The 2.0 petrol engine was quiet and smooth and in automatic version was a dream to drive around town. On the open road performance was good, although not that quick. However, with the automatic gearbox you have the ability to hold the gears, resulting in a more spirited drive. Motorway cruising was noisier and the power did tend to drop off going up hill. Using the gearbox electronic overdrive facility resulted in speedier overtaking with more power when needed. The automatic gearbox also has a 'power button' which when engaged, enables you to hold onto the gears for longer before changing up. Therefore, there is little compromise over the manual version but with all the benefits of not having to change gear manually.How It Drove - Ride and Handling
The overall ride was very good, absorbing many pot holes and speed humps around town, although you did know you were driving a 4x4 vehicle rather than a car.
The steering was light, which may or may not be to your liking but it did assist when parking. The ability to change between 2WD and 4WD (High Ratio) on the move up to 62 mph is an excellent feature resulting in better fuel economy and a better ride/drive in 2WD mode. Once 4WD is engaged either for off road use or in poor weather conditions (particularly welcome in the winter) a light appears on the dashboard to warn you that you have changed to all wheel drive. This does change the dynamics of the vehicle, the steering becoming heavier as the front wheels are now being driven.
Although our road test took place in the summer, we did drive along some of Wales’s most demanding roads, and slipping the Suzuki into 4WD did give us some reassurance, especially going down very steep and winding Welsh roads. The Grand Vitara is very capable off-road (even when equipped with its standard road tyres) benefiting from its ‘Real’ 4x4 technology - a steel ladder-frame chassis for strength and durability plus a 4WD low ratio gearbox to get you out of trouble, should need the extra torque. We took the Suzuki along some green lanes near to where we live in Devon and it coped without hesitation, where a lesser soft roader would of come unstuck or should I say stuck. We now realise why so many farmers buy them, the Suzuki is excellent value for money and has outstanding off road ability.
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