Suzuki Vitara

Autozine – Auto Test: Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki may be a small brand, but it has no less than five SUVs in its program. They all have something of an off-road vehicle, but they still have different functions. The Ignis is the smallest and only has the rugged look of a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). The Jimny is also small, but is a true all-terrain vehicle that excels in mountains, mud and snow. The S-Cross is a family car and uses a tall SUV to offer plenty of space. The Across is an all-in-one car that combines luxury, terrain value and space.

How the Vitara fits in overall depends on the version chosen. The simplest Vitara is a compact family car. With the right choice, the Vitara is also suitable for the terrain. From the outside it doesn’t look like what technology is inside and that’s why every Vitara looks cool. Especially in the color “Atlantic Turquoise” featured here, the interaction of the lines is his trademark, so the Vitara exudes a certain zest for life. Even though the model was introduced in 2015, the Vitara still looks great!

Space and equipment

While sitting behind the wheel, Vitara betrayed her age. Since the Vitara was tested shortly after the all-new S-Cross (2022), the difference was immediately apparent. Aside from the new S-Cross, the build quality, ergonomics and equipment of the Vitara are truly a step back in time.

Suzuki Vitara
Suzuki Vitara

Nevertheless, it was more than adequate. The space at the front and rear is decent enough considering the size of the car. There are plenty of trays and compartments in the interior and a luggage space of 362 liters (1,119 with rear seats folded) is sufficient for this segment. The test car has a tow bar, as the Vitara can also tow trailers up to 1,200 kg (braked) as a hybrid.

Central to the equipment is Suzuki’s audio, communications and navigation systems. Again everything works, but the newer models go one step further. During testing, it was discovered that establishing a connection with iPhone for Apple CarPlay sometimes took a lot of time.

Hybrid

The reason to come out again with the Suzuki Vitara was the introduction of a hybrid drive. It is a “parallel hybrid” that actually allows it to travel small distances (1 to 2 km) electrically. Therefore, it is more than just Suzuki’s “smart hybrid”, which is actually just an electric auxiliary motor to help fuel the engine when it is running hard. . have to work.

Like other hybrids, the Vitara charges by converting kinetic energy into electricity during braking and gliding. Therefore, there is no need to charge from the plug. And like many other brands, Suzuki operates gasoline engines in what’s called the “Atkinson” cycle. It makes the engine much more economical, but also very unwilling. However, the electric motor has to compensate.

Suzuki Vitara

The Suzuki differs from other parallel hybrids in the way power is transferred to the wheels. The problem is that petrol motors and electric motors have different power ratings and build them in different ways. This can cause shock to the drive when moving or changing power sources. Therefore, other manufacturers use so-called “planetary systems” in combination with “continuously variable transmission” (CVT) to compensate for this difference. However, this is a complex technique and therefore expensive.

“If you drive quietly and let the car set the pace, the Vitara Hybrid is a comfortable and relatively economical SUV”

Therefore Suzuki offers a different solution. The Vitara automatic transmission is equipped with almost the same gearbox as the manual variant, but with a “robot” handling the shift and clutch. Smart software must control the electric motor in such a way that it uses its flexibility and speed to counteract shocks to the drive.

In practice this works, but only at low speeds. Then a little power is needed to compensate for the difference between the petrol and electric motors and the silent, smooth and economical Vitara. However, as soon as the driver’s speed or agility increases, it is especially noticeable when a gear change is made and when one or another engine provides propulsion. Additionally, the petrol engine then makes a tiring, humming sound that makes the Vitara appear to be working harder than it really is.

Suzuki Vitara

If you also continue to drive fast, consumption can increase sharply. Therefore, the Vitara Hybrid requires a customized driving style from the driver. In practice, this means that the car determines the speed and not the driver. The driver may only carefully suggest speed, but the electronics dictate how much enthusiasm (or lack of speed) is created. By driving very quietly, in eco mode, an average consumption of 1 to 20.3 was achieved during the test period.

Handling

Despite the new powertrain, the handling of the Hybrid is the same as the other Vitara. Although this car is also suitable for off-road driving, the emphasis is on use on public roads. Despite its tall construction and large ground clearance, it handles very well.

Suzuki Vitara

Conclusion

The Suzuki Vitara has received a hybrid drive seven years after the model was introduced. Suzuki has opted for its own technology which is simpler and therefore cheaper to buy. This undeniable advantage is offset by a distinct character. The Vitara Hybrid is not presented with a sporty ride and protests against it with high consumption and irregular gear changes. If you drive quietly and let the car set the pace, the Vitara Hybrid is a comfortable and relatively economical SUV.

New acquaintances show that the Vitara lags behind the new S-Cross in terms of equipment and build quality. Space and handling are still fine.

plus

  • Good handling
  • versatile character

min

  • Seen from the previous generation
  • Wood shift when driving sporty
  • Consumption increases sharply when driving faster
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