Suzuki Grand Vitara

The three engines have naturally been selected for their strong performance and efficiency. All feature drive-by-wire throttle management and advanced induction control systems to achieve excellent fuel economy. The new 106PS 1.6-litre engine also has variable valve timing and delivers 32.5mpg on the Combined cycle. All-round ability characterises the larger 140PS 2.0-litre petrol engine and its fuel consumption is not significantly lower - just 31.0mpg for the manual model. The intercooled and turbocharged diesel engine - supplied by Renault - returns 36.7mpg on the Combined cycle and the remarkably flat torque curve peaking at 221lb ft ensures the flexibility demanded by the typical SUV driver.

In true Suzuki fashion, all Grand Vitaras come exceptionally well equipped with higher levels of safety, passenger comfort and interior room. All models feature as standard climate control air conditioning, front electric windows (plus rear on 5-door models), an integrated radio/CD player, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, tinted glass, a tilt adjustable steering column, remote central locking, reclining rear seats, folding exterior door mirrors, driver and front passenger front and side airbags, front and rear curtain airbags and an immobiliser.

The 1.6 16v VVT+ model and all 5-door models add heated electric mirrors, alloy wheels, and front fog lamps.

The Background

This Grand Vitara is the third generation of the Vitara, a model range that to date has achieved sales of 100,000 in the UK and millions more around the world. The first Vitara - introduced in 1988 - pioneered a new compact SUV category, its stylish design, true all round 4x4 performance and compact capability conferring instant popularity and iconic status. By the time its replacement - the Grand Vitara - appeared in 1997, Suzuki was a market leader in compact SUVs, a position further cemented by the second generation model’s distinctive design and engineering which had moved the brand towards more sophisticated on-road performance.

In conceiving the latest range Suzuki acknowledges the inclination of a growing number of customers to choose cross-over designs that are stylish and perform well on-road. In order to widen its appeal, yet simultaneously return to its roots, the new model boasts greater sophistication than its predecessor, yet is dynamically superior both on-road as well as off.

With comprehensive upgrades that respect the Grand Vitara tradition, the new range will not only appeal to current customers, but also to those new to the brand.

Two distinct body styles

Suzuki has produced two distinct body styles, each with its own unique features and each projecting a slightly different personality.

Both 3 and 5-door models are longer and wider than their predecessors, but reduced in height. Together with increased wheelbases and wider tracks front and rear, the new Grand Vitara both looks more firmly planted and delivers greater stability during everyday driving.

Reduced height doesn’t equal reduced headroom. The ‘built-in ladder frame’ construction when compared with the body on frame design of the previous model permits lower floor heights, in turn lowering the centre of gravity despite the high ground clearance of 200mm.

A shorter front overhang on both body styles also means that the wheels are effectively ‘pushed’ closer to the corners. This benefits interior packaging, with more of the vehicle’s overall length devoted to the cabin to deliver greater space and legroom.

Despite the increased length, the Grand Vitara makes short work of tight spaces: the turning radius for the 3-door is 5.1m, for the 5-door 5.5m, both suitably tight whether manoeuvring in multi-storeys or negotiating obstacles on forest tracks.

When traversing over rough trails, those short overhangs also inspire total confidence: approach, departure and ramp angles are 29, 36 and 20°; and 29, 27 and 19° for the 3-door and 5-door models, respectively.

continues... | Part Three

Published : 09/09/05 Author : Melanie Carter

Suzuki Grand Vitara News

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