New Suzuki Vitara RT-X mixes hip styling, good value and sharp pricing
The new Suzuki Vitara is the next step in Suzuki’s brand revolution, followed by the second generation of the reborn Swift and the rather excellent Suzuki Swift Sport. Suzuki has clearly targeted the new Vitara with eye-catching retro styling that is a throwback to the early Vitara models, a wide variety of colour options and a funky interior crammed with up to date tech that includes Apple CarPlay and satellite navigation.
The Vitara also shares a lot of components with the somewhat anonymous Suzuki S-Cross hatch, including the same 1.6 litre petrol engine and AllGrip all-wheel drive system fitted to some Vitara models.
We sampled the flagship Suzuki Vitara RT-X.
What we like:
- Cool retro-inspired styling
- High standard equipment levels
- Punchy stereo
Not so much:
- Engine noisy and overworked
- Squeezy rear-legroom
- Some flimsy buttons and switches
- Ride can become choppy
Price and Equipment
All Suzuki Vitara models have been keenly priced, with range opening with the Vitara RT-S with front-wheel drive and five-speed manual priced from $22,990 and $31,990 for the top of the range RT-X.
Both models in the range are power by a 1.6 litre petrol engine, entry level models are fitted with a five-speed manual with power going to the front wheels, and the RT-X is fitted with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
All Vitara models are fitted with Apple CarPlay and a reversing camera as standard, but the RT-X version adds goodies such as a large sunroof, automatic LED headights, a bigger stereo, push button start and leather and suede effect seats.
Refreshing, funky and cool are a few words that could be used to describe the Vitara RT-X’s interior. The body-coloured inserts give the cabin and old-school flavour, and the material is of decent quality too, accurately imitating metal.
The large glass roof is a joy on sunny days, brightening things up and allowing for that “wind in the hair” feeling thanks to quick and easy one touch operation. It does eat into headroom though – more on that later.
The touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use too, and the voice control system is attentive, especially when completing functions such as choosing a media source, entering an address into the nav – no more frustrating typing ore even reading out text messages. Most importantly, as all these functions work effectively, this means you can do more without taking your hands off the wheel.
Single zone climate control helps keep the cabin at the ideal temperature, although for this price we would prefer at least dual zones at this price point.
While the RT-X’s seats are covered in fake suede and leather, they do add an upmarket touch to the cabin but again, the real stuff would be nice.
One of the cabin’s key weaknesses is the lack of oddment storage. There is no centre console or covered cubby holes to store mobile phones, keys or wallets, so they’ll have to stay in your pocket one of the few recesses between the front seats or the small glove box.
Head, leg and shoulder room up front are fine. Jump in the back and things become cosier. There’s only really space for two in the back and those over six feet tall will find their heads press up against the roof lining-the sunroof mechanism eats into headroom- and their knees touching the back of the front seat.
Boot space is rated at 375 litres
Engine and Transmission
All Suzuki Vitara models are powered by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that develops 86kW @ 6000rpm and 156Nm @ 4400rpm. On paper, these figures don’t appear to be remarkable and on the road, the engine feels overwhelmed by the Vitara’s size and weight.
We found that the tacho needle generally tended to hover around somewhere between 4,000rpm and 4,500rpm and as a result, quite a lot of engine noise filtered through to the cabin. While not a bad engine – as evidenced in the Swift Sport – the Vitara is crying out for more power. These cries should be answered later this year, with the release of a new turbo engine.
The six-speed auto also had a tendency to be a little hesitant with some shifts, but it was a welcome change over a CVT and there are steering wheel mounted paddle shifters should the driver want to swap cogs manually.
Average combined fuel consumption is a claimed 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres, and we averaged 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres.
On The Road
Light steering and easy manoeuvrability means that the Vitara is a handy tool around town, where most Vitaras will spend most of their time. The AllGrip all-wheel drive system fitted to the Vitara RT-X and other high-end models offers a number different drive modes which would potentially allow owners to get to a favourite camp site or ski resort.
While we found the Vitara a generally easy and fuss free drive, we did find the ride could be a little sharp at times and could’ve have been more refined and compliant.
The Suzuki Vitara RT-X is fitted with a driver’s knee airbag, dual front, side and curtain airbags along with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, hill descent control, a reversing camera and electronic brake force distribution
All Suzuki models are covered by a three year, 100,000 kilometre warranty.
Suzuki Vitara RT-X Specs
Make and model: Suzuki Vitara RT-X
Engine type: 1586cc petrol four-cylinder engine
Power: 86kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 156Nm @ 4400rpm
Transmission: six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 6.2 litres (combined)
Dimensions: 4175mm long, 1775mm wide, 1610mm high and 2500mm wheelbase
Steering: Rack and pinion
Country of Origin: Hungary.
Options: Horizon Orange Metallic Paint $995