Where adventures await with the new Suzuki Grand Vitara 

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Where adventures await with the new Suzuki Grand Vitara 

Murali Naidu

The Suzuki Grand Vitara has had a makeover; some may fancy it, and some may not.

Developed through a partnership with Toyota and manufactured at the Kirloskar factory in India, this crossover SUV features new aesthetics and technology. It sways more toward the crossover segment than being more of an off-roading machine; the die-hard Suzuki fans may have little fanfare for it due to those new aspects.

Now, visually, The Grand Vitara delivers and looks excellent with a prominent-looking front end boasting a clamshell hood similar to its predecessor; it's pretty modern, and I suspect the front fascia will age well in time. It has three-point LED daytime running lights. As your eyes follow, one will notice the sides feature plastic-clad wheel arches, and slotting between them are funky 17-inch alloy wheels. At the top, it has silver roof rails, meaning more storage space for those long journeys ahead. Furthermore, the Grand Vitara boasts a commendable 210mm of ground clearance.

The rear end showcases LED taillights connected by a futuristic LED light bar, increasing the overall dimensions of the back end and giving it more presence. Also, boot space offers 373l, and with all seats folded down, it expands to 1 147l.

There are five model grades, starting with the entry-level 1.5 GL manual and the top-spec all-wheel-drive 1.5 Hybrid GLX AllGrip. Interior fit-and-finish is the distinguisher and offers two trim levels, the GL and GLX. You can get it in a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual, depending on which variant you choose.

The GL has a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility), a rear-view camera, automatic climate control, cruise control, and a leather multifunction steering wheel. It also sports a full-colour TFT display for vehicle settings and information in the instrument cluster.

If you go for the top-tier 1.5 GLX manual, which we sampled, it boasts a few niceties: a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 360º view camera, a head-up display, and inductive smartphone charging. The GLX also has leatherette seat upholstery, interior ambient lighting, additional USB charging ports for rear passengers, a panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, and enhanced audio with extra speakers. 

All model variants have a few safety features, including six airbags, ABS brakes with emergency brakes, electronic stability control, hill hold assist, ISOFIX mounting points and rear parking sensors. 

Besides the 1.5 GLX Hybrid AllGrip automatic, all derivatives are powered by a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol motor that pushes out 77KW and 138NM of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

The daily driving was adequate; it felt comfortable, the gearbox was smooth, and the clutch was soft. It's a straightforward car to drive, although, on highways, the motor does tend to battle due and needs another gear that results in the high revs, which creates a nosier cabin altogether; I think adding sixth gear would have made a mighty difference. Regarding fuel economy, Suzuki's claimed consumption is 5.6l /100 km; I achieved 7.1l/100km. 

Additionally, the GLX trim offers the Grand Vitara Hybrid AllGrip, equipped with the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine tuned to produce 76kW and 137Nm. This version benefits from a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and is connected to Suzuki's sixth-generation AllGrip variable all-wheel drive system through a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The AllGrip system provides real-time torque distribution with four modes: Auto, Sport, Snow, and Lock, offering adaptability for various driving conditions. The "Lock" mode ensures even power distribution among all four wheels, enhancing off-road capabilities.

In conclusion, the Grand Vitara brings value, comfort, and practicality to the party at a fairly decent price. 

The Suzuki Grand Vitara is now available at Suzuki dealerships nationwide, with the following pricing:

- 1.5 GL manual: R339,900

- 1.5 GL automatic: R359,900

- 1.5 GLX manual: R397,900

- 1.5 GLX automatic: R417,900

- 1.5 GLX Hybrid AllGrip automatic: R529,900

 Each Grand Vitara model offers a six-year/90,000km service plan and a five-year/200,000km warranty.



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