We drove the limited edition Suzuki Grand Vitara crossover and we were impressed with what we saw.
Less is more. Those are the words that best describe the Suzuki Grand Vitara. While other manufacturers went the aggressive route with their top hats, Suzuki kept its lines muted and low-key, similar to designs of European origin. The silhouette of the original Vitara is still discernible in their current generation model, yet it exudes a modern, minimalist vibe that never goes out of style.
New to the Grand Vitara is its front grill and the new bumper that incorporates its fog lamps. The side mirrors with signal repeaters, outer door handles, as well as its spare tire cover, now come in body color, making everything matchy-matchy and pleasing to the eyes.
The unit we drove was a tasteful shade of bronze that is only available with the limited edition variant. The other special features that come with this trim were its 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, front grills, champagne-colored accents for the center console, dash, and door trims, as well as the suede and fabric seat upholstery.
Suzuki describes the Grand Vitara as their off-road athlete, offering a more comprehensive package than their smaller 4×4, the Jimny. Measuring 4500 (L) x 1,810 (W) x 1,683 (H), and with a minimum ground clearance of 188 mm, Suzuki’s crossover sits five, and offers generous legroom for its occupants, and a workable amount of luggage space in the boot.
The minimalist approach still applies to the interior of the Grand Vitara. The dark interior is streamlined with symmetrical knobs and switches, and pop-up covers that neatly conceal the cubby and cup holders when not in use.
The integrated instrumentation is a three-ring affair, each coming with its own housing and trims. Aside from the usual warnings, it also displays instantaneous fuel mileage, average fuel consumption, and cruising range distance. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is tilt and telescopic, and is fitted with volume and search controls.
The head unit has a touch-screen display, with Tuner/MP3/TV/VCD/DVD and navigation functionality. The unit supports Bluetooth connectivity and has numerous media ports, including a 30-pin cable (for the iPhone 4s and its contemporaries) and a female USB plug tucked away in the glove box. For the techies, the Grand Vitara also has two 12-volt outlets on the center console for the myriad of devices we constantly need to juice up.
The Grand Vitara is powered by Suzuki’s 2.4 liter J24B gasoline engine that produces 230Ps @ 6000rpm and maximum torque of 227Nm @ 3800rpm. This 16-valve DOHC with variable valve timing (VVT) power plant is the same one that powers Suzuki’s sporty D-segment sedan, the Kizashi. Locally, the Grand Vitara is only available with 4-speed automatic transmission and comes with a gated shifter that is mounted on the center console. Stopping power is courtesy of front and rear ventilated discs, and comes with ABS, EBD, and Brake Assist.
The rear-wheel-drive Grand Vitara has a monocoque body with a built-in ladder frame for greater stability and enhanced rigidity. Independent McPherson strut front and Multi-Link type rear suspension gives it its confident handling, although personally, I would have wanted it a bit softer to absorb more bumps.
Other safety features include high mount stop lamp, dual airbags, side impact beams, energy absorbing trim, as well as Suzuki’s patented TECT design on its body.
User Experience 4/5
Despite what its name suggests, the Suzuki Grand Vitara isn’t a grandiose carriage that will whisk you away in the lap of luxury. It also isn’t a huge SUV that will seat three families. And it doesn’t have the cushy soft leather seats and gizmos we usually associate with top tier variants. What it is, however, is a no-nonsense crossover, that is totally capable of transporting you and your family for work and for play. It is comfortable and has Zen-like styling that I actually find quite elegant.
Visibility is good behind the wheel, and both seating and pedal positions are very comfortable. Steering is a bit on the heavy side, but nothing unreasonable. Handling is responsive. Suspension is a bit stiff, but with our roads, it’s just about right.
My biggest gripe about it though would have to be its lack of backup sensors. Even though it’s already equipped with a monitor to display the feed from a rear camera, I would have been fine with just proximity sensors that beeped when you approached anything solid. The other thing is the automatic shifter – I’m not sure if it was because its gated shifter lacked the shift lock button on the shaft, but shifting from PARK to DRIVE (or wherever) was sometimes pretty harsh. The good thing though is that it doesn’t affect anything once you get in gear.
The Suzuki Grand Vitara is priced at PHP 1,160,000, while the limited edition variant pegged at PHP 1,210,000. This attractive price tag certainly makes the Grand Vitara a practical choice in its segment. Shipped straight from Japan, the Grand Vitara is available in six popular colors: white, silver, grey, black, brown, and limited edition bronze.
In the market for a new crossover? Make sure that the Grand Vitara is in your short list.
- Elegant Styling
- Attractive pricing
- No reverse sensors
- Fuel consumption is a bit high in the city
Originally published in Gadgets Magazine August 2015 issue.
Photos by Nicolo David