Suzuki has re-launched the Vitara nameplate In Australia this week, adding an all-new small SUV to complement the existing Grand Vitara, S-Cross and Jimny in the Japanese automaker's crossover/4WD line-up.
Prices start at $21,990 for the base model RT-S five-speed manual, with the optional six-speed automatic attracting a $2000 premium. The flagship RT-X will be available with a 6-speed automatic only with an RRP of $31,990.
Suzuki expects its new Vitara to appeal to buyers transitioning from small hatches to small SUVs.
“Vitara has better fuel economy than Australia’s two best-selling small hatches and loads more style and space, so I am confident we will have a significant number of customers cross-over from the small car segment,” said Suzuki Australia's general manager of automobiles, Andrew Moore.
“This Vitara re-invents the compact SUV segment with a blend of SUV lifestyle and urban convenience, which has never been offered before.
"This new concept of a car has so much more style and value than any competitor in its class. Unsurprisingly, we already have a strong order bank and unprecedented consumer interest”
Suzuki hopes many of those customers will be enticed by the Vitara's keen value-for-money proposition, with the base RT-S sporting a well-rounded spec sheet with a modern sat-nav infotainment display as the centrepiece.
With multi-touch controls and smartphone mirroring, the Vitara's colour touchscreen interface is designed to look and operate like a modern smartphone with pinch-to-zoom, 3D mapping and on-screen slider controls for volume.
It can also display and read out text messages, reducing driver distraction.
Similarly-sized externally to the Mazda CX-3, the Vitara has a larger boot than its Japanese compatriot with a seats-up volume of 375 litres - similar to most small hatches on the market. The Honda HR-V's 437 litre boot bests it, however.
- 7 airbags
- Stability control, ABS, EBD and brake assist
- Cruise control
- Digital climate control
- Satellite navigation
- Bluetooth phone and audio integration
- USB audio input with iPod connectivity
- Steering wheel audio controls
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- LED daytime running lights
- Power windows and mirrors
- Keyless entry & start system
- Digital climate control
- Polished 17-inch alloy wheels
- Panoramic glass sunroof
- Front and rear parking sensor
- Chrome grille
- Self-levelling, dusk-sensing LED headlamps
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Electric folding door mirrors
- Suede door trim
- Leather upholstery with suede inserts
Both the RT-S and RT-X are powered by the same 86kW/156Nm 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated petrol four, which makes peak power at 6000rpm and maximum torque at 4400rpm.
Mounted transversely, it drives the front wheels only in the RT-S via either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic, while the RT-X scores an automatic as standard as well as Suzuki's AllGrip on-demand AWD drivetrain.
Though ordinarily taking power to the front wheels in most conditions, the RT-X's AWD driveline can be set to Sport or Snow modes to increase the amount of rear axle torque, or locked to a 50:50 front:rear split when the going gets tough.
Hill descent control is also standard on the RT-X
However the extra weight of the AWD hardware impacts fuel economy. While the RT-S consumes a modest 5.8 l/100km in manual form (6.0 l/100km with the auto), the RT-X is slightly thirstier with its 6.3 l/100km combined cycle consumption.
All Vitara models ride on MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension, with ventilated disc brakes up front and solid discs on the rear axle. Ground clearance for both RT-S and RT-X is 185mm.
The 2016 Suzuki Vitara range is available now, with retail pricing below. For a limited time Suzuki will also be offering sharp drive-away prices for the RT-S, with the manual available for $22,990 drive away and the auto at $24,990 drive away.
- Suzuki Vitara RT-S manual: $21,990
- Suzuki Vitara RT-S automatic: $23,990
- Suzuki Vitara RT-X automatic: $31,990
- Two-tone paint: $995
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