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Grander Vitara. Image by Suzuki.

Grander Vitara
A larger, more powerful 2.4-litre engine is now available in Suzuki's soft-roader. Does it fit?

   



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| Week at the Wheel | Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4 |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

Suzuki's Vitara has matured dramatically since it was introduced with the current car sharing none of the loud, exaggerated looks of its predecessors. Indeed, the current Grand Vitara is very sensible looking, its neat, straight lines being quite understated. It's certainly classier looking than the fussy style of the cars its price range puts it up against, the budget Suzuki competing against cars like Kia's Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Jeep Patriot.

Inside, it is more of the same with Suzuki playing it safe on the styling front. It's all neatly laid out and feels sturdily built, but it's not exactly overendowed with flair. Some of the plastics feel a bit hard to touch and the seat doesn't move as far back as we'd like either; meaning most drivers will feel rather close to the steering wheel. There's decent legroom in the back as a result though, and the boot is also a good size.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

Suzuki realised that the 2.0-litre petrol unit powering the five-door Grand Vitara was a touch overwhelmed so it has added a 2.4-litre engine to the line up. With 29bhp more power and an additional 33lb.ft of torque on offer it does make the Grand Vitara a less frenetic drive. That's to the benefit of refinement as well, as the 2.0-litre engine became rather vocal when it was revved. Thanks to the addition of a balancer shaft, thicker carpets, better soundproofing and less need to rev it the 2.4-litre unit is far more hushed, making it a more desirable proposition on longer trips.

The larger engine still doesn't turn the Grand Vitara into a fireball in the performance stakes though; it takes 11.7 seconds to reach 62mph. Overall, it's an easier, less demanding drive thanks to the increases in power and torque. The gearshift isn't the quickest across its gate, being rather long in throw and not the most accurate either.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Given it's a no-nonsense SUV it's surprising how well the Suzuki handles. There's plenty of grip and although there's a little body roll the Grand Vitara doesn't feel unwieldy in the bends. That's helped by steering that is precise and nicely weighted. The Grand Vitara isn't a car you'll take out just for the hell of driving, but it's competent enough to mean every drive doesn't have to be a chore. Where it does fall down is regarding ride comfort, the Grand Vitara's relatively firm suspension meaning the ride can get a bit busy on less than perfectly surfaced roads.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

The Grand Vitara sits at the lower end of the price spectrum for compact SUVs. As a result cars that you might consider as rivals for the Suzuki - SUVs like Toyota's RAV4 and Nissan's X-Trail - actually cost a good deal more. Priced more to compete with Kia and Hyundai 4x4 offerings - and Jeep's Patriot - the Suzuki is a decent value package. For some the Suzuki badge will appeal more than the Korean pairing, but the Grand Vitara can't offer the mega warranty of the budget-badged duo. It does reasonably well on the equipment count though, with climate control, alloy wheels, a sunroof and leather upholstery on all the five-door 2.4-litre models.

Economy doesn't overly suffer due to the addition of the bigger engine; the official combined consumption and CO2 emissions figures of 31.3mpg and 208g/km are respectable enough in this class. You can improve on those numbers if you chose the 1.9-litre turbodiesel, but the differences aren't huge and you pay for them with a drop in refinement and performance.

Overall: star star star star star

Suzuki's addition of a larger engine to the Grand Vitara certainly addresses some of the performance and refinement issues present in the model powered by the 2.0-litre petrol engine. However, the improvements only manage to allow the Grand Vitara to remain competitive rather than pushing it above its competition. It's a decent enough compact SUV for those on a tighter budget wanting space and practicality, but we'd perhaps push a Toyota dealer hard for a discounted RAV4 instead.

Kyle Fortune - 6 Feb 2009



  www.suzuki.co.uk    - Suzuki road tests
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2009 Suzuki Vitara specifications: (five-door 2.4 16v)
Price: 15,750 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 11.7 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Combined economy: 31.3mpg
Emissions: 208g/km
Kerb weight: 1552kg

2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.

2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.



2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.
 

2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.
 

2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.
 

2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.
 

2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.
 

2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4-litre. Image by Suzuki.
 






 

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