The Suzuki Vitara is a rugged-looking family SUV that drives well and has plenty of storage space, but it’s let down by a cheap-feeling interior
The Suzuki Vitara is an affordable small SUV that looks good, has loads of room for your passengers and is surprisingly good fun to drive.
Unfortunately, the Vitara’s interior feels decidedly cheap in places – most obviously the scratchy dashboard and door trims. High-spec SZ5 models have leather and suede-trimmed seats as standard and feel noticeably more upmarket as a result. Both the front seats come with height adjustment as standard but no models come with the option of lumbar support – long journeys can prove slightly uncomfortable as a result.
You’ll find the infotainment system – standard on all but entry-level Suzuki Vitara SZ4 models – is far more user-friendly than the ones in the Peugeot 2008 and Honda HR-V. Its clear screen, intuitive menus and colourful graphics all make it easy to use on the move and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as standard means you can mirror your smartphone’s display on the built-in screen, too.
The Suzuki Vitara shines in the practicality stakes, too – you get more headroom and legroom in the back of the Vitara than in either the Peugeot 2008 or Honda HR-V. There is a slight lump in the rear floor and the seats are a little hard but there’s enough shoulder room for three adults to get fairly comfortable – on short journeys at least.
The high-up seat bases and obvious Isofix points make fitting a child seat base easy but lifting the seat itself through the narrow rear door openings can be a bit of a pain.
The Suzuki Vitara’s 375-litre boot lags behind the more practical 410-litre Peugeot 2008 and 589-litre Honda HR-V, but it comes with a few handy hooks and cubbies and a useful storage tray under the floor. Its capacity grows to a fair 1,160 litres with the rear seats folded and its adjustable floor means you can easily slide in heavy or bulky items.
The Suzuki Vitara’s got plenty of space inside and it’s good fun to drive – just don’t expect to be wowed by the quality of its interior
You can get the Suzuki Vitara with a choice of one diesel or two petrol engines. If you’re going to do a lot of miles then get the 1.6-litre diesel – it’ll return around 55mpg – while the 1.6-litre petrol is a better choice if you spend more time in the city. It’ll return around 40mpg and is significantly smoother than the noisier diesel.
Driving the Vitara is pretty easy around town– even with the standard manual gearbox – but you can choose to fit a smooth six-speed automatic to petrol models. Four-wheel drive is also offered, but it reduces fuel economy and isn’t worth it unless you’ll regularly take your Suzuki Vitara off-road. Whatever you plan to do you can be assured the Vitara’s safe – Euro NCAP awarded it an impressive five-star safety rating in 2015, but the test has been made stricter since then.
The Suzuki Vitara makes a compelling alternative to Peugeot and Honda offerings – and it’s definitely worth considering if you want a small SUV that’s fun to drive, good value, if not especially stylish.