2016 Suzuki Vitara S Turbo Review

2016 Suzuki Vitara S Turbo Review

The new model of the Suzuki Vitara appeared last year and the SUV model is now the second-biggest seller for the Japanese brand after the Swift.

Can the 2016 Suzuki Vitara S Turbo help compete the bigger selling rivals in this market segment is the 64 thousand dollar question.

It should. For $5000 over the base Vitara RT-S, delivers a new design, a handful of extra features such as leather/suede seats, and the significantly more powerful new powertrain.

The Vitara S Turbo engine is a direct-injected 1.4-litre unit producing 103kW and a strong 220Nm, an increase over the previous 1.6 litre engine.

Pleasingly, the engine is largely free of lag at low engine speeds and stronger in the mid-range, meaning the greater torque output is also more accessible.

Overtaking, sneaking into gaps, and ferrying heavy car-loads are now much easier than before.

It is also marginally better on fuel than the slower Vitara 1.6 because it is more relaxed.

Matched as standard to the Vitara S Turbo engine is a six-speed automatic transmission with torque converter and steering wheel-mounted paddles.

The test car was the base front-drive model, but the 4WD version gets Suzuki AllGrip on-demand system with four off-road modes that adjust the parameters of the throttle calibration and torque delivery.

Small Suzuki SUVs have historically been good off-road, though in the modern market most buyers never leave the asphalt.

Befitting the Vitara low weight, which is a mere 30kg heavier than the Honda Jazz, the car also handles really well, with eager turn-in, good handling with little body roll, and light but direct steering.

The compact dimensions -  100mm shorter than the Mazda CX-3, which is itself small for the class, mean it is also a easier to park and easier to drive about in the city.

The ride quality is generally fine, though sharper road imperfections are felt inside the cabin on account of the firm-ish suspension tune and the relatively low-profile 17-inch alloy wheels.

There is some tyre and wind noise in the cabin at highway speeds, but around town its less obvious.

Remaining a Suzuki Vitara strong suit is the compact body design that makes the car appear bigger, tougher and more upmarket than it is.

A range of cool bright colours and the optional two-tone black roof add some character. The Turbo S gets unique features such as a revised chrome grille, the black alloy wheels and LED headlights/daytime running lights.

The upgraded design carries over to the cabin. The plastic strips running along the instrument panel and the louvre rings around the air vent can be swapped out for different colours.

The standard equipment list on all Vitara variants is excellent for the money.

Both the RT-S and the S-Turbo get a touchscreen with reverse-view camera and integrated sat-nav, as well as Apple CarPlay connectivity.

This plus climate control, Bluetooth/USB, cruise control with speed limiter and electric-folding door mirrors.

You also get seven airbags and a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Over and above the RT-S, the Turbo S gets features such as leather/suede seats, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and auto on/off LED headlights.

The proposition, then, is simple. For an extra $5000, you get the Vitara Turbo S over the RT-S with this list of extras, plus the black rather than silver alloy wheels and the stronger turbo engine.

If you want AWD, you have no option but to buy the Turbo S.

In typical Suzuki style the layout is ergonomic; there are multiple little storage areas and the build quality is second-to-none.

The rear seats offer ample room for two medium-sized adults or three kids, though the rear seats are non-adjustable.

You get three adjustable headrests and two outboard Isofix anchors for child seats.

The rear windows don’t go all the way down, but large enough to give good outward visibility. Storage comprises a single map pocket and bottle holders in the doors.

Overall the 2016 Suzuki Vitara S Turbo is an impressive offering both for equipment and bang for your buck.

NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Suzuki Vitara S Turbo

Engine: 1.4L turbo diesel producing 103kW and 220Nm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Warranty: 3 Year/100,000 km

Safety: Five stars

Origin: Japan

Price: From $28,900

About Garry Fabian 101 Articles
Garry is a contributor to Behind the Wheel. He has been a freelance journalist for over 25 years across a wide range of subjects, including technical and health areas. He has written weekly car reviews and automotive articles and historic features for a number of newspapers and magazines.

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