2015 Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 – Long-Term Test & Review – Update #1

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5

Introduction to the 2015 Suzuki Vitara

To date, it’s now been over 25 years since the original Vitara was launched. Crazy how fast time goes, right! This new version joins the S-Cross – which I also did a long-term test of here – as one of Suzuki’s crossovers. The Vitara is slightly smaller than the S-Cross, but it’s also newer, with better looks, updated technologies in various areas plus weight saving measures to aid fuel economy and emissions.

After an enjoyable time with the S-Cross, I was eager to try Suzuki’s newest crossover out for an extended review period. Suzuki sent one over for a three-month test, so I could get a good idea of what it’s like to live with one on a daily basis. This is the first update of the Vitara 1.6 petrol ALLGRIP SZ5 manual, and I’ll be reporting on all findings, from the good points to the ones that need improvement, in order to give you a comprehensive buyer’s guide to the Vitara…

Do you own a new Suzuki Vitara, or have questions about one? Feel free to leave a comment using the box below the article!

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 front lights

Update 1: 9th January – 15th February 2016

Total vehicle milage at start: 5,295 | Test milage this update: 1,305 | Average (UK) mpg: City: 43 – 45 mpg | Mixed routes (70% A-roads, 25% motorway, 5% city): 49.3 mpg 

1.6 petrol engine notably quiet and smooth, well-insulated cabin (from exterior noise), good suspension setup

Rattling coming from boot area. Possibly clips attached to parcel shelf

Let’s start off with some of the new tech and advancements that Suzuki have included on their Vitara. First off, the 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine (the one I have) has friction reductions and weight savings to provide better fuel economy, while the diesel sports a new EGR system and electronically-controlled VGT (Variable Geometry Turbocharger). There’s also a new a new 6-speed automatic transmission – available with the petrol engine only – to further aid the fuel usage.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 rear

Weight and savings – as well as emissions reductions – are improved by the extensive use high tensile steel for a light a rigid body, as well as an automatic engine stop/start system.

Suzuki are offering the Vitara with a range of various personalisation touches which includes fifteen body colours – three of which are new – plus some two-tone combinations as well. You can also vary the colours of the front grille, wing trim pieces, dashboard trim, clock centre, dash louvre rings (the ones that surround the vents and clock), steering wheel trim, gear knob and its leather gear boot and surround.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 front grille

There are also a couple of styling packs to choose from: Urban for £670.00 (chrome-plated fog lamp bezels, body side mouldings and a roof spoiler), or Rugged at £750.00 (front and rear skidplates, fog lamp bezels in black and a boot lip protector).

Personally, I think the Vitara’s styling is great. It’s got a chunky SUV ruggedness about it, and the small-but-tough design from the original Vitara has been carried over in some ways, while still maintaining a thoroughly contemporary urban look, as is the trend.

Our long-term tester has the Urban pack optioned, as well as the Atlantis Turquoise Pearl paintwork (an £800 option), both of which I also like. It gets it fair share of attention actually – more than I expected it would – because actually it’s quite an cool looking thing really, especially with the blacked-out rear windows, neat 17″ alloys and super-bright LED running lights and LED projector headlamps.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 rear privacy glass

Sitting inside the Vitara, the first thing that caught my eye was the bits of coloured trim – especially the large piece on the dash – which match the colour of the exterior paint. I didn’t think I’d like this when saw the images beforehand, but actually it’s grown on me now. There are loads of cars out there featuring a mix of rather boring grey/black/silver trim parts, and they all look the same. Dull, in other words.

The coloured trim brightens things up and makes it more personal, while not going over-the-top or making it appear tacky, and it suits the Vitara well too.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 front interior

Its Suede and leather front seats are comfortable (more on that later), and the overall layout is neat and any switchgear ergonomically placed. While there’s a fair amount of tap-hard plastics about, they’re finished nicely and they don’t appear cheap or substandard.

Our test car is the top of the range SZ5, and is obviously spec’d highly. While this is the case, the Vitara doesn’t get as much equipment as its big brother the S-Cross, and loses out on stuff like dual-zone climate control and heated front seats.

So, what sort of goodies does the Vitara SZ5 sport? Stand-out stuff in the cabin includes the huge double-sliding sunroof, automatic LED projector lamps and LED running lights (which are ridiculously bright), front and rear parking sensors, as well as a reverse camera with good picture definition,  electric adjustable, heated and folding mirrors, automatic air conditioning, rain sensing wipers, a leather covered steering wheel, keyless entry and start, and a superb 7-inch touchscreen system with 3D satellite navigation (which has traffic jam avoidance), DAB digital radio, smartphone linkup, Bluetooth, AUX and USB ports.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 panoramic sunroof

Okay, so while we’re on the matter of what equipment it has, other neat tech includes engine auto stop-start (EASS) to save fuel while sat in traffic, Radar Brake Support, which will brake automatically if it detects you’re about to crash, ABS with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution) and Brake Assist, ESP (electronic stability programme), hill hold and hill descent control, adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, plus seven airbags and an impressive Euro NCAP safety rating of 5/5 stars.

On the ALLGRIP 4-wheel-drive version we have, there are three selectable driving modes (automatic, sport, snow/mud), and even a LOCK mode, which I’ll talk about in another update. Suffice to say though, that Suzuki’s ALLGRIP system is a proper 4WD system, and it’ll get you out of some very slippery situations if needed.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 ALLGRIP drive moe selector

Here’s the thing that got me though. While discussing the Vitara’s equipment level with another guy who tests the car between times while I’m driving other vehicles, we realised we didn’t know the price, and it rather knocked us back in surprise. Including options, this Vitara SZ5 comes out at only £21,099. That’s a whole load of car and equipment for a shade over twenty-one grand, and surely a tempting offer if you’re looking at cars in the compact crossover market.

The engine on our tester is the 1.6 litre petrol, which we chose as we’d already had the S-Cross on test with the 1.6 DDiS turbo diesel – a good engine itself. The petrol is a naturally-aspirated (no turbo or supercharger, in other words), 4-cylinder, 16-valve unit which puts out 118 bhp (120PS) at 6,000 rpm, and 111 lb ft (156Nm) of torque at 4,400 rpm.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 front interior

While I didn’t think the 1.6 petrol engine suited the heavier S-Cross when I tested it on a media day, it’s absolutely fine in the Vitara, which only has a kerb weight of 1,160 kilograms (2,557 lbs).

Firing the petrol engine into life, it is so unbelievably quiet that I have a hard time telling whether it’s actually running or not without looking at the rev counter. Suzuki have done an amazing job of insulating the sound and vibration coming into the cabin, but actually it’s also a very quiet engine from the exterior of the car too.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 interior controls

Immediately noticeable is just how smoothly the stop-start system works when the Vitara comes to a stop. The engine is already near-silent at idle anyway, and there’s no physical judder when the engine cuts out or starts back up. I’m not a huge fan of stop-start systems on cars, but the Suzuki Vitara’s is such an incredibly efficient and highly impressive system that I’m won over in this case.

The first day the Vitara was delivered, I had a quick look around before jumping in and setting off. After literally ten minutes driving, I already liked the car. The petrol engine is quiet and silky, the suspension setup means it rides smoothly over low-speed bumps, and changing gear with the five-speed manual are light and easy. By the time I got home – a twenty minute route of mixed speed limits and roads – I was astonished at how well the Suzuki Vitara drives.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 rear seats

Not long after the start the first month in the long-term Vitara, I took a drive to the Birmingham NEC for the Classic Motor Show – a 260 mile round-trip, or 4.5 hours driving, all on motorways. The 1.6 litre petrol gave a return of around 45 miles-per-gallon, which is rather good, the cabin is superbly insulated from road and wind noise, the sound from the speakers (just four main and two tweeters) is much better than you’d expect it to be, the adaptive cruise control made for an even more relaxing drive, the front seats were fine in terms of comfort, and overall I thought it performed beyond my expectations.

With the chilly, damp winter weather upon us, it wasn’t long before I noticed just how quickly the Vitara starts to kick heat out of the vents and warm the cabin. It heats so rapidly in fact, that I reset the trip to see how far I drove before the welcome warmth came thorough: 1.5 miles. Yep, it’s really that quick. Even if you want the car before setting off, it’s just ten minutes until the heat starts to push out the chill.

Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 clock

Actually, I don’t quite understand why Suzuki haven’t included – or given the option for – heated seats on the top-spec Vitaras. Perhaps it’s to distinguish it from the bigger, more expensive S-Cross. Either way, it should at least be an option as I believe the Vitara warrants them.

Aside from that, after a month and covering just over 1,300 miles in it, I’m generally really happy with our long-term Suzuki Vitara SZ5 1.6 petrol. Next update: practicality, ALLGRIP system tested, more on the touchscreen system, and bits I’m not liking. 

Keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook accounts for photos and info about the Suzuki Vitara, and what we’re using it for, between updates.

Model (as tested)  2015 Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 + Urban Pack
Standard spec includes  17″ alloy wheels, leather & Suede seats, double-sliding panoramic sunroof, automatic LED projector lamps and LED running lights, front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera, electric adjustable, heated and folding side mirrors, power windows, automatic air conditioning, rain sensing wipers, leather covered steering wheel, keyless entry and start, 7-inch touchscreen system with 3D satellite navigation (inc. traffic jam avoidance), DAB digital radio, smartphone linkup, Bluetooth, AUX and USB ports, engine auto stop-start (EASS). See full spec here
Safety Radar Brake Support, ABS with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution) and Brake Assist, ESP (electronic stability programme), hill hold and hill descent control, adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, 7 airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioner & force limiter, foot-protecting brae & clutch pedals, ISOFIX child seat anchorages, emergency stop signal, ALLGRIP 4-wheel-drive, Euro NCAP safety rating of 5/5 stars.
Options fitted  Urban Pack: £670, Atlantis Turquoise Pearl Metallic paint: £800
Off-road information  Ground clearance: 185 mm (7.3″) | Approach angle: 18.2˚ | Departure angle: 28.2˚ | Ramp angle: 17.7˚ 
Price (inc. options)  (correct Feb. 2016) £21,099
Engine  Petrol, 1.6 litre, 4-cylinders inline, 16-valves, naturally-aspirated, Euro 6 compliant 
Power, Torque  Power: 118 bhp (120PS) @ 6,000 rpm | 111 lb ft (156Nm) @ 4,400 rpm
Drive, Gears (as tested)  ALLGRIP 4-wheel-drive | 5-speed manual
Towing capacity, boot space  Towing: Braked: 1,200 (2,645 lbs) | Unbraked: 400 kg (882 lbs) | Boot space (to lower window line): Min.: 375 litres | Max.: 710 litres
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed: 112 mph | 0 – 62 mph: 12.0 seconds | Euro NCAP rating: 5/5 stars
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Urban: 43.4, Extra urban: 55.4, Combined: 50.4 | CO2: 130 g/km
Weight (kerb)  1,160 kgs (2,557 lbs)
Websites  Suzuki Cars UK, Suzuki global 

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies

7 responses to “2015 Suzuki Vitara 1.6 ALLGRIP SZ5 – Long-Term Test & Review – Update #1”

  1. JOHN HOPE

    Does the new Vitara need headlight beam converters for European driving on the right use please; in view of the fact it has projector head lamps.

  2. Steve

    Rattling coming from boot area. Possibly clips attached to parcel shelf

    I added a piece of window draft proofing tape to the rubber spacer that should touch the boot but seems to be a little too small. Rattle cured. Suzuki just need to make the rubber spacer bigger.

  3. Mrs Joyce Grieves

    does anyone know how to reset the click on the dashboard? manual says ‘you can set clock time on info display and time will change automatically’…well we have set the time on the info display and it reads fine but the dashboard clock is way out of sync and we need to reset it.

  4. H Syddall

    how do you change the satnav from KM to miles. the instruction manual does not refer to this?

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