Suzuki Grand Vitara: improvements

New for 2009

The diesel Grand Vitara was the last to benefit from a series of upgrades to the range that began with petrol versions early in 2009.

From September 2009, the diesel version has undergone minor cosmetic changes and equipment upgrades, and - Suzuki says - is now much quieter than before.

The diesel engine in the current Grand Vitara is sourced from Renault (the diesel in the previous Grand Vitara that ran until 2005 was supplied by Peugeot-Citroen), so it was never designed specifically for this car.

The bulk of Grand Vitara sales across the world are for petrol versions - even in the UK - so perhaps noise insulation for the engine wasn't such a high priority for model's launch (the diesel was introduced in December 2005).

You wouldn't really think that much has been done starting the diesel up from cold as it clatters into life, but when warm it isn't really any more intrusive than the diesels in half a dozen other compact 4x4s.

One area where noise is noticed is on the motorway. When travelling at a steady 70mph, the rev counter is showing 2800rpm - this is quite high for a modern diesel.

Not only does it make motorway travel a little noisy, it also scuppers hopes of improving on the official average fuel consumption figure of 40.4mpg. So far we've only managed 34mpg, but this should improve as the engine is run in.

However, if the Grand Vitara has a six-speed gearbox, whis would reduce noise levels and improve fuel consumption, allowing it to travel at high speed with the engine working less hard.

Current mileage: 998

Average mpg: 34.1mpg