By Monica Graham
I was excited to try out Suzuki’s all new compact SUV. It’s a very smart looking vehicle inside and out, with opportunities to add your personal style. The high spec LTD I was driving certainly attracted some attention in the car park. Quite a few people came over to have a closer look. That bold glossy grille and the blue tinged headlights are eye-catching, the bonnet line tidy and stylish. The LTD’s two-tone orange/white colour scheme is also very distinctive. It reminds me of something. All weekend I’ve been trying to work out what that is. Maybe something rich and tasty…
Toffee and cream perhaps?
1. I hate moving kiddy seats. So Mr G did it for me. It took him less than 2 minutes, using the car’s Isofix system. It looked very easy. Our son is a leggy 4-year old. He had heaps of room and was in love with the LTD’s panoramic sunroof, which opens right up into the back. As you’d expect there’s also plenty of room in the back to accommodate full-size passengers, as well as a good-sized terrier, or your golf club bag, shopping and luggage in the bootspace.
2. Before we even got down the driveway, we were listening to the music on Mr G’s smart phone through the Vitara’s touch screen ‘infotainment’ system. He thought he was in control there for a while, so I was enjoying mucking around with his sounds using the steering wheel controls. The gear paddles on the steering wheel are also intuitively placed and fun to use, if you feel like popping into Manual or overriding the Drive mode at any time.
I liked the confidence the rear view camera gave me when reversing.
Or could it be brandy snaps?
3. On the open road the steering was crisp and direct. The Vitara felt solid on the road. It gives you that SUV feel, sitting up high with great visibility all around, while the 1600cc engine means smaller car economy at the fuel pump. Although we didn’t fill the 47L tank from empty, $20 pushed the needle a pleasingly good distance across the gauge. Thankfully this frugality doesn't mean the compromise in performance that you might expect. Overtaking in the new Vitara was a pleasure. There was no dilly-dallying. It kicked down and went with no fuss. I think I would be using the cruise control for long trips, as it’s quite easy for the speed to creep up, even with Sport mode turned off.
Lunch at Moeraki. I know it’s almost a crime to not have a seafood dish at Fleur’s, but I felt strangely compelled to select the soup of the day: pumpkin, with sour cream. Hmm, that’s a possibility…
It was chilly outside, but back in the carpark by the sea, I could well imagine summer adventures with my new buddy, the Vitara. It’s a fun car to drive and I love the retro dash and dial options. They bring both colour and flair to the cockpit, depending on the options you choose to personalise your new buddy.
Examples of the dash kit options you can choose from:
Carrot cake? That’s it! Definitely carrot cake.
The substantial base of a solid, exceptionally well-priced compact SUV that offers plenty of sweet extras on top.
The JLX starts at $27,990 + ORC for the 2WD Manual, while the higher spec LTD is priced from $32,990 + ORC for the 2WD Auto. You can have an AWD LTD for under $36,000 + ORC, two-tone versions for $36,790 + ORC.
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