We recently joined Suzuki in Palmerstown House Estate for the launch of the all-new Vitara. This breath taking location provided a tranquil and idyllic setting for Suzuki to tell us about the new Vitara but more importantly it offered the perfect test bed to drive both two and four wheel drive options. Located in the forest of the beautiful 700-acre estate, the recent addition of a 4×4 driving course run buy the experienced team at Off Road Ireland has been added and today it was to become our playground. The all-new Vitara is a fresh looking SUV that features cutting edge design and technology for pretty much bargain bread! For just €19,999 you can drive away in a brand new 1.6 GL or if you want some all wheel drive security then €27,995 will make you the proud owner of a GLX ALLGRIP. These prices are introductory but are fixed until October this year. The 1.6-litre DDiS engine, two-wheel drive and six-speed manual transmission has CO2 emissions of just 106g/km and 111g/km with the four-wheel drive six-speed manual transmission. A petrol 1.6 is also available with CO2 emissions of 123 g/km. After our detailed introduction delivered by Declan Maguire we were handed the keys of a GLX ALLGRIP and instructed to follow a leader around the challenging off road course. Getting there was a simple 2-kilometre trek on a nice smooth surface where the Vitara pulled swiftly through the gears.
Once at the base in the forest we were instructed on how to use our Hill Decent, and Lock mode selected from the ALLGRIP shifter, which engages the limited slip differential. This helps when wheel slippage is experienced by transferring torque to the wheels with the most grip. It’s a common enough feature in larger SUV’s but a welcome addition to a vehicle of this size. With everything engaged we set about tackling sharp docents with inclines to match. Even after a morning rain shower the Vitara handled the slippery route with ease. It felt surefooted and planted at all times and just took the route in its stride. We complete several laps before returning to the road. In everyday driving you would simply engage Auto from the ALLGRIP shifter and then the Suzuki puts fuel economy first and uses two-wheel drive by default before using four wheel drive if it detects wheel slippage.
Following our off road drive we jumped into some two wheel drive GLX diesel variants and set about exploring the vast surroundings of Palmertsown House. Aside from missing a few buttons and the ALLGRIP Shifter it looks and drives pretty much the same. You just have to decide if you need all wheel drive security or not! If this choice is hard then be prepared for another level of personalisation. Unlike Suzuki’s of the past, a new diverse range of colours and combinations are available to choose from for the new Vitara. Choose from 10 body colour possibilities that include two new colours as well as five two-tone combinations, which are becoming increasingly popular with all manufacturers. You can then select different grille colours and interior trim surrounds to make it truly personal. Just remember, the crazier you go the more difficult it might be to sell in future years!
On the safety front the Vitara has yet to be tested but it is expected that it will receive the maximum 5-star rating in Euro NCAP crash testing. Suzuki have fitted 7 airbags as standard, an Electronic Stability Programme, Radar Brake Support system available on GLX models and tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). These electronic aids along with the light impact absorbing body should leave you feeling safe in your daily commute. Suzuki has come a long way with the Vitara since it was first launched over 25 years ago and we believe this is a credible alternative to many of the leading SUV’s within this sector. On price alone you would be mad not to test-drive one before the introductory price changes. Suzuki anticipates selling 700 Vitara’s in the first 12 months on sale. Hopefully we will see plenty wearing 152 plates!
Suzuki Vitara Specification
Engine Size – 1.6
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 120hp
Torque – 320Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h) – 12.4 seconds
Top Speed – 180km/h
Consumption (Combined) – 4.2L/100km
CO2 Emissions – 111g/km
Road Tax – €200
Base Price – €19,995
Price as Tested – €27,995