Why are SUVs and Crossovers so popular?
Tom Scanlan this week takes gets to grips with the SUZUKI VITARA S 1.4 Boosterjet S ALLGRIP
The so-called Sports Utility Vehicle and so-called Crossover (whatever they both mean) have been selling particularly well for some while now. Could it be simply the high seating position?
Whatever, the very competitive sector that these cars have created means that there is some great bargaining to be done, whether you can fork out the cash in one go, or, like around 80% of buyers, go in the monthly payment route. One good contender is Suzuki’s Vitara.
It was launched in 2015 and did well enough. Then in came Suzuki’s 1.4-litre petrol ‘Boosterjet’ engine. As with some other manufacturers’ new and relatively small engines, this one can provide the sort of power delivery that was previously the terrain of Diesel engines: loads of low-rev torque. But, feeling that much more refined.
The 1.4 has 220 Nm of torque (41% more than their own 1.6, by the way) and this is from 1500 to 4000 rpm. The car can, therefore, shift along pretty quickly in even the upper gears when the need comes for smart overtaking. However, if you actually have the energy to use the manual six-speed gearbox, it has a pleasingly light and crisp action, with the clutch pedal needing just the right amount of pressure.
Out on the open road, the Vitara 1.4 is perfectly happy cruising along at around 1200 rpm in top, before getting onto the motorway where 70 mph is taken at a relaxed 2500 rpm.
It’s refined and quiet, too, at that speed, with only a touch of wind hiss if you exceed the speed limit, which is easy to do as the car can accelerate quite well at that point.
The passengers, meanwhile, are getting a comfortable ride along with their good view out; and they will have found access in and out is very easy.
Behind them, the boot is quite versatile, with a double floor, but perhaps they are not too concerned that there is no spare wheel, unlike the driver (if it were I, so I would buy one).
For the driver, most of the controls, instruments and so on are well-designed and easy to use; one exception is the hand brake lever that is set to the left of the central console and not, therefore, in its proper place for a right-hand-drive car.
The ‘S’ model is the range-topper, S being for ‘sport’ and the visual tell-tales are the 17-inch gloss black wheels – they look really smart; the vertical grille; the rear upper spoiler; and the satin silver exterior mirrors. Inside, various red accents hint at ‘sport’, as in the stitching, the vent surrounds and more.
The Vitara can be set in four modes for the driving experience, from comfort to auto to sport to lock, all depending on what you choose according to either what you feel like doing or what you reckon the road surface, like ice, maybe, requires. Its ‘Allgrip’ four-wheel-drive does the ‘which wheels need more/less power’ decision-making.
Current must-have technology is mostly on board, such as Bluetooth and smart phone audio and satnav linking, plus the expected anti-skid safety systems and passenger and pedestrian safety controls.
The test car returned an indicated 43.9 mpg over 465 miles of varied traffic and road conditions and the annual VED, at 127 g/km emissions, stands at £120.
All in all, at £21,749 including metallic paint, the Vitara S 1.4 is well worth comparison with any of its sector rivals.
Car reviewed: SUZUKI VITARA S 1.4 Boosterjet S ALLGRIP – price as tested £21,749 on the road 0-62mph 10.2 secs Top speed 124mph Combined Fuel Economy 52.3mpg CO2 emissions 127g/km Engine 1.4 Boosterjet 4-cylinder petrol EU6 Max Power 140hp@5500rpm Torque 220Nm@1500rpm Transmission 4×4, 6-speed manual
Quiet and refined at speed
Great spec and value
No spare wheel
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