Suzuki has confirmed its new 2015 small SUV will be called Vitara – reviving the name of its sector-defining mini 4×4 that launched 25 years ago.
The new Suzuki Vitara is a five-door small SUV rival models like the Nissan Juke and Vauxhall Mokka, and is derived from the IV-4 concept car revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2013.
It will make its world debut almost a year on from the reveal of the IV-4, at the Paris Motor Show 2014 on Thursday 2 October.
Suzuki’s not giving much away ahead of the reveal, but does say the new 2015 Vitara will let customers personalise it with plentiful colour and trim options. It expects most will be sold as front-wheel drive models but ALLGRIP four-wheel drive will be available, as will a range of petrol and diesel engines.
Suzuki’s setting the bar high by claiming “low CO2 emissions as well as outstanding fuel economy in the sector”.
Suzuki Vitara: reviving the original
The original Suzuki Vitara was launched in 1989, initially as a three-door model (the long-wheelbase five-door followed in 1991). Smart, modern styling was worlds away from the archaic SJ410 that, in the 1980s, was famous for falling over: the Vitara was popular straight from launch.
It wasn’t fast, with just 80hp from its 1.6-litre engine, but it had four-wheel drive capabilities combined with decent-for-the-time on-road manners, plus upmarket features such as tweed upholstery and electric windows.
A facelift followed in 1993 which upped the sophistication, but rivals by now were catching up with Suzuki’s pioneering Vitara – most notably, Toyota with the 1994 RAV4. This was a more car-like compact SUV whose greater refinement and luxury likely drew many original Vitara buyers.
The Vitara was superseded by the larger Grand Vitara 1998, eventually fading from the market. With the all-new one, Suzuki will be hoping it can revive the appeal that made the original one such a hit. UK buyers will be able to judge for themselves from spring 2015.