Among its peers in the mainstream small SUV segment, the Vitara sits in the top 10 but it can’t match the sales of the ageing Mitsubishi ASX, the Mazda CX-3, Honda’s HR-V and the Nissan Qashqai, among others. The Vitara faces even more competition now than when it launched four years ago, with Hyundai’s Kona and the Toyota CH-R also eating into sales.
Pricing for the AllGrip (Suzuki speak for all-wheel drive) Turbo starts at $34,990 plus on-road costs and it is the top-spec variant. Other entry variants kick off from $23,990.
The Vitara represents strong value and the AllGrip Turbo is offered with a good level of standard gear. It lines up pricing wise with other range-topping AWD, small SUV models, like the highly rated Toyota C-HR Koba ($35,290) and Subaru XV 2.0i-S ($35,780) and it undercuts the Hyundai Kona Highlander AWD ($39,000) and Mazda CX-3 Akari AWD ($39,900).
The Vitara sports a boxier look than some of the more sleek, compact SUVs but the design still looks good a few years into its life cycle. Inside, it feels a little dated and cheap, particularly compared with its key rivals. The dash layout and design is pretty generic and there are a lot of hard plastics throughout. It’s on par with some of the newer Chinese entrants in the small SUV category in that regard.
However, despite the drab design, there’s a robustness to the cabin and an overall feeling of quality – you won’t find any panel gaps in here. It’s just a case of function over style. The front seats are super supportive, if a touch narrow in the hip area, and the quilted suede-look material is a classy touch. For some odd reason the passenger side seat does not adjust for height.
It has an excellent driving position and front and rearward visibility is outstanding thanks to narrow pillars all round and lots of glass. The infotainment system also looks dated, but it is a cinch to navigate thanks to its four-quarters layout. It has sat-nav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto but no digital radio.
There are no rear air vents for occupants in the second row and storage is just OK. Rear legroom is adequate but the panoramic sunroof eats into headroom, meaning your head will just scrape the roofliner if you are six foot or over. Speaking of the sunroof, rather than using a proper blind to shield occupants, the Vitara has a sheer netting that doesn’t quite keep all of the sunlight out. Not great on a stinking hot summer day.