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Suzuki Vitara

PURA VITA (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Suzuki's Vitara offers a strong option in the compact Crossover segment and also comes with pokey 1.4-litre turbo petrol power. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 83

The Vitara, Suzuki's compact crossover, looks to build a lot of talent into four metres. A 1.4-litre turbocharged BOOSTERJET petrol engine aims to attract buyers who might be interested in a little more performance from a car of this kind, but most customers tend to stick with the standard 1.6-litre petrol and diesel models which feature a choice of front or all-wheel drive. With styling that's more assured than anything Suzuki has brought us before, this car looks to be a competitive proposition.

Backgroundword count: 153

Small SUV-style 'Juke-genre' Crossover models are all the rage just at present. Every mainstream brand, it seems, must have one. Here's Suzuki's offering for customers in this sector, the surprisingly light, lithe and fashionable Vitara. The Vitara is the kind of youthful, dynamic-looking product that buyers of compact Crossover models seem to want. On paper, it certainly seems to tick all the 'Juke-genre' boxes, with lifestyle looks, trendy cabin technology and supermini-standards of efficiency. It even claims to be a rewarding steer on twisty tarmac, especially with the 1.4-litre BOOSTERJET 1.4-litre petrol turbo engine that the Japanese brand has added since this car was originally launched. That really would make it different from small Suzuki SUVs of the past. There are familiar touches though: value pricing, high specifications and a 4WD option - something actually relatively unusual in this segment. It all sounds quite promising. Time to put this car to the test.

Driving Experienceword count: 220

The performance-orientated 1.4-litre petrol turbo engine is one of Suzuki's newest units and gives this car a reasonable turn of speed, enabling it to make 62mph in 10.2s en route to 124mph. Otherwise, the mechanicals aren't anything too surprising, shared as they are with the existing SX-4 S-Cross. That means buyers get to choose between either a 1.6-litre petrol engine or a much preferable Fiat-sourced 118bhp 1.6 diesel, both being offered in front or four-wheel drive guises. The petrol engine is fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard with an optional CVT transmission also offered. Go diesel and you get a six-speed manual 'box. The short overhangs will help with off-roading but the 185mm ground clearance isn't that generous. The ALLGRIP four-wheel-drive system is standard with the 1.4-litre petrol turbo and optional with the 1.6-litre variants. The set-up features an electronically controlled clutch pack, controlled by a four-position switch on the centre console. Choose 'Auto' and it'll stick to driving the front wheels unless slip is detected, whereupon the rear wheels are pressed into action. 'Sport' diverts up to 20 per cent of torque to the rear wheels to give livelier handling. 'Snow' offers permanent four-wheel drive with the system choosing how much torque to split front and rear, while 'Lock' splits the torque equally between front and rear.

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