The Vitara is available with four-wheel-drive that also you to tweak its transmission settings to suit your driving style, or the conditions. However, the four-wheel-drive system it not the best, and may feel largely redundant to some of you.
The engine range begins with a 1.6-litre petrol unit that does without turbochargers. It delivers up to 118bhp, which means it hasn’t got the lungs to keep going as much as you’d prefer. A turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine has more puff and delivers up to 138bhp, with all its power distributed evenly around the revs. It can do 0-62 in 10.2 seconds.
A 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel engine rounds off the range nicely. It can do 0-62 in 11.5 seconds, but actually feels faster. It produces most of its power low down the rev range, and doesn’t need you to whip it to get the most out of it.
The cheapest engine to run is, unsurprisingly, the diesel. It’s capable of achieving fuel economy returns of 70mpg, but it’s worth noting that this is when you opt for two-wheel-drive and pair it up with the manual transmission. Moreover, 70mpg is the official figure, and the likelihood is that you’ll be looking at average returns around the 60mpg mark. The 1.4-litre petrol engine, meanwhile, is good for 52.3mpg and costs £110 a year in road tax.
Inside, the new Vitara doesn’t stand out from the crowd, but it does have a few useful and even smart touches. It’s comfortable enough to sit in and drive around in, but the diesel model is more comfortable than the petrols, where the ride quality is compromised. The build quality of the cabin is mostly good. A few hard plastics threaten to let things down, especially on the top-spec models, where you expect more quality.
The Suzuki is a useful family car. Its well-designed boot measures 375-litres, and this space can be extended to 1,160 by folding down the rear seats. That makes it bigger than the Jeep’s, as well as a host of other rivals in this sector. Headroom is good throughout, but rear legroom is decent at best. Taller adults might struggle.
Jeep – £17,500 – £29,000
Suzuki – £14,000 – £23,900