Suzuki Vitara


SUZUKI Australia says that the unavailability of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with the top-selling 1.6-litre powertrain in the latest Vitara has precluded the inclusion of the driver-assistance technology in the base models.

Speaking to GoAuto at the unveiling in Melbourne last week of the LY Series II Vitara – which costs $500 less for the entry-level variant, to $22,490 plus on-road costs – Suzuki Australia general manager for automobiles Michael Pachota revealed that it was not economically viable to discontinue such a strong seller.

“I wasn’t prepared to drop our best-selling variant altogether because the factory could not provide us with AEB,” Mr Pachota said. “Some 65 per cent of all Vitara volume is for the 1.6, and I didn’t want to walk away from that.”

While Suzuki does also offer an 82kW/160Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol unit – as seen in the Swift GLX Turbo – it has been ruled out for Australia in lieu of the 1.6 on both cost and driveability grounds.

“The alternative was the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo, and I’m not convinced that this is the right solution,” Mr Pachota said. “Certainly, not in terms of performance or price for Vitara buyers, as it would add significantly more to the price.”

He was quick to add that the Vitara is far from an unsafe proposition, since it is still classed as an ANCAP five-star model due to the fact it was tested before the more stringent rules regarding the standard fitment of AEB were applied in January 2018.

“The Vitara is still rated as a five-star-safety vehicle,” Mr Pachota said.

Unveiled in the middle of last year, the Vitara Series II is essentially a mildly made-over version of the successful four-year-old design, carrying over the same transversely mounted petrol powertrains.

These include the 86kW/156Nm 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine in the base grade, which is now simply known as Vitara, and the 103kW/220Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged unit in the Turbo variants.

Only the Turbo offers all-wheel drive as well as front-wheel drive, employing an on-demand system dubbed AllGrip.

The RT-X AWD powered by an 88kW/320Nm 1.6-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine has been ditched.

Visually, the facelift includes revisions to the grille, bumper, tail-lights (now LEDs), alloy wheels, interior trim and instrumentation.

There are fresh colours and higher-quality cabin materials, while on the safety front, Turbo models add AEB, lane departure warning, Weave Control, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, auto high beam and adaptive cruise control.

No meaningful changes have been made to the chassis, which continues with MacPherson-style struts up front and a torsion-beam rear end, with steering being an electric rack-and-pinion set-up.

Fuel consumption is rated at an unaltered 5.8 litres per 100km for the 1.6-litre with a five-speed manual gearbox, rising to 6.0L/100km for the six-speed torque-converter auto alternative.

The latter is the sole transmission in the Turbo variants, which return 5.9L/100km and 6.2L/100km in their respective FWD and AWD guises. Carbon dioxide emissions average out between 136 and 145 grams/km.

Included in all Vitaras is a reverse camera, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, climate control, keyless entry andstart, seven airbags, stability control, front fog lights and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The Turbo FWD adds the aforementioned driver-assist safety items, as well as suede trim inserts, rain-sensing wipers, improved audio, LED headlights, electrically folding and heated door mirrors and polished alloys, while the AWD scores hill-descent control, s panoramic sunroof and an overhead sunglasses holder.

The Vitara continues to be sourced from Hungary.

As before, Suzuki’s warranty is officially pegged at three-years/unlimited kilometres, though if buyers choose to activate the capped-price servicing regime, that automatically lifts to five years, bringing with it free roadside assistance over that extended period.

Service intervals remain at every six months/10,000km.

Vitara sales slumped 13.5 per cent last year, from 5805 to 5023 units, though it still managed to be Suzuki’s second most popular model after the high-flying Swift that recorded 7785 sales – a 20 per cent uplift.

In its small-SUV segment, the Vitara sat in 10th place overall for a 4.1 per cent share of the class (sliding from 5.5 per cent in 2017), trailing the leading Mitsubishi ASX (19,034), as well as the Mazda CX-3 (16,293), Nissan Qashqai (13,950), Subaru XV (12,937), Hyundai Kona (12,352), Honda HR-V (12,148), Toyota C-HR (9716), Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (7521) and Holden Trax (5433).

2019 Suzuki Vitara pricing*

Vitara $22,490
Vitara (a) $24,490
Turbo FWD (a) $29,990
Turbo AWD (a) $33,990

*Excludes on-road costs


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