crossover vehicle. 

But I was unconcerned when Suzuki called about its Vitara 2WD turbo, the most popular small SUV sold in New Zealand.

The review vehicle was decked out in optional two-tone metallic paintwork — solar yellow with a black pearl roof.

The Vitara sits on 17-inch black alloys and, in the words of Madonna, it “strikes a pose”. Like any SUV it looks a little boxy but not so as to offend the eye.

The 2019 model gets a revised front grille with vertical spars, a re-sculpted rear skid plate and LED rear light clusters.

Power comes from a 1.4L, 4-cylinder turbo developing 103kW and 220Nm torque at a lowly 1500 rpm, mated to a six-speed auto transmission. 

The Suzuki Booster jet technology gives a great feel to the way this little vehicle picks up its skirts, described nicely in the company’s marketing blurb as “feisty”.

With a wastegate, on the open road the Vitara can pick up its heels and equally around town it can potter along, in both cases consuming about 6L/100km.

Much of its ‘zip’ stems from it weighing only 1120kg -- only about 100kg more, say, than the Mazda MX5 sports car. But this lack of deadweight makes the Suzuki easy to point in the right direction and gives it poise even on gravel roads or poorly surfaced black top. 

Travelling out west in rural Waikato, the Vitara gave a comfortable ride, unlike some of the portlier in its genre: no alarming body roll and it reacted well to sudden correction coming into tight bends too fast.

A 5-star ANCAP safety rating should give peace of mind. Standard features include adaptive cruise control, a collision detection/avoidance function, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alerts.

As in all SUVs, the Suzuki’s access is easy, and easily adjusted and supportive seats allow drivers to get into the right position. 

The overall feel of the cabin is roomy despite the vehicle’s small size: it has a useful 375L storage in the rear, and 710L with the rear seats folded. 

Living with the car day to day is made easier by its 7-inch colour touchscreen with audio, satnav, smartphone connectivity and a rear view reversing camera, plus plenty of stowage for the ephemera of everyday life.

Fit and finish is passable with the use of some soft-feel trimmings although in general the plastics used are perhaps a little harsh. 

The Vitara does what is said on the ‘can’: function, straightforward controls and a decent level of comfort for a small vehicle, making it the ideal choice for a dash into town or a 200km jaunt on the weekend.

More like this

X marks the spot

While many car manufacturers set out to cater for all sectors of the market, it’s fair to say that Subaru has “stuck to its knitting”.

Tiny Jimny hits the right note

Strong demand for the instantly recognised Suzuki Jimny in New Zealand has continued to accelerate with the 1000th retail order recently confirmed and available shipments pre-sold for nine months.

Farm bikes bred in NZ

The story of how Suzuki's Trojan became one of the most reliable and durable two-wheel farm bikes on the market begins in the early 1970s.

Farm bikes bred in NZ

The story of how Suzuki's Trojan became one of the most reliable and durable two-wheel farm bikes on the market begins in the early 1970s.

Featured

 

Fonterra back in the black

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says 2019/20 was a good year for the co-op, with profit up, debt down and a strong milk price.

Strategy to reduce heifer mastitis

First calvers are more prone to mastitis than older cows. According to DairyNZ, farmers must choose a strategy that best suits their herd, farm team, and budget.

National

Live cattle exports in limbo

The fate of 28,000 cows in quarantine in New Zealand and supposedly destined for China in the coming weeks hangs…

Farm values down — REINZ

A floating and volatile situation – that’s how the Real Estate Institute of NZ rural spokesperson Brian Peacocke describes the…

Putting farmers first

The NZ agriculture sector is more than just a job for CRV Ambreed’s new managing director James Smallwood.

Graziers quitting!

Some Southland farmers who graze dairy cattle in winter say they will not do it next year.

Machinery & Products

Mowers get a makeover

Well known throughout New Zealand over the past 18 years, Pottinger has redesigned its rear-mounted Novadisc mowers to incorporate a…

Hardy spotlight

High quality, reliable lighting is essential for anyone involved in agriculture or the great outdoors.

Simmm twin water blasters

Italian made Simmm Power Cleaner 100/11 and Power Gun 100/11 single-phase (230 volt) electric water blasters are proving popular in…

OPD argument raging on

A stoush is brewing with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) heavily criticising Farmsafe Australia’s recent Safer Farm Report.

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Cows and earthquakes

OPINION: It has long been suggested that animals have senses that humans don’t, and often behave differently than usual shortly…

Battle is on

OPINION: One of Australia’s biggest dairy businesses is back on the market after the Federal Government knocked back a bid…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter