Interior design and technology – Suzuki Vitara

By Matthew Beecham | 16 February 2018

The Suzuki Vitara is comfortable, spacious and practical; all ‘must haves’ for family buyers.

The Suzuki Vitara is comfortable, spacious and practical; all ‘must haves’ for family buyers.

Since 1988, Suzuki has launched four generations of its Vitara. Fast-forward three decades and the carmaker's latest incarnation competes head-on with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Kia Soul in the hugely popular crossover SUV segment. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside this compact SUV.

Trim torque

Launched in the UK in January 2016, the Vitara S model completed the range of four grades SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5. Standard equipment for all Vitara models is pretty comprehensive while the SZ4 model includes seven airbags, alloy wheels, cruise control with speed limiter, auto air-con and powered windows. It also keeps you entertained thanks to the DAB Radio with USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

SZ-T adds 17-inch silver painted alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, Smartphone link audio and navigation system. Moving up to SZ5 adds LED projector headlights, 17-inch polished alloy wheels, suede seat fabric, keyless entry with start button, adaptive cruise control, radar brake support (see below) and a panoramic sunroof.

Moving up a gear, the S model is equipped with 17-inch gloss black alloy wheels, unique grille design, satin silver door mirrors, rear upper spoiler and black side body mouldings. For the interior, the sporting theme continues with red air-con vents and instrument accents and alloy pedals. Ours had comfy suede seats with red stitching and a retro clock positioned in the centre of the dash.

The Vitara S is produced alongside other Vitara models at the Magyar Suzuki plant in Hungary. This facility also produces all Swift and S-Cross models for European markets as well as exports worldwide.

Advanced driver assistance systems

With a five star Euro NCAP score, it is no surprise to learn this car comes with plenty of active and passive safety equipment, including radar brake support system (RBS).  When travelling above 3mph, if the system detects a risk of collision with the vehicle in front, the driver is warned to apply the brakes. At higher speeds and it senses the possibility of a collision, the driver is warned with a buzzer and display on the dash.

The system warning can also be set for either far or near distance via a button on the dashboard. If the probability of a collision has increased, the system activates brake assist which increases the braking force during emergency braking. If the system determines that a collision is unavoidable, it applies the brakes automatically. The system thus helps prevent collisions when the vehicle is driving at low speeds and helps reduce damage in the event of an unavoidable collision.

The RBS system monitors the road ahead by means of milliwave radar. The radar technology enables it to work even at high speeds, in darkness, rain or other poor weather conditions.

On the road

The Vitara S that we took out and about had a 1.4-litre petrol engine with a Boosterjet turbocharger. It felt relaxing to drive and quick when required, sprinting from 0-62mph in just over ten seconds. It zoomed along the A1 thanks to the 140PS Direct Injection Turbocharged petrol engine (DITC) that offers a spread of torque from 1,500rpm – 41 percent more than the 1.6-litre engine. Fuel economy wise, this unit paired with an automatic gearbox returned 38mpg, a little short of the headline figure of 51mpg combined.

Suzuki's so-called Allgrip system is fitted as standard on the S and optional on SZ5 models. It has four driver-selectable modes, namely auto, sport, snow and lock. We had a dusting of snow in mid-February allowing us to select this option. In this mode, the system uses four-wheel drive by default. It optimises four-wheel drive control in accordance with steering and accelerator inputs to promote traction and stability on low friction surfaces. Although we didn't need the 'lock' mode – used for extricating the car from snow – it works using a limited slip differential which helps brake any slipping wheel and transfer torque to the gripping wheels. In sport mode, you get far more feedback from the steering.

While the second and third generation models were known as the Grand Vitara, the latest series has dropped the Grand from its name and uploaded more goodies. Although Vitara still boasts certain creature comforts, it lacks a few, e.g. a centre armrest (front and back) and powered seats. Yet it feels just as comfortable, spacious and practical; all 'must have' requirements for family buyers.