2019 Suzuki Vitara

Updated Suzuki Vitara ditches diesel, gains new Boosterjet petrols

2019 Suzuki VitaraHot on the heels of the roaringly successful launch of the new Jimny, Suzuki has followed up with an update of its family-sized SUV, the Vitara. The firm has announced initial details of the refresh, ahead of ordering opening in September. 

The current Vitara has been a real hit for Suzuki: impressively, it has been the marque’s best-selling model in Britain since the launch of the fourth-generation in 2015.

2019 Suzuki Vitara

For 2019, new wheels, updated bumpers with a redesigned grille and new LED light graphics feature outside, while the cabin features a new instrument cluster and a new, higher-quality, soft-touch material on the upper instrument panel.

The big news for the updated Vitara, however, is its new engines, with the ageing 1.6-litre petrol ousted in favour of Suzuki’s critically-acclaimed Boosterjet 1.0-litre (111hp) and 1.4-litre (140hp) turbocharged engines.

Both are said to deliver reduced emissions and increased economy, although precise figures aren’t available just yet.

2019 Suzuki Vitara

What about diesel?

Interestingly, no mention is made of diesel in Suzuki’s release, with no new engines announced or, indeed, any word on whether the existing line-up continues unchanged. We called up Suzuki to get the lowdown.

“The 1.6-litre diesel engine will no longer be available in the Vitara. We found in other models that, once the Boosterjet petrol engines had been introduced, that demand significantly dropped for the diesel unit.

“It made sense to discontinue the diesel for the Vitara update as the Boosterjet engines were introduced.”

Long story short, then. Great new petrols, updated cabin, no more diesel! Are you tempted away from the Jimny? All will depend on prices: expect to find out more ahead of the 2019 Vitara’s introduction this autumn. 

As a reminder, the current Vitara starts from £15,999 (or £19,499 in diesel guise). Here’s hoping Suzuki keeps it close to that, and doesn’t make the mistake of hiking prices by too much, as it did with the 2018 Swift Sport

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Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki Vitara S: Two-Minute Road Test

Suzuki VitaraThis is the hot hatch of SUVs. It really is. It’s Suzuki’s latest (and rather good) Vitara, fitted with an all-new 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and, in this case, an automatic gearbox. But is it worth the £20,000-plus asking price? Keep clicking to find out…

Suzuki Vitara rivalsWhat are its rivals?

There’s no shortage of trendy crossovers on the market, especially if you’ve got a Vitara S budget to play with. There’s the darling of the segment, the Nissan Juke, as well as its platform-sharing Renault Captur. Both of these are perhaps quirkier choices, but lack the off-road credibility of the Vitara. Then there are fashionable options such as the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X – both of which are available with a 170hp petrol engine, if you’re after sprightly performance.

Suzuki VitaraWhich engine does it use?

So, that 1.4-litre turbo? Despite being smaller than the 1.6-litre petrol also offered, it actually sits above the bigger engine in the Vitara range. It produces 140hp and 162lb ft of torque (that’s more than Suzuki’s hot hatch, the Swift Sport), resulting in a 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds.

Suzuki VitaraWhat’s it like to drive?

The standard Vitara, especially when fitted with four-wheel-drive (standard on the Vitara S), handles really well. Body-roll is well controlled, while the steering provides plenty of feedback. It’s definitely a ‘warm hatch’ among crossover SUVs – even more so when fitted with this eager engine.

It feels considerably quicker than its 0-62mph time suggests. A low 1,210kg kerb weight (nothing for an SUV) makes it pretty nimble, while the automatic gearbox is quite happy to drop down in a hurry if you’re looking to overtake or accelerate out of a corner as quickly as possible.

Suzuki VitaraFuel economy and running costs

Following the downsized-engine-plus-turbo recipe, the Vitara S is actually more efficient than the sensible 1.6-litre in the range. Officially, anyway. While the auto returns 51.4mpg on the combined cycle (52.3mpg for the manual), small capacity turbos like this usually struggle to match their official figures. And if you drive it like a hot hatch? Well…

Suzuki VitaraIs it practical?

Yes, more so than many of its rivals. The Vitara boasts a 375-litre boot space with the seats up, while the boot opening is large and easily accessible. Rear passengers will appreciate the high-up seating position and good visibility and, although the interior does have a few less-than-premium plastics, it’s largely a pleasant cabin. There’s a lot of standard kit, too.

Suzuki VitaraWhat about safety?

The Vitara’s four-wheel-drive system should provide that extra stability if you regularly drive in slippery conditions. Like most of its ilk, it usually runs as a front-wheel drive car, diverting power to the rear when required. It’s clever, though – the Vitara will anticipate this before it happens. So, if you mash the accelerator mid-bend, it’ll send power to the rear before it detects slip.

Combine this with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and a plethora of tech (such as an automatic radar braking system), and the Vitara should prove a very safe family SUV.

Suzuki VitaraWhich version should I go for?

If you’re after the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine (we’d recommend it if you’re budget can stretch to it), you’re restricted to the top-of-the-range Vitara S. The only choice to make then is the £20,899 manual or £22,249 auto. We’d probably opt for the manual ’box, but that comes down to personal preference.

Suzuki VitaraShould I buy one?

If you want a crossover that drives really well, then yes. It’s a hefty price to pay for a Vitara, but you do get a lot for your money in the range-topping Vitara S. Suzuki has a reputation for making reliable cars, so the Vitara shouldn’t prove troublesome, and it has more off-road ability that most of its peers. It’s a smart buy.

Suzuki VitaraPub fact

To brighten up the cabin, Suzuki has given the Vitara S various splashes of colour as standard. We like the red stitching on the steering wheel and seats, but the rings around the air vents definitely look pink to us. They’re red, insists Suzuki, but they’re anodised – which might make them appear pink in certain lights. Tell that to your mates down the pub.

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