Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Should you buy a Suzuki Vitara SUV?

As compact crossovers go, the Vitara’s appeal lies primarily in that its spacious, efficient and looks interesting without being too polarising – rivals including the Citroen C3 Aircross, Nissan Juke and even the larger Toyota C-HR, we’re looking at you.

Although not a fully blown SUV like the smaller Jimny, the Vitara can nevertheless cross rougher terrain than the High Street without much bother, although the majority of sales go to front-wheel drive models rather than those equipped with AllGrip four-wheel drive.

Until the mild, mid-life facelift in 2018, Suzuki offered the Vitara with a diesel engine, but it was dropped – demand not being sufficient enough to push it through the latest round of emission regulations.

That left a choice of two turbocharged Boosterjet petrol engines, with 1.0- and 1.4-litre capacities. The smaller unit does an admirable job of allowing the Vitara to be pootled around town swiftly and efficiently, but if you go further afield regularly or often find yourself plying motorways then the larger motor’s more suitable for your needs. Both manual and automatic gearboxes are available with both engines.

Think carefully about whether you need the additional traction of the AllGrip system as it carries an £1,800 price premium over front-wheel drive versions. For many UK customers a regular model with mud and snow tyres will prove to offer the additional on-road security that’s required.

All Vitaras are well-equipped, with the mid-line SZ-T proving to be more popular than the SZ4 and SZ5 it’s sandwiched between. Such is Suzuki’s trim level hierarchy that adding extra-cost options makes little sense, not that there are many to choose from save for the two-tone paint scheme.

It’s not the most exciting of small SUVs, but it’s dependable and unpretentious - it's a crossover that appeals more to the head than the heart.

That'll be why Gareth found it so difficult to say goodbye after his long-term test, then. 

Dealwatch special

Our leasing partner, ZenAuto is offering the Suzuki Vitara for £244 per month. The usual terms and conditions apply.

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