This is the first time that the Grand Vitara has been built upon a monocoque construction, which incorporates a built-in ladder frame. This increases the torsional stiffness while maintaining good ground clearance of 200mm and enabling lower floor heights. That means that although the overall height of the new car is lower than before, it is not at the expense of interior headroom.
The extra length means that there is plenty of legroom for all, especially in the back. The rear seats recline for extra comfort and when not in use have either a 50:50 split (3-door) or the more normal 60:40, in the larger version. Folding the seats is an easy operation in both cases and in the test car increases the load capacity from 398- to 758-litres.
Hidden under the boot platform is a small compartment capable of holding a warning triangle and a first aid kit, which are compulsory when travelling in some countries. There are also a couple of pockets in the rear door and boot side-trims as well as storage between the front seats and plenty of cup-holders throughout the cabin.
The driver has height-adjustment to their seat, which, in combination with the rake-adjustable steering column makes it easy to find a comfortable driving position. Behind the multi-functional steering wheel, is a large, heavily shrouded binnacle. It has to be large in order to house the three sizeable instrument dials. The interior is mainly black but is brightened by metallic highlights and trims around the dials, air vents and the neat, centre console.
Within the black control panel, is the standard, radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility and secondary controls on the steering wheel. A 6-CD autochanger is available as an option, as is a roof-mounted DVD player and a Smartnav system. There are no trim levels. Instead, there is a lengthy list of optional extras so that you can make your Vitara suit your own lifestyle.
There are however, three engine options, depending on the body-style. The 3-door version comes with a choice of a 1.6VVT, petrol unit or a 1.9DDiS, turbo-diesel from Renault - both with a 5-speed manual transmission. The 5-door has a 2.0-litre petrol and the 1.9DDiS as options. Only the 2.0-litre petrol is available with a 4-speed automatic gearbox.
This is a 14-year+ news article, from our Suzuki archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
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