THE advent of the turbocharged one-litre petrol engine has made a huge impact on customer choice.

Take the Suzuki Vitara for example. This is not a small car by any means, but it somehow makes perfect sense when matched with what Suzuki calls its 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine.

It may not offer a dynamic drive, but with an official combined fuel economy of about 46mpg and a price tag that offers exceptional value there is no wonder that it has found so many new homes and even outsells the company’s excellent Swift hatchback.

But let me just refer back to that fuel economy figure. During a week of road-testing on a wide variety of roads and in both city and country environments I was surprised to see I was registering almost 53mpg throughout.

You could opt for a more powerful 1.4 Boosterjet engine but I would argue that the lower-powered version is perfectly adequate for most drivers. Its 0 to 62mph sprint time of 11.5 seconds is admittedly a little sluggish when compared with the bigger petrol unit’s time of 10.2 seconds, but that sort of comparison is not what the Vitara is about.

Offering the same level of power and torque of a much larger capacity normally aspirated engine (1.7 to1.8-litre), the 1.0 unit delivers an effortless drive.

Rugged with a thoroughly modern twist, the Vitara utilises strong SUV styling with a superb range of colour packages that include two-tone packages.

It appeals as a two-wheel drive urban runaround with excellent visibility and as a four-wheel drive sturdy companion able to cope with most whether conditions and terrains.

Standard equipment for all Vitara models is comprehensive and the SZ4 model includes seven airbags, alloy wheels, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control with speed limiter, auto air conditioning and front and rear electric windows.

SZ-T adds new design 17-inch silver painted alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, white stitching for seat trim fabric, smartphone link audio and navigation system.

Moving up to SZ5 adds LED projector headlights, 17-inch polished alloy wheels, suede seat fabric, keyless entry with start button, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, dual sensor brake support and a panoramic sunroof.

Where the Vitara has failed to come up to scratch in the past is in the use of cheaper plastics. Now there is a new seat trim design, the instrument panel is upgraded to a soft touch material and the instrument cluster now features a central colour information display. Its no Range Rover, but it is a welcome improvement.

The well-packaged interior also offers a satisfactory amount of space for rear seat passengers.

The compact dimensions of this five-door will not deter those looking for an SUV that is relatively easy to park and has the advantage of a raised driving position. With a nod to Suzuki’s SUV styling heritage, the clamshell bonnet gives the front end a beefy look of solidity, while the roof line slopes gently downward toward the rear.

First introduced in 2015, the Suzuki Vitara has earned high acclaim for its stylish design, compact and easy to manage dimensions, good on-road performance and genuine off-road capability.

Now in 2019, the Vitara has benefited from styling upgrades, new engines and a higher level of technology and safety features.

There’s a new, more elegant front face with redesigned grille and lower bumper and the rear lamps have now been redesigned with a distinctive LED display. With a powertrain that delivers satisfactory levels of performance and fuel economy,Suzuki has not only achieved the right look for the Vitara but also done it at a very good price.


Suzuki Vitara 1.0 Boosterjet SZT 2W

Price: £18,999 (range from £16,999)

Engine: Three-cylinder 1.0-litre Boosterjet petrol, producing 111PS

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 11.5 seconds; top speed 111mph

Economy: 45.9mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 139g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: *****

Equipment: ***

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: *****