Suzuki Vitara: First tank of fuel

  • We gather our first impressions of the Suzuki Vitara
  • Characterful drive and practical cabin among the highlights
  • Average of 46mpg is way off the official figure

The Suzuki Vitara has been with us a few weeks now so we think it's a good time to take stock of our initial thoughts at how our latest addition to the fleet is performing.

After being impressed with the quirky styling of the Vitara from the outside, slipping behind the wheel for the first time we were happy to see this theme continu.

The cabin is exciting and modern, with a good variety of materials used. The turquoise instrument panel which displays an analogue clock and some air vents is a particular favourite, as is the glossy seven-inch multimedia display - though it quickly gets dirty from finger prints. The large panoramic sunroof is another good feature and lets in loads of light. 

There’s plenty of space on offer too: even six-footers will be comfortable in the front and back, and the cabin is littered with various cubbies which make drinking a coffee or storing your mobile phone easy when on the move.

We’ve been driving here, there and everywhere since we took custodianship of the Vitara including a scenic route through Cheddar Gorge and it’s proved an easy and characterful car to drive.

There’s plenty of grip on offer courtesy of the ALLGRIP four-wheel drive system, however there’s quite a lot of bodyroll produced in the corners and the light steering could offer more in the way of feedback.

The ride is quite bouncy too, especially when driving at high speeds, and the engine can be a little noisy when accelerating.

Out on the motorway the car cruises along nicely and the sound system provides a great source of entertainment over longer journeys – although the volume doesn’t quite go loud enough for me.

One of our favourite systems is the adaptive cruise control, which softly brakes the car if the one in front is getting too close. Change lane and the system is quick to react to get back up to the set pace.

Despite the seemingly underwhelming 118bhp and 320Nm of torque on offer, the Vitara feels quick off the mark with enough low-down shove to be able to climb speeds quickly on slip roads. It feels nippy too and easy to manoeuvre around town. Parking is also easy thanks to the reversing camera and parking sensors fitted on our test car.

Fuel economy has been less impressive, with an average of 46mpg achieved over the first tank of fuel, quite a way off the 67mpg official figure. We are hoping that we can improve this during the Vitara’s six month stint with us.

The range display in the trip computer can be pretty temperamental; one minute stating there was 250 miles left in the tank to seconds later seeing it drop to just 202 miles. The range disappeared altogether when the fuel warning light appeared too which, despite seeing beforehand that there was 45 miles, made me visit the petrol station earlier then perhaps I needed to.

So those are our first thoughts of our time with the new long termer. In the next update we’ll be taking the Vitara off-road for the first time to put the ALLGRIP system to the test.

Mileage:  431 miles

Fuel economy: 46.5mpg (calc)