Compliant suspension makes for smooth running

Smooth running despite pothole hell

Everyone knows the advantage of a 4x4 when it comes to snow and ice. The four-wheel drive system is much more likely to find grip than two-wheel drive cars.

Given half-decent tyres and a 4x4 can keep on the straight and narrow without ending up in a hedge or ditch when the going gets very slippery. Despite the Suzuki's recent near miss, it remains a secure place to be when the thermometer drops below zero degrees.

But there is another advantage 4x4s have once the snow has gone and the Suzuki is particularly good at it. Thanks to all the snow and ice even main roads have more craters than the moon.

Hitting a deep pothole at speed in a normal car and you will know about it. If your car is fitted with big alloys and low profile tyres it can be a whole lot worse and even result in damage to your car.

However, the Grand Vitara runs big tyres on alloys with deep sidewalls and means they are really good at soaking up the bumps and cracks in the road. The suspension is really compliant too so even deep potholes prove little more than a minor irritant rather than bone-jarring.

Even so the best course of action is avoidance all together. Considering how many potholes litter the road and appear all over the place, the ability to swerve at the last moment is vital.

This isn't something the Suzuki excels at but the steering is quick enough to respond so that you can avoid them even if sometimes it is only just. However, the engine shines thanks to its flexible pulling power.

I can stand on the brakes to slow up before hitting a pothole if I can't steer round it due to oncoming traffic, then get back on the accelerator to pull round the offending crater all without the need to change gear.

Current mileage: 4824

Average mpg: 35.0