Sprint Review: Suzuki Vitara 1.4T GLX

The Suzuki Vitara has gone through quite a few transformations, from a chunky compact SUV to “the Grand”, then this bizarre shape and now turbo-power for its mid-life facelift…

You should know: The Vitara is now in its fourth generation and we got this new model not long after its international debut in 2015. At first available with a 1.6L naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine, the Japanese manufacturer finally caved into consumer demand by adding this 1.4L turbo-four petrol engine.

More info: That 1,600 n/a motor is still available, priced from R302,900 to R399,900, where the turbo-charged mill steps in at R396,900 for this six-shot manual or R416,900 as a six-speed slush-o-matic. Suzuki’s AllGrip all-wheel-drive system is only available on the posh 1.6 derivative; all others are front-wheel driven.

What else? That includes this 1.4T GLX with its maximum outputs of 103kW or 220Nm. And before I go any further, I cannot stress enough how underrated those figures are. After just a short while behind its agile wheel, I was convinced that it put out wayyy more power than that through its slick gearbox / light clutch combination.

Overall handling is a great balance between ride comfort and grip levels.

Why you should: Our best 0-100km/h run was just 8.68 seconds (Suzuki claims 9.5) while reversing the process took only 2.63 seconds and 38.12 metres. Most of this is due to the car’s favourably low kerb weight of 1,150kg; as is the claimed average fuel figure of 5.8L/100km from the 47L tank. Top speed is quoted at 200km/h.

Why you shouldn’t: My biggest gripe is the car’s design; especially the bizarrely blunt rear end. However, considering all the above praise, this isn’t a deal breaker to me. Some people disliked the interior’s quirky seat patterns or large analogue clock but the only thing I frowned upon was the comparably basic interface of its media touch-screen.

Summary: Compact SUV’s are all the rage and every manufacturer wants the biggest share of this trendy market. Suzuki’s new Vitara started off with a slightly mundane base but next to good specs, excellent value and interesting colours it’s now got seriously entertaining power. In fact, I gave our teal metallic press car a nickname…

Vitara GTi.


Engine:1.4L i-4 turbo-charged petrol
Transmission:6-speed Manual, FWD
Max. Power:103kW
Max. Torque:220Nm
Avg. cons.:Approx. 8L/100km (claimed 5.8)
0-100km/h:8.68 seconds (claimed 9.5)
Top Speed:Claimed 200km/h
List Price:R396,900

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