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Suzuki Vitara S 1.4 BoosterJet Auto

Click to view picture gallery“2016 got off to a cracking good
  start when another model joined
  Suzuki
s all-new Vitara line-up
  delivering 138bhp, the state-of-
  the-art turboed 1.4-litre newcomer
  slots in nicely above the 118bhp
  1.6 petrol and turbodiesel engines
  already on sale...”


PRICED AT JUST UNDER 21K the Vitara S is powered by Suzuki's new 'BoosterJet' 1.4-litre engine. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard although there's a six-speed auto for those who prefer to have their gear-changing done for them and don't mind paying the extra 1,350 for the convenience. Whichever transmission you decide on, the BoosterJet S comes with Suzuki's intelligent AllGrip 4WD.

With sales of Crossovers and SUVs seemingly unstoppable, and with ever-worsening weather and road conditions also seemingly inescapable, the benefits of driving an all-weather-capable crossover or SUV just keep on improving. Trying hard to tempt you away from the Vitara are the likes of the Vauxhall Mokka, Mazda's CX-3 and the HR-V from Honda.

With 162lb ft on tap
from 1,500rpm, the 1.4
BoosterJet can easily
‘torque’ its way out
of trouble — backed by
138bhp there’s more than
enough to inject some
peppy get-up-and-go
into the Vitara’s
performance...”
While it might be the smallest capacity engine available in the Vitara line-up, this all-new turbocharged direct injection 1.4 petrol unit has more power than the 1.6-litre petrol and diesel units already on offer. By giving up just 200cc you gain 17% more power and 41% more torque than the 1.6-litre petrol engine and even enjoy better economy. Definitely a win-win situation.

With 162lb ft on tap from 1,500rpm, the 1.4 BoosterJet can easily 'torque' its way out of trouble backed by 138bhp there's more than enough to inject some peppy get-up-and-go into the Vitara's performance, something you'll also be glad of if you regularly make use of all five seats.

Its willing, revvy nature makes it keen to get way, as you can tell from its 10.2-second 0-62mph figure. Keep the pedal down and you can go all the way to 124mph. In general everyday driving the performance is immediately accessible, serving up an enjoyable 'shove' when accelerating through bends, out of corners and overtaking. What's also to like is that the performance figures are identical for the manual and auto.

The six-speed autobox comes with a manual mode and paddle-shofters and makes a good running-mate for the 1.4 BoosterJet, dishing out the power in a linear manner that makes going with the flow a pleasantly smooth affair; long-haul motorway trips are hushed and no hardship whatsoever.

Even people who buy the biggest crossovers and SUVs like to feel they're getting value for money for every gallon they put in their tank. In the Vitara's case, the official Combined Cycle figure is 51.3mpg.

A week in the hands of MotorBar's review team saw a real-life 37.1mpg which we consider more than fair given that much of our test mileage was taken up with town driving. We'd certainly expect most owners to better that, and the other major outlay road tax won't break the bank: with 128g/km of CO2 emissions there's nothing to pay for the first year and then just 110 thereafter.

Under the skin there are
more upgrades to this
latest Vitara,
most notably a sportier
suspension set-up
that delivers even better
roadholding and
handling —
noticeably so when you
up the pace...”
Looks-wise the handsome S stands out from the rest of the Vitara range, most obviously at the nose where a unique and more sporty vertical design grille fronts its slim clamshell bonnet. The smart shiny black alloys and tailgate top-spoiler add more kerb-appeal, as do LED lights, satin silver door mirror skins, black lower side body mouldings and wheel arch extensions along with silver skid plates and red covers on the projector headlights.

Under the skin there are more upgrades to this latest Vitara, most notably a sportier suspension set-up that delivers even better roadholding and handling noticeably so when you up the pace.

All further enhanced, of course, by the AllGrip intelligent four-wheel drive traction. The chassis's nimbleness feels a natural fit with the willing engine which makes it good fun to drive quick or slow as the road offers or the mood takes you. More good news: the ride is complaint, the Vitara managing speed humps and smoothing road imperfections with ease.

Measuring not much over four metres (4,175mm) nose-to-tail, the Vitara is the perfect size compact enough to be wieldy in traffic and equally adept off-road where its 185mm of ground clearance serves it well. And Yes, this is a crossover that really does go off-road.

Unlike some, the Vitara is very democratic, treating driver and passengers equally well: there's plenty of room in the five-door cabin, the seats are comfy and visibility is good wherever you sit. The driver enjoys a fine driving position and can see the bonnet, making the Vitara child's play to place and park (a rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors are standard-fit items). Getting in is trouble-free as not only is there keyless entry (on both front doors and the tailgate) but the seats are set high off the floor which means just sliding behind the wheel in an effortless and graceful manoeuvre good news for skirt-wearers!

Unlike some, the Vitara
is very democratic,
treating the driver and
passengers equally well;
there’s plenty of room
in the five-door cabin,
the seats are comfy and
visibility is good
wherever you sit;
the driver enjoys a fine
driving position and can
see the bonnet, making
the Vitara child’s play to
place and park...”
The front seats are well bolstered for a good fit, particularly around your ribcage, there's strong lumbar and shoulder support from the backrest, and practical outer armrests on the doors. Front seat users also get enough headroom to wear a hat and the upholstery is a smart and sensual red-stitched suede with matching suede panels on the doors.

Back to the driver's environment: the multifunction wheel (media, cruise, speed limiter, phone, and voice) is a smart three-spoker with perforated leather work areas around the red cross-stitched rim that harmonises with the red outer rings of the air vents and dials that are part of the range-topping 'S' treatment.

The paddle-shifters are close to the driver's fingertips for slick manual changes. While normally left in its Auto mode, the push/twist 4WD control also offers Sport, Snow and Lock settings.

Adding to the cabin's appeal is the smart brushed metallic-look fascia, minimal switchgear and the very efficient AirCon (with pollen filter) as well as the clear white-on-black dials and trip display, engine Start-Stop button and the intuitive SatNav.

Being a range-topper, the S comes with all the bells and whistles so you can take for granted Suzuki's AllGrip 4-wheel drive system, Adaptive Cruise Control with speed limiter, keyless entry and start, automatic A/C, suede seat upholstery, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, Smartphone link audio and navigation system with 3D mapping and 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors.

You also get power windows, electrically-adjustable and heated powerfold door mirrors, driver's information display, rear privacy glass, aluminium pedal set, auto lights, LED projector headlamps with automatic headlamp levelling, LED daytime running lights, dual-height boot floor, roof rails, and 17-inch gloss black alloy wheels.

Safety kit includes seven airbags (including one for the driver's knee), a stability programme, Hill Hold Control, Hill Descent Control, Radar Brake Support system (collision warning through to automatic braking that's effective even at night and in bad weather) and tyre pressure monitoring, all endorsed by a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Behind the back seats
is a 375-litre boot
but lower the 60:40-split
rear backrests and in
seconds you can have
a handy loadbay
extending to 710 litres...”
Travelling in the rear cabin is as pleasant as being in the front: headroom is generous and there's plenty of space for two to relax while getting from A to B. Backrest angles are relaxing, bottles can be carried in the door bins and there are damped grab handles although you won't need them as getting in is easy. Add in decent room for your knees and feet and the Vitara's airy rear cabin really is a pleasant place to spend time.

Behind the back seats is a 375-litre boot but lower the 60:40-split rear backrests and in seconds you can have a handy loadbay extending to 710 litres. The folded seatbacks sit level with the boot floor but if you're carrying rear passengers and need to maximise boot space you can increase the capacity by setting it to the lower of its two positions.

Access is straightforward thanks to a high-lifting tailgate; the lightweight but rigid rear parcel shelf-cum-luggage cover is quickly removed and stored plus there are bag hooks on hand for the weekly supermarket shop. Should you need to tow, the BoosterJet is happy to pull a braked 1,200kg. And in keeping with just about every other car on the road today, the Vitara maximises luggage space by providing an emergency tyre repair and inflation kit, a trade-off most people are happy with.

Suzuki might just as honestly have called this 1.4 'S' an 'F' because this compact SUV is genuinely good fun to punt around. The most sporting and dynamic model in the Vitara line-up, it's a far more polished all-rounder than many a more expensive crossover and with the S version's extra dash of style plus kit galore in the roomy cabin, it's as easy to like as it is to drive. ~ MotorBar

Suzuki Vitara S 1.4 BoosterJet Auto | 22,249
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds | Test Average: 37.1mpg
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 162lb ft | CO2: 128g/km