The Vitara is a long-serving nameplate for Suzuki, but with the fourth-generation model launched in 2015, it became a cultured, urbane crossover that deserves to compete for sales in the congested B-segment marketplace.
Between 2015 and late 2018, there were three models of Suzuki Vitara, two powered by petrol and one by a turbodiesel engine. The latter was a 1.6-litre unit rated at 120hp and 320Nm, badged DDiS. Meanwhile, the petrol range kicked off with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder motor, delivering 120hp but just 156Nm, as it didn’t use a turbocharger. Above this was a smaller capacity but turbocharged 1.4-litre powerplant in the excellent Vitara S, a 140hp/220Nm model which also gained sporty exterior and interior styling. For the facelift in 2018, Suzuki dropped the diesel engine and replaced the normally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol option with the company’s superb ‘BoosterJet’ 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. Power dropped to 111hp but torque increased to 170Nm, and the BoosterJet is a better car to drive than the old 120hp 1.6. Meanwhile, the 1.4-litre turbo unit continued but the Vitara S was dropped, making the 140hp petrol simply an engine choice for the various trim lines (which run GL, GL+, SZ4, SZ-T and then SZ5). Throughout the Vitara Mk4’s life, both manual and automatic transmissions have been offered, the auto being a rarity. Both the 1.6-litre pre-facelift petrol and the 1.0-litre BoosterJet Vitaras use a five-speed manual gearbox, while the DDiS and Vitara S/1.4 use a six-speed transmission. Some models of Vitara are front-wheel drive, while the Japanese company has also offered the Allgrip four-wheel-drive system on various models.
Our favourite Suzuki Vitara is the S, because the 140hp engine isn’t bad on fuel at all and yet its far superior torque numbers (compared to the other petrol options, at least) makes it a much sweeter vehicle to drive. It also looks good, inside and out.
Suzuki Vitara S (pre-2018)
Engine: 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Maximum speed: 200km/h
0-100km/h: 10.2 seconds
Fuel consumption: 5.4 litres/100km
• Sweet Vitara S model
• Spacious and well-equipped interior
• Even Allgrip AWD models are light
• Gutless 1.6-litre petrol variant
• Some flimsy cabin finishing
• Can suffer from a poor ride
The Suzuki Vitara is currently the largest of the brand’s four SUVs and it’s also one of the best. It therefore makes a superb used proposition, as you can save thousands of Euro on showroom list prices by bagging one of the bargain pre-facelift models second-hand. It’s by no means perfect but as a capacious, usable crossover with a good reliability record, the Vitara is hard to beat.