Suzuki's Vitara gets a Turbo boost
SUZUKI's funky Vitara small SUV has been given a significant boost with the arrival of a turbocharged S Turbo variant.
Offering a power leap of around 20% and a torque increase of 41% over the current non-turbo variants, the new Boosterjet direct-injection turbo 1.4-litre engine brings 103kW and 220Nm to the new Vitara range-topper.
The S Turbo is available as a 2WD or with Suzuki's AllGrip 4WD system, both coming with six-speed automatic gearboxes only.
The model brings new styling, comfort and convenience features too, and Suzuki is offering a launch driveaway price for the 2WD version at $29,990. The all-wheel-drive S Turbo version should set you back around $4000 more, while the base non-turbo 2WD model GL+ (known as the RT-S in some regions) costs $22,990 drive away.
The current Vitara arrived in Australia in August last year and has helped significantly boost Suzuki's SUV sales. Buyers have been particularly attracted to the small high-rider's body style and two-tone metallic paint (which adds around another $1000 to the price incidentally). Latest sales figures for 2016 show the Vitara holds a healthy 4.3% market share in the so-hot-right-now small SUV segment, shifting around 1100 models in the year to date. Segment leaders, each with around 18% market share, are the Mazda CX-3 and Mitsubishi ASX.
So what can Vitara S Turbo buyers expect on top of the power gains? Well, better fuel economy for one as despite the extra power, the turbocharged 1.4-litre returns 5.9-litres/100km compared to the 1.6-litre non-turbo with auto gearbox's 6.0-litres/100km.
Styling wise the S Turbo brings a new chrome grille, 17-inch black alloy wheels, red coloured projector covers for the LED headlamps and satin silver mirrors. A new two-tone body colour in bright red with black roof also arrives to complement the Vitara's extrovert palette. In the cabin, S Turbos score sportier pedals, red trim on the instrument meters and air conditioning louvres, plus sporty-looking red stitching for the seats and gear shift selector boot.
For those wanting to get their compact SUV 'Zook a bit dirty, the S Turbo with AllGrip drive system has four selectable modes to choose from depending on the surface. "Auto" where two-wheel drive is prioritised but switches to all wheel drive if it detects wheel spin; "Sport" for on-road driving where acceleration and torque characteristics are enhanced; "Snow" for low friction surfaces and "Lock" designed for mud and sand.
All Vitaras score desirable Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, seven-inch multi-function display, rear view camera and seven airbags.
Suzuki is rightly throwing its weight behind the Vitara SUV due to its obvious appeal, and we can expect to see this S Turbo model joined by a turbo diesel version too in coming months. This should be swiftly followed by the re-birth of the Baleno hatchback model, which will sit in-between the Vitara and Swift in the brand's line-up.