Suzuki Grand Vitara: Four-wheel drive

Big freeze thaws 4x4 negativity

Is it me or is there less of a stigma about driving a 4x4 these days?

It's possibly something that was more relevant to larger 4x4s than the compact Suzuki Grand Vitara, but it isn't that long ago that you were sometimes made to feel by other drivers that you were committing a crime.

Pulling up at a town centre parking space occasionally drew disdainful looks from other road users.

Maybe it's because of the recent snow, but there certainly seems to be more of a grudging acceptance of 4x4s than at any time in the last few years.

Despite the car's recent unintended off-road excursion in the snow, the Suzuki has on the whole felt very secure in the poor conditions.

It has permanent four-wheel drive, and occasionally, when the roads have been covered in a couple of inches of snow, I've resorted to locking the centre differential.

It isn't that long ago when off-roaders with heavy-duty hardware had intimidating extra levers next to the gearstick.

In the Suzuki this action is made easy with a dashboard control, which allows electronic locking of the differential.

This locks the drive equally between front and rear axles thereby reducing the risk of wheelspin and keeping the power delivery smooth.

Current mileage: 4285

Average mpg: 35.1mpg