Suzuki Vitara Review & Prices
The Suzuki Vitara is a no-fuss SUV that’s perfect for a growing family. It’s good to drive and offers decent space, but alternatives look more luxurious inside
Find out more about the Suzuki Vitara
If you’re looking for an affordable SUV with a raised driving position that’s reassuring to drive, the Suzuki Vitara is a great choice. Its bold looks mean you won’t lose it in a car park and there’s loads of space for carrying passengers, too.
Unlike the Honda HR-V and Peugeot 2008, the Suzuki Vitara doesn’t look like a pumped-up family hatchback on stilts. Instead, it has a bit more of that old-school off-roader appeal, but like a fancy hiking boot with a memory foam inner, it still has the latest tech beneath the surface to satisfy the modern buyer.
Things are sporty at the front, where some chrome trims inject a little life into the Suzuki’s angular headlights and a pair of upturned fog light surrounds make it look like it’s wearing a comedy moustache disguise.
These fun little details continue inside, too. There are splashes of silver on the air vents and steering wheel, alongside a few slabs of shiny metal effect plastic on the dashboard and doors. Sadly, while it might look cool, the Suzuki’s numerous hard plastics and brittle trims feel more like they belong propping up an Ikea bookshelf than taking pride of place in a funky SUV’s cabin.
It’s a similar story with the Suzuki Vitara’s 7.0-inch infotainment system, which looks more Fisher-Price than iPhone but at least that means it’s a doddle to use. It gets all the smartphone mirroring features you’ll need and is easy to use while you’re driving.
It’s equally easy to pack the Suzuki Vitara with plenty of passengers – and their luggage. There’s more space in the back than you get in a Peugeot 2008 or Honda HR-V and the boot’s plenty big enough for a huge weekly shop or a family’s luggage for a week or so away.
Don’t think Suzuki’s forgotten about front-seat space, though. Every Vitara comes with height-adjustment so you can tower over traffic even if you’re rather short. Its big windows give you a great view out, too.
Pick the Vitara if you want an enjoyable small SUV that can actually go off road
All this makes it very easy to drive around town. The standard manual gearbox is easy to use and the steering’s nice and light, which helps make squeezing into tight parking spaces and dodging through traffic pretty much stress-free.
That being said, it’s not quite as comfortable or as quiet as a Honda HR-V or Peugeot 2008. The 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine option is pretty smooth and feels perky, but it’ll be a little thirsty on long motorway drives, even with its mild-hybrid technology. Even more so if you go for all-wheel drive. You can also opt for a 1.5-litre full-hybrid model, it’s automatic-only and a tad slower, although economy figures should be slightly better.
The Suzuki’s party-piece is how surprisingly good fun it is to drive – for a tall SUV, at least. It barely leans in tight corners and has masses of grip which gives you the confidence to drive it like a hot hatch on your favourite stretch of winding country road – if that’s your sort of thing.
This doesn’t quite make up for the Vitara’s rather cheap-feeling cabin, but at least it helps it stand out from the crowd of more expensive and pretty dull-to-drive SUVs. On the subject of price, see how much you can save on our Suzuki Vitara deals page. There are even some used Suzuki Vitaras available to browse.
The Suzuki Vitara has a RRP range of £23,250 to £30,399. However, with carwow you can save on average £1,016. Prices start at £22,236 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £242. The price of a used Suzuki Vitara on carwow starts at £9,998.
Our most popular versions of the Suzuki Vitara are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.4 Boosterjet 48V Hybrid SZ-T 5dr||£23,835||Compare offers|
The Vitara offers some good value in base trim, with the SZ-T Mild Hybrid offering a solid spec list and spacious interior that matches up well to the Peugeot 2008 and SEAT Arona. It’s also the only one of those with mild-hybrid power which makes it more powerful yet just as efficient.
Top-spec SZ5 trims and the self-charging hybrid engines are more of a mixed bag. The higher pricing puts them up against more powerful alternatives, although the Vitara’s fuel economy is still commendable and it is one of the few smaller family SUVs available with a proper all-wheel-drive option.
The Suzuki Vitara is well-suited to town driving, offering good visibility and light controls. It’s less accomplished on the motorway where its refinement levels are below some key alternatives
The Vitara has great all-round visibility thanks to its lofty ride height and large window area. The light controls aid parking manoeuvres, while the suspension is happy to soak up rutted roads and potholes. Traffic sign recognition and emergency brake support are also nice-to-haves when negotiating packed city streets.
A rearview camera is standard, but front and rear parking sensors are only offered on the higher SZ5 trim. Keyless entry (great when you have your hands full of shopping bags), is standard aside from the base SZ-T trim when it’s equipped with the manual transmission.
On the motorway
The Suzuki Vitara comes with a selection of driver aids including adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning and prevention; all aimed at taking the strain out of motorway drives. The comfortable interior and good visibility will keep passengers happy on longer trips, although refinement levels aren’t as good as alternatives. Road and wind noise at speed is quite noticeable. The mild-hybrid engine copes well enough on longer journeys, but it needs a bit of encouragement when overtaking slower traffic or merging quickly onto the highway. The self-charging hybrid model is even less enthusiastic when pushed.
On a twisty road
The Suzuki Vitara surprises with its sprightly responses and good body control around twisty roads. Despite its tall stance it doesn’t lean much in corners and grip levels are good, too.
Neither engine option is especially powerful, but the Vitara feels solid and safe when pushed. The optional all-wheel-drive system provides additional grip on slippery road surfaces. It comes with selectable Auto, Sport and Snow driving modes for road use, and a Lock setting which permanently engages the all-wheel-drive system to get you out of a sticky situation.
There’s plenty of passenger space in the Vitara, although there are more practical alternatives out there. And ones with bigger boots
The Vitara has a larger and more spacious cabin than many of its similarly-priced alternatives. The front seats offer a lot of movement, and the steering-wheel can be adjusted for rake and reach. A centre armrest offers a place to store items you want to keep out of sight. There’s a decently-sized cubby and a phone storage shelf ahead of the gearlever as well.
The front door bins have cut outs for large water bottles, although they aren’t padded so smaller items like keys will rattle around in there.
Space in the back seats
The Suzuki Vitara has three seats in the rear just like every other family SUV in this class, however it offers more legroom and shoulder room than many alternatives, including the Peugeot 2008 and Honda HR-V. Even with the panoramic sunroof you get in the SZ5 trim, taller adults should have no issues with headroom.
That said, the centre seat is slightly narrower than the outside pair, and there is a small transmission hump in the floor which can get in the way when climbing into the middle. Two door bins and front seatback pockets are provided for storage.
The Vitara has a relatively small boot for this class, offering 289 litres in self-charging hybrid trim, and 362 litres in mild hybrid form. A SEAT Arona offers 400 litres, while the Peugeot 2008 has 434 litres at its disposal. More comparable is the Honda HR-V self-charging hybrid, although it too has slightly more than the equivalent Vitara, offering 319 litres.
Things don’t improve much with the rear seats folded flat, as the storage area increases to just 642 litres, well behind the 1,200+ litres most alternatives offer. Still, the available space is very useable, thanks to a moveable boot floor, low loading lip and wide opening boot.
The Vitara looks to be well-built, but the material quality and infotainment system just can’t compete with most alternatives
Slip into the fabric-covered front seats (suede on the SZ5 trim), and the Vitara’s interior looks a bit, well, underwhelming. It feels well put together, but the quality of the materials is well behind alternatives like the SEAT Arona and Peugeot 2008, with plenty of hard and cheap-looking plastics scattered about the cabin.
The 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen fitted to all models come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. SZ5 trims get sat nav as well, but if you don’t want to upgrade then you can use your phone’s integrated apps.
The system is simple enough to use, although it can be laggy at times and you will want to avoid the fiddly touch-sensitive audio controls and just use the steering-wheel mounted buttons instead.
A USB plug point is provided up front and a four-speaker audio system is standard, with the SZ5 gaining a pair of tweeters for slightly enhanced sound quality.
The Suzuki Vitara is offered with either a mild-hybrid 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, or a 1.5-litre full-hybrid petrol option. A six-speed manual is standard on the 1.4-litre, while an automatic transmission is fitted to the 1.5-litre engine. All-wheel-drive is an option on both engines.
The 1.4-litre mild-hybrid produces 127hp and will accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds. The official fuel economy figure is a decent 52.7mpg. Those figures are for the front-wheel-drive version equipped with a manual gearbox. Adding all-wheel-drive will see that overall fuel economy drop to 48.3mpg, and acceleration suffer as well. The Peugeot 2008 offers similar fuel economy but is somewhat slower than the front-wheel-drive Vitara.
The Vitara is also available with a 113hp 1.5-litre ‘Full-Hybrid’ engine. This is actually a self-charging hybrid capable of short stints of all-electric driving, rather than a plug-in hybrid. At 53mpg, it is only marginally more fuel efficient than the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, and its 12.7-second 0-62mph time is significantly slower. If you want an automatic transmission then this is the only engine that it is offered with, and while it is out of its depth on the motorway, it does make for a relaxed and efficient town car. Pairing it with the all-wheel-drive system will see your fuel economy drop to 48.4mpg.
The Vitara has been around for some years now, and its five-star 2015 Euro NCAP rating has now expired. It may not fare as well under the stricter testing procedures employed today, but it does come with a decent level of safety kit as standard.
Traffic sign recognition, emergency brake support, a rearview camera and adaptive cruise control are all standard. Keyless entry is also part of the package except for the base SZ-T when it’s equipped with the manual transmission.
Lane departure warning and prevention are fitted to all trims, with the SZ5 gaining surround parking sensors as well.
Owner surveys have shown that the Suzuki Vitara is a rugged and reliable SUV. Its low running costs and handling came in for praise. There have been just three recalls over the years, the most serious being a rear axle that may fail.
The Vitara gets an industry standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty, this can be extended at an additional cost. Like most alternatives, Suzuki’s service plans can be paid off in installments, which can help manage running costs.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.