OTHER makers may argue but Suzuki contends that its Vitara/Grand Vitara line-up offered the British market its very first compact 4x4.
The range has been around on these shores in one form or another for over 20 years and sales have been strong by Suzuki standards.
The current generation version has been particularly well received thanks to a tough, go-anywhere attitude that’s missing from modern road-biased rivals.
The Grand Vitara is far more capable in the rough than a Toyota RAV4 or a Honda CR-V and it’s not difficult to see why. The four-wheel-drive system is geared towards off-road rather than wet road traction and ground clearance is far better. The flipside of this is that the steering and chassis never feel so responsive on the road. Strangely, however, it’s still good fun to drive with a rugged charm that you find yourself growing to like.
The 1.9 litre DDiS diesel engine is a little noisy at times but its combination of fuel economy and low down muscle make it the most desirable choice. The 2.4-litre petrol engine is more adroit when you drop the throttle, achieving an 11.7s time.
Unlike many models that come with a choice of bodystyles, the Grand Vitara is a very different proposition in three and five-door form. The three-door has a chunkier and more compact look that may appeal to fashion conscious buyers being some 400mm shorter than the 4,575mm five-door car with 200mm of that taken out of the wheelbase.
So if you want the off-road real thing the Grand Vitara is worth considering.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: Suzuki Grand Vitara range
PRICES: £15,995-£23,275 - on the road
INSURANCE GROUPS: 17-24
CO2 EMISSIONS: 174-221g/km
PERFORMANCE: [2.4 5dr] 0-60mph 11.7s / Max Speed 115mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [2.4 5dr] (24.7mpg) / (extra urban) 37.1mpg / (combined) 31.3mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front airbags, ESP, ABS
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: [5dr] Length/Width/Height 3865/1870/1695mm