Suzuki Vitara 1.4 T

Turbo power makes Suzuki’s already fine little SUV a brilliant one

We have always liked the Suzuki Vitara and we think for pretty good reason too. Think Vitara and what comes to mind? A handsome and quite luxurious bargain go-anywhere family 4×4? Well, all that still applies, but only in part. Allow me to explain – this particular Vitara is no longer a 4×4 – it’s front-wheel driven, which you should be used to by now.


The real clincher here is that Vitara now finally gains a modern downsized turbo engine — turbocharging is something the Japanese have taken some time to embrace, but it’s taken Suzuki even longer to achieve. No matter, that’s all history now since Suzuki slipped this new 103kW 220Nm Boosterjet lump it shares with the Swift Sport, under the chunky new Vitara bonnet too.

So what’s all the fuss about you ask? Well, the creamy lightweight variable timed twin-cam 16-valve direct petrol injection electric wastegate turbo four-banger takes over from the old normally aspirated 86kW 156Nm 1.6 litre.

That not only cleaves an entire second and a half off the old car’s 0-100 while getting to 400m 7 km/h faster at 140 km/h and basically annihilating the old one in the overtaking stakes in our road tests. It also still does all that at an identical 5.8 litres per hundred average and 136 g/km CO2 to the already frugal old 1600.


Intriguingly, the new turbo only comes in front wheel drive at this point in time, but fear not – you can still have Vitara in 4×4 with the old sixteen-hundred atmo lump, but then over 90% of SUVs never see the dirt, let alone the 4×4 trail. So this car certainly has huge appeal to anyone looking for the space, conveniences and a bit of style, but now with the added bonus of great performance too.

Of course Vitara brings a 28-year reputation of rugged durability and this 1.4T GLX shows that off well with a bucket load of woke kit; the likes of smart 17” diamond cut alloy wheels, fog lamps, tinted privacy glass; a cool chrome grill grille, colour-coded door handles and a blackened roof, wing mirrors and fender trims.

Vitara GLX is a get-the-job-done vehicle that fits its pedigree well to deliver a spacious, stylish and versatile can-do package fit for the family and all that brings.


And while Vitara always got on with it, it now does so in athletic style too — its punchy new turbo is now also matched to a slick-shifting six-speed automatic gearbox to see it to 100km/h in the late 8 second bracket with dramatically improved turbo elasticity and a quite sophisticated all-round drive. It’s actually most impressive on the road and unless you are taking it up Matroosberg, it’s pretty good on the dirt too.

We waited a while for Suzuki’s turbos to finally arrive, but it really has been worth the wait. The engine alone turns a fine little SUV to a damned brilliant one — especially at the price. Bravo, Suzuki, you now truly deliver the complete entry SUV package! – Michele Lupini

Images: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Suzuki Vitara 1.4T GLX automatic
Engine: 103 kW 220 Nm 1.4-litre turbo petrol I4
Drive: 6-speed automatic FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.13 sec
0-100 km/h:       8.62 sec
0-160 km/h:       21.97 sec
400m:             16.2 sec @ 141 km/h
80-120 km/h:      5.88 sec
120-160 km/h:     10.32 sec
VMax:             200 km/h
Fuel:             5.9 l/100km
CO2:              138 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y 100K/4y 60Kkm
LIST PRICE:       R426K
RATED:            8
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