Suzuki Vitara
(2015 - 2022)

  • One of the most underrated cars. Period.
  • Great value on the used market.
  • Not all that capable off-road, so it’s unlikely to have been thrashed.
  • Despite there being off-road variants available, it’s not going to be going that far off-road.
  • Cheap and cheerful (not that it’s really a bad thing in this case).
  • Engine is lacking a little in power.
  • Styling could be far more aggressive given Suzuki’s off-road history.
Overview

Those of us old enough (hi there) will remember when Suzuki’s first-generation Vitara was a fresh and quirky compact 4×4 in the 1990s. Ahead of its time, perhaps. Maybe too much. Because in 1998, the Vitara nameplate disappeared from Aussie showrooms and wouldn’t resurface until 17 years later.

After skipping gens two and three, the fourth-generation ‘LY Series’ rebooted the Vitara nameplate locally in 2015. And it arrived, fashionably late, as a response to popularity of small SUVs that had been gaining momentum for some time.

In new Vitara, Suzuki did as many carmakers had done, essentially re-bodying a hatchback model into a high-riding, style-driven crossover more as an urban lifestyle proposition than, well, the more dedicated 4×4 the Vitara once was (and the Jimny now is).

Tall, narrow and flaunting modern style, the gen-three Vitara is compact enough for the thick of the urban jungle yet roomy enough for younger, less-family oriented buyers it’s aimed at. It’s just large enough to function as a kid-hauling SUV, at a pinch.

The range entered with the front-drive RT-S in five-speed manual ($22k) or six-speed auto ($24k), which offered niceties such as 17-inch alloys, sat-nav, a reversing camera and cruise control for very little dough (similar dough to what they’re priced used now).

Four-wheel drive? You needed to stump for the full-fruit GLX ($33k), with semi-suede trim, semi- LED lighting, parking sensors and panoramic glass roof and the like. Its 4×4 system is on- demand.

The letdown was the engine. Any version you chose, naturally aspirated 1.6L petrol was your power. And at 86kW (with just 156Nm), there wasn’t much of it…initially, at least. Six months in, for 2016, Suzuki lobbed the Vitara S Turbo, fitting a ‘Boosterjet’ forced 1.4L petrol good for more respectable 103kW and 220Nm and backed solely by an auto. But you needed $29k for the front driver and $33k for all-paw drive.

A 1.6L turbodiesel with dual-clutch auto, good for 88kW and 320Nm, was now available in RT-X trim as a flagship, lifting the outlay to $36k. Meanwhile, the wheezy N/A engine remained in the cheap variants.

The Series II ‘wide-grille’ facelift lobbed in late 2018 (for MY19), minting the styling that remains on sale today. It ditched the diesel, leaving the big-selling 1.6 entry version, a mid-grade Turbo (FWD) and top-spec Turbo Allgrip (AWD), with pricing more or less carried over.

The revised version wasn’t much more upmarket or offered any more room – bootspace is 375 litres – and underbonnet outputs remained unchanged for its two petrol engines. New for breed, though, was Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring.

The N/A gear is pretty slim on safety, offering seven airbags, ESP and traction control. You have to step up to the turbocharged stuff for comprehensive safety like autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. The higher grades also fit Alcantara and fake leather seat trim in Series II guise.

The fourth-gen Vitara survives to this day in the same three-variant line-up, priced between $27k for the entry 1.6 and $38k for the top dog Turbo Allgrip.

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What goes wrong
  • Thankfully these don’t have the old Grand Vitara’s petrol V6 and all its timing chain headaches and the old F9Q diesel, which is a Renault engine, although not a terrible engine, it was just terrible in the Vitara.
  • The line up of engines available in the current Vitara’s are all fairly reliable pretty unremarkable really.
  • The diesel, which is a Fiat/Chrysler engine by the way, just sayin’, they do have a few DPF and EGR issues, which like all modern diesels can be helped by fitting a catch can and regular servicing with the right type of oil.
  • The petrol engines have a fairly good reliability statistics and rarely have catastrophic failures.
  • The 1.4 turbo engine (ridiculously marketed as the BoosterJet) has had some sporadic reports of leaking injectors causing a few emissions related problems. Typically, there’ll be a check engine light warning you if that’s the case. And because they’re direct injected, they’re most certainly going to have to carbon build up issues later in life. As they get older, the normally aspirated 1.6 petrol is probably going to be your best bet. It does have less power; torque than the others but it’s a far less complicated engine which means there’s less to go wrong; if something does it’ll be much cheaper to fix.
  • The Low beam headlights known to stop working due to burning out, but replacing the old bulbs with high quality aftermarket options is the best way to resolve this.
  • Inside there are a few rare Reports of the Air Conditioning not emitting any cold air, due to the condenser fan motor failing and apparently It’s also known to smell a bit in some instances.
Model range, pricing & features

RT-S

  • Price when new: $21,990 - $23,990
  • Price used: $11,500 - $30,000

The base RT-S introduced in 2015 was available with a 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engine mated to either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission sent via the front wheels.

Key features included 17-inch alloy wheels, 7 airbags, ABS, ESP, electric windows and mirrors, 7-inch touch screen and bluetooth connectivity.

From May 2016, RT-S models also gained Apple CarPlay.

The RT-S model was phased out in favour of just the no badge “”Vitara”” model for the Series II update.

Features:

17-inch alloy wheels
Roof rails
5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2015)
7 airbags: driver and front passenger, driver’s knee, front side and curtain airbags
3-point seatbelts for all seats
Front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters
2x ISOFIX child seat anchor points
3x child seat top tether points
Headrests for all passengers
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Electronic stability program (ESP)
Traction control
Brake Assist
Hill hold control (automatic transmission only)
Hill descent control
Reversing camera
Halogen headlights
Front fog lights
Central locking
Immobiliser
Trip computer
Cruise control
Leather steering wheel
Tilt and telescopic reach steering wheel adjustment
Climate control air conditioning with pollen filter
Electric windows
Electric mirrors
Electric door locks
Fabric seat upholstery
Manually adjustable driver and front passenger seats
7-inch WVGA touchscreen infotainment system
4x speaker sound system
Bluetooth connectivity
Satellite navigation with live traffic updates
Voice command
External devices connectivity
USB connectivity
12V power outlet
Lights: front map, front cabin, centre cabin, boot and luggage area light
2x front cup holders
2x front bottle holders
2x rear bottle holders
60:40 split folding rear seats
Luggage area cover

May 2016 update:
Wired Apple CarPlay

Vitara

  • Price when new: $22,490 - $28,990
  • Price used: $15,000 - $37,000

The Vitara model replaced the RT-S model as part of the Series II facelift introduced in 2018.

Features:

Redesigned front grille and lower bumper
LED tail lights
Front sliding armrest
New instrument cluster
4.2-inch drivers information display
Wired Apple CarPlay
Wired Android Auto

30th Year Anniversary Edition

  • Price when new: $24,990
  • Price used: $19,500 - $25,000

The 30th Year Anniversary Edition was a limited edition model of the Vitara and was limited to 350 units.

It was launched to commemorate 30 years of the Suzuki Vitara nameplate.

Features:

Chrome styling elements
Polished rear boot protector
Centre armrest console

RT-X

  • Price when new: $31,990 - $35,990
  • Price used: $20,500 - $36,000

The RT-X was the mid-range model of the Vitara range and added luxury/comfort features like dual panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, indicators, proximity sensing key, push button start, 6x speaker sound system, leather upholstery and electric tailgate.

The RT-X was phased out gradually with the introduction of the S Turbo model.

Features:

Chrome fender and front grille
Front skid plate
Dual panoramic sunroof
Front and rear parking sensors
LED headlights
LED indicators on the side mirrors
Rain sensing wipers
Keyless/proximity sensing key
Push start/stop button
Electric mirrors – electrically folding
Leather upholstery with suede inserts
6x speaker sound system
Electric tailgate opener
Overhead storage compartment

May 2016 update:
Wired Apple CarPlay

S Turbo

  • Price when new: $28,990 - $32,990
  • Price used: $19,500 - $32,000

The S Turbo model was introduced with a 1.4 litre turbocharged 4-cylinder model.

It was available either in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Additional features included black 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, red interior accents and alloy pedals.

The S Turbo was phased out in 2018, and replaced with the “Turbo” model for the Series II facelift.

Features:

17-inch black alloy wheels
Rear privacy glass
Steering wheel gearshift paddles
Red interior accents
Alloy pedals

Turbo

  • Price when new: $29,990 - $33,990
  • Price used: $23,000 - $37,000

With the introduction of the Series II model in 2018, the Turbo model was introduced to replace the S Turbo model.

The major changes to the Turbo model came with Series II enhancement to safety technology and the inclusion of autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, rear-cross traffic alert and other driver aids.

The Turbo model was only available in front-wheel drive, with the Turbo AllGrip offering the all-wheel-drive option for buyers.

Features:

Autonomous emergency braking
Blind spot monitor
Lane departure alert
Adaptive cruise control
Rear cross-traffic alert
Auto high-beam assist
Chrome fender and front grille
Front skid plate
Front and rear parking sensors
LED headlights
LED indicators on the side mirrors
Rain sensing wipers
Keyless/proximity sensing key
Push start/stop button
Electric mirrors – electrically folding
Leather upholstery with suede inserts
6x speaker sound system
Electric tailgate opener

Turbo AllGrip

  • Price when new: $33,990 - $37,990
  • Price used: $29,000 - $32,500

The Turbo AllGrip was introduced with the Series II facelift and added all-wheel-drive, as well as hill decent control and a panoramic sunroof.

Features:

All-wheel drive
Hill decent control
Panoramic sunroof
Sunglasses holder

Should you buy one?

Well we’ve always thought Suzuki is one of the most underrated car companies out there and the Vitara supports that opinion, this thing, bloody good.

For a no nonsense, practical, well equipped, safe and efficient little nugget of an SUV that is also great to drive, offers excellent value for money and is proving so far to be reliable, the Vitara is a winner.

Tech specs

Body Style:

5-door crossover SUV

Engines:

1.6 litre 4-cylinder petrol (RT-S, Vitara, RT-X)
1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol (S Turbo, Turbo, Turbo AllGrip)
1.6 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (RT-X)

Power:

88kW – 1.6 litre 4-cylinder petrol (RT-S, Vitara, RT-X)
103kW – 1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol (S Turbo, Turbo, Turbo AllGrip)
88kW – 1.6 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (RT-X)

Torque:

156Nm – 1.6 litre 4-cylinder petrol (RT-S, Vitara, RT-X)
220Nm – 1.4 litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol (S Turbo, Turbo, Turbo AllGrip)
320Nm – 1.6 litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel (RT-X)

Transmission & drivetrains:

5-speed manual, front-wheel drive (RT-S, Vitara)
6-speed automatic, front-wheel drive (RT-S, S Turbo, Turbo)
6-speed automatic, all-wheel drive (RT-X, S Turbo, Turbo AllGrip)

Fuel Consumption:

5.8 – 6.3L/100km

Length:

4175mm

Width:

1775mm

Height:

1610mm

Kerb Weight:

1075 – 1185kg

Disclaimer

Information correct as of June 17, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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