Suv without airs and graces

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SUV without airs and graces

In the test, the Suzuki Vitara convinces with a lot of reason without unnecessary frills – and prepares itself for the future.

Timeless and simple instead of unnecessarily gimmicky: The design of the Suzuki Vitara is not particularly noticeable – but it doesn't spoil it either.

SUVs are currently not only popular with buyers, they are also popular with manufacturers. Because the off-road offshoots are good for the image: They embody freedom, zeitgeist and youthfulness – at least in the eyes of the marketing strategists. They are, so to speak, the stars in the model range. And, as befits real stars, they often have their airs and graces: high purchase price, worse driving behavior due to the increased center of gravity and often only little advantage if you could need an SUV, since compact crossovers often only roll onto the road with front-wheel drive . In this respect, the Suzuki Vitara can be described as a pleasingly unassuming SUV – not only because it is only available with 4 × 4 drive – and that from a reasonable CHF 29,190 with a manual 6-speed gearbox.

A 1.4-liter turbocharged petrol engine always works under the hood. In combination with a manual 6-speed gearbox, a 48-volt system via a small electric motor provides support, especially when moving off; This improves the response behavior, which makes the petrol engine appear livelier – and more economical. With 129 hp and 235 Nm of torque, the handset will consume 6.4 l/100 km according to WLTP.

The Vitara with a 6-speed automatic takes part in the test drive (from CHF 32,990). There is no mild hybrid support here, but the engine with 140 hp and 220 Nm is tuned to be a little livelier. According to the WLTP, the SUV should consume 7.6 l/100 km in this configuration; in the test it was finally 7.7 l/100 km. This is not particularly economical – but at least the compact manages to meet the factory specifications in everyday life – even on winter tires. And: He proves to be quite versatile and talented.

space instead of ostentation

While many other SUVs attach great importance to a sporty appearance with a flat roof line, the Vitara places more value on hidden talents. The roof section has a different color for a little more visual pep, but the Suzuki designers don't think much of "sporty lines" at the expense of utility.

SUV without airs and graces-graces

Space was more important to the designers than attention. The two-tone paint still provides some pep.

The trunk of the 4.17 meter short SUV looks more spacious than the 375 to 710 liters according to the data sheet would suggest; Thanks to the large loading hatch, high roof edge and low loading sill, the trunk is easy to use and can also handle bulky luggage.

Plain instead of flashy

What the design already suggests is also reflected in the driving impression: The Vitara is not a dazzler, but an honest and down-to-earth companion.

The automatic shifts quickly enough, especially in city traffic, and allows the SUV, which weighs just under 1.4 tons, to move well. The engine may seem a bit strained at higher revs, but it has enough power reserves to confidently get through everyday road use.

The chassis also has sufficient reserves – which is primarily based on pleasant suspension comfort; Thanks to the directly coordinated steering, the Vitara doesn't feel out of place on winding stages either – the low weight also helps here.

The interior doesn't look luxurious – which you shouldn't expect in this price range either – but it is solidly made, airy and clearly arranged, so that you feel comfortable right away. Suzuki doesn't think much of the current trend of nesting almost all functions in submenus of the touchscreen. Air conditioning, seat heating and numerous other important functions while driving can still be controlled here at the touch of a button.

The touchscreen infotainment is easy to see and is particularly pleasing with standard smartphone integration with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Plug the cable into the smartphone and navigation and music will work without any major programming skills.

In the test, the Vitara shows that a compact SUV can be a very useful car that has a number of advantages in everyday use – and that the price does not have to go up unnecessarily.

SUV without airs and graces-airs

Factual and without mystery: the cockpit.

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