True 4×4 all-terrain SUV

Bobby Cheetham

THE Suzuki Grand Vitara Summit SUV has scaled new heights with the updated model. The Grand Vitara has already established an enviable reputation for its authentic, low range-based 4×4 capability, combined with robust quality and reliability.

The updates are aimed at augmenting the cosmetic appeal of the all-terrain vehicle, while also adding greater value by offering two distinct specification levels – Dune and Summit – with pricing adjusted accordingly.

The most obvious changes are to the front end of the Grand Vitara, where a revised grille adds a stronger contemporary flavour to the compact SUV’s styling. Also new is the front bumper, which incorporates revised fog lamps and a more aggressive lower air intake.

This latest model also rides on new, stylish alloy wheels, executed in 17-inch and 18-inch sizes, depending on the model.

Inside, a new black fabric now adorns the seats and the door panel inserts.

The result is a cleaner and more distinctive visual appearance, while retaining the Grand Vitara’s poised and powerful presence.

But it is under the bonnet which impresses us.

The SUV features a four-cylinder, 2393cc powerplant with twin overhead camshafts and VVT variable valve timing to produce 122kW of maximum power at 6000rpm.

The torque peak of 225Nm is achieved at 4000rpm. Both trim levels offer a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.

In manual transmission trim, (our test vehicle) the Grand Vitara accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in a brisk 11.7 seconds, and achieves a 180km/h top speed. The automatic version covers the 0 to 100km/h dash in 12.0 seconds, while top speed comes to 170km/h.

Combined-cycle fuel consumption figures for the manual and automatic models comes to 8.9 l/100km and 9.9l/100km respectively, with associated CO²emissions ratings of 212 and 234 g/km.

Unlike most compact SUVs, the Grand Vitara is a true 4×4 all-terrainer, with an advanced all-wheel drive system that incorporates a low-range transfer case and convenient, electronic switching between 4×4 modes. The system employs a torque-sensing centre differential that can vary power between the front and rear axles depending on road conditions and driving style.

For more challenging terrain, the centre differential can be locked to further boost traction and stability.

In extreme off-road conditions, the transmission’s transfer case can be used to select low-range mode, to further boost all-terrain tractability, climbing capability and overall traversability.

Also contributing to the SUV’s legendary all-terrain talent is its 200mm ground clearance, short front and rear overhangs, long-travel suspension, and rugged integrated ladder frame monocoque chassis.

The chassis isn’t only tough and durable, but provides a rigid platform for the Suzuki’s all-independent suspension. The latter sees a front MacPherson strut configuration, with coil springs and anti-roll bar, coupled to a multi-link rear system.

The suspension provides a perfect mix of control and comfort, with controlled and smooth responses to a wide variety of driving conditions.

Priced at R362900 it includes a three-year/100000km warranty, and a six-year/90000km service plan.

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