Diesel enthusiasts will appreciate the economy and strong torque characteristics of the 1.9-litre diesel engine which incorporates common rail technology, an intercooler and turbocharger. A wide effective torque band increases the potential of this remarkably economical engine which can cover nearly 43 miles on one gallon under motorway cruising conditions, and delivers 36.7mpg on the Combined cycle and carbon dioxide emissions of 205g/km. It is still capable of accelerating from standstill to 62mph in 13.2 seconds and going on to a top speed of 106mph.
The engines are paired either with sporty five speed manual gearboxes or, as an option on the 2.0 16v, a smooth shifting 4-speed automatic. The newly-developed manual transmission used with the petrol engines offers better fuel economy at high speeds, while the high rigidity design adds to the Grand Vitara’s overall sense of refinement. A new output reduction design also improves durability, with better shift feel and reduced vibration. The automatic features a sporty new gate design.
Strong engine performance is reflected in the Grand Vitara’s excellent towing capability. The 1.6 16v VVT is rated at 1600kg, the 2.0 16v 1850kg (automatic 1700kg). An impressive 2000kg can be hauled by the 1.9 DDiS.
Chassis is now all-independent
The Grand Vitara has a remarkably rigid body as a result of Suzuki’s ‘built-in ladder frame’ approach which features strategic strengthening without undue weight gain. It comprises two longitudinal elements running the length of the body, with six cross members and two parallel longitudinal elements running in the outer sills.
Its resistance to twisting and bending means that the full potential of the advanced all-wheel independent suspension can be realised and the result is a smooth and responsive on-road ride plus rock solid off-road traction and stability. The relatively low weight of the upper body also contributes to linear handling responses.
The front suspension features MacPherson struts, while at the rear is an all-new, independent multi-link design, replacing the rigid axle of the previous model. Its low profile design maximises interior space, while offset separate springs and shock absorbers improve ride quality.
Strong, all round braking response is provided by large ventilated discs at the front and leading and trailing drums at the rear actuated by a 10 inch booster. ABS and EBD are standard.
All-new, permanent four-wheel drive
Suzuki has developed a totally new four-wheel drive system for this latest Grand Vitara. Since it is permanently engaged, it provides security and sure-footed progress at all times, providing unerring security in slippery, greasy, or icy on-road conditions; there is also no need for the driver to worry about switching it in or out every time the surface changes.
The incorporation of a torque-sensing limited slip centre differential absorbs differences between front and rear wheel speeds, provides the benefits of all-wheel traction, while reducing fuel consumption as well as the characteristic ‘braking effect’ and understeer of four-wheel drive systems with rigid centre transfers. And of course unlike systems that operate in two-wheel drive and then rely on differences in front and rear wheel speeds to automatically engage four-wheel drive via a centre clutch arrangement, there is no delay in the Grand Vitara’s system; four-wheel drive is doing its work all the time.
The 3-door model, as described above, is essentially a ‘soft-roader’, possessing the on-road stability that a four-wheel drive system confers, plus the ability to cope with muddy fields and gravel tracks.
The 5-door models offer a full arsenal of four-wheel drive features enabling them to tackle some of the toughest off-road conditions capable of being negotiated by a standard SUV. Four modes are available, simply selected via the rotary switch on the fascia.
4H: This high-range 4x4 mode with free centre diff is ideal for most conditions, offering the smooth, quiet performance and neutral cornering of conventional 4x2s. Front and rear torque is split 47:53, improving on-road response while delivering excellent off-road traction. The torque-sensing diff ensures immediate throttle response.
4H Lock: In this high-range 4x4 mode, a clutch locks the centre differential to eliminate any speed difference between the front and rear wheels, providing outstanding traction to power through deep snow or mud.
4L: Low range four-wheel drive (again with a locked centre differential) enables the Grand Vitara to cope with very difficult situations; the transfer gear ratio is about twice that of the 4H Lock mode at 1.970, offering excellent low-end traction.
N: Finally, neutral mode allows the vehicle to be towed, if it should ever be necessary; with the centre differential free there is less potential driveline wear and tear.
Prices - which are virtually identical to those of the outgoing models - are as follows:
- 3-door 1.6-litre VVT 5-speed manual £12,699.00
- 3-door 1.6-litre VVT+ 5-speed manual £13,299.00
- 5-door 2.0-litre 16v 5-speed manual £15,499.00
- 5-door 2.0-litre 16v 4-speed automatic £16,449.00
These are on the road prices and include VAT, delivery to dealer, number plates, 6 months’ Vehicle Excise Duty and First Registration Fee.
Price of the Diesel model will be announced later.Published 9 September 2005