Auto Review - Suzuki Vitara GL
I remember in the ‘80s when the term ‘SUV’ was not popular, yet the concept was displayed with vehicles like the Isuzu trooper and the Chevrolet Blazer that populated Jamaican roads. Suzuki saw the potential of this market, and in 1988, began producing the Vitara. By the mid-90s, the brand began to make its presence felt and quickly became a favourite of middle management and young professionals. It was touted as an affordable and reliable SUV that could do everything - and then some - when compared to the other popular brands.
The designs were edgy and sharp as some of the Vitaras were soft top and promoted an adventure-driven lifestyle.
Through the years, the Vitara model has stood strong as many are still being driven on our roads.
In 2015, for its fourth generation, Suzuki made a major adjustment to keep up with the automotive trend by entering the crossover market. To do this, the brand split the Vitara into two models, calling the smaller version the Vitara, and in 2022, the larger version The Grand Vitara.
Still in its fourth generation, the model has been given a series of facelifts to ensure that its design stays modern. Some of these changes include a design tweak to the front bumper and a driver-safety system called Dual Sensor Break support.
Sharp, angular, black accents are used in the front fascia - to give a more pronounced look - around areas such as the fog lights and below the radiator grille.
The bonnet has a clamshell-like design, and from the front, the vehicle looks bold for its size. At the side, there is a strong character line, which starts at the front door and runs over the rear-wheel arch.
From the back, the tail lights are protruding to give the vehicle an edgy appearance. Also, the colour scheme of the model I got was very attractive as the lively red was complemented by black and grey accents.
At the base of the vehicle, below the trunk, is the singular reverse light, which is in the middle of the bumper.
Sticking with what works
The GL model for the brand represents the entry-level option for persons who are buying this vehicle. So if you are looking for more luxury, you can inquire about the GL+ version. This unit came with one solid colour and two-toned fabric seats that have comfortable side bolsters.
Even though it is not known to be a luxury brand, Suzuki tries its best to ensure that the interior design is stylish and presentable, using chrome accents on the steering wheel, door handles, and dashboard to give the vehicle a sleek look.
The three-spoke steering wheel can both tilt and be adjusted for reach, and it has buttons for the cruise control as well as the infotainment system.
In the gauge cluster is an info display screen that can show the outside temperature and the fuel-consumption gauge, among other things.
There are four speakers that are connected to the audio system, which is equipped with Bluetooth, MP3, and CD players. On this lower model, it is not superfancy, but it functions properly as I was able to pair my Bluetooth seamlessly as well as find music from my playlist on my phone.
The 1.6-litre engine is very reliable and gives adequate power for city and out-of-town driving. Though this vehicle is a crossover, it handles challenges much similar to a mid-size SUV. The last time I reviewed one I took it through a parochial road, up to a community called Bowden Pen. Though I had to take my time over the rocky terrain, I was impressed that the torque could pull the vehicle through these challenges.
This is something I believe Suzuki does not get enough credit for as the company has been consistently making reliable vehicles that are in an affordable price range. It is not going to wow you with speed, however, it will get the job done. This can include carrying the family on a long journey or driving the vehicle through terrain that is better suited for an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
Available at: Stewart’s Auto Sales Ltd, 49-53 South Camp Road. Tel (876) 968-0930,
(876) 968-0931, www.suzukijamaica.com
Price of tested model: $4.63m
Engine: 1.6 litre
Torque: 156 Nm @ 4 400 rpm
Transmission: FWD, 6 SPEED AUTOMATIC
Fuel tank: 47 litre
Body Type: crossover
Competition: Mitsubishi ASX, Honda HRV, JEEP Compass, Mazda CX-3