When we think of purchasing a car, it’s admirable that we can achieve our 1st vehicle where it’s usually in a budget less than 800k. But for professionals who aims more than the usual small sized sedan or budget vehicle, an SUV is adequate to fulfill your cravings for a more adventurous driving experience.
The SUV category is growing today and with people looking for a vehicle, that can represent the success and needs of an adventure of hungry millennials. One vehicle that can differentiate you from the rest is the Suzuki Grand Vitara. This 2.4L SUV has decades of reputation coming from the famous “Vitara” lineup, but is it enough to feed your hunger?
With other reviews online of this vehicle’s performance, we will be focusing more on the smaller details for what people similar to our age looks for…and that is sometimes a factor that leads to a good buy or not.
The Grand Vitara is bigger than the more known Vitara, hence the word “Grand” with better specifications and size. The box type body is welcomed with more circular edges and corners giving it a more friendly and pleasing look. The spare tire is placed at the back door with the usual special cover of “Suzuki”, suggesting a more explorative attitude.
Our test unit’s color was called “Gaia Bronze Pearl Metallic”, it was a pleasing dark bronze/mocha color that looked elegant and sporty at the same time. We have to give special attention to the front grill cause of its striking looks yet carrying the old Vitara image.
Signal indicators are average, not much to the wow factor side but still functional and deliver the job. The 18″ alloy wheels is a pleasant sight, it adds attitude, commanding presence, and sportiness.
If there is one thing we loved with the Grand Vitara, that would be the capability to bring everything. The storage space is big where the 2nd row can be folded to provide bigger spaces, enough to fit several big boxes or even appliances or baggage for 5 people.
The Grand Vitara doesn’t have leather seats as an option, but the interior has sporty lining material which still acceptable. Interior material is mostly plastic on the dashboard with Champagne gold accents both on the seats, steering, and dashboard.
Functional storage is located all throughout the car with dedicated water bottle placements at the door. The center console is also nice with movable arm rest, two drinks placement and even the spacious glove compartment.
Focusing on the front is the dashboard with circular based shapes, from the instrument panel, aircon vents and even aircon controls give the sporty and edgy look. While matte finished plastic and chrome accents give the “premiums” side of the car.
We’re going to make this short, the Suzuki Grand Vitara is using a 2.4L 4 cylinder engine with 4 speed automatic. With 230hp is the engine’s output the acceleration doesn’t have any problem to push itself to go 100kph when needed, just mind the above average engine roar.
Although at normal conditions, when placed to “drive” the response of the gear shift is quite slow. When we pushed the acceleration, there is almost a half second delay before the engine kicks in or feeling the pull.
Activating the A/T Power enables higher RPMs at lower shifts, this enables faster climbing and speed for overtaking or pulling a vehicle. Although, the 4-speed automatic does roar a lot even at stable speeds of 60-80kph. We wished that it could have been 5 speed automatic to provide better handling and fuel efficiency.
Turns and steep climbs are fairly capable, we didn’t felt any skid when we went to baler’s zigzag trails but the suspension could improve more. When in urban driving, it handles well in comfort but the late acceleration response could be an annoying factor in traffic conditions.
Surprisingly with Suzuki’s lineup last 2016, they upgraded their entertainment system by utilizing an android system with GPS navigation. The upgrade has its own ups and down and we will try to explain one by one.
Imagine an android table at your console, this means that everything including controls and audio. We loved the touch screen control for the FM radio but proved to pair the Bluetooth controls quite a task.
The microphone is placed at the top left corner at the side of the driver, communication using the system is superb which we highly appreciate.
The tablet is powered by a dated processor which, to be honest that we weren’t able to make the GPS work despite updating the google maps and having good internet connection. Loading the map proved to be a task with the android unit which didn’t load on time and has late response to our current location. You can add apps to the tablet like a normal tablet, but we don’t recommend it due to the lack of processing power might slow down the tablet even further.
Though we appreciate the three USB ports (1) center + 2 at the glove compartment for connecting any device to watch videos or play movies. There is even a micro SD card slot for quick access of files as well.
The tablet also controls the reverse camera which has VGA resolution and does the job but there isn’t any backup sensor as well. One downside is that the audio pauses when you activate the reverse screen, quite a weird manner as the reverse camera doesn’t produce any sound as well.
Lastly, since the tablet controls the audio of the entertainment system the audio chip isn’t impressive as expected. This resulted to flat audio quality of the speaker system, we tried to isolate if this can be fixed with the onboard equalizer but it only limited to a few improvements.
The 2.4L engine and 4-speed automatic is a recipe for gas guzzling, our trip to baler which was a total of 600kms. We spent more than 57 liters of 93 octane gas for the trip, in average that’s around 10.5km per liter.
The consumption isn’t pleasing especially for a long drive travel, to be honest, we are disappointed in this division for Suzuki.
For city driving, we are averaging 5.5km per liter, 10-12km for long term drive and around 8km per liter for no-traffic urban driving. To be honest, we were diligent enough to be aware of our diving and used several tactics to save on gas.
Note: All indications are based on the internal instrument panel of the Grand Vitara
As compared to other vehicles we have tried, the Grand Vitara seems to lack some “standard” functions we see on a car worth more than a million pesos.
- The driver’s window doesn’t have an automatic pull-up – we appreciate the automatic window dropping but there isn’t for pulling up, something you’ll definitely notice lacking.
- No automatic lock-up for doors – Our experience with Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Kia, all doors locks up when reaching a certain speed. We didn’t see this function with the Vitara, hence we encountered one drive around with our doors unlocked all the time.
- Auto-Aircon disables air cycle – Once we press the auto of the aircon it disables the air cycle which lets air from outside come in. Very unusual method especially that it’s not really recommended turning the air intake with aircon activated, hopefully, this is only a software glitch that Suzuki can fix.
- Rear door is designed for left side driving – The rear doors open to the right which blocks the path when loading cargo. We hope Suzuki considered this for right side driving such as the Philippines, as this dilemma also applies to other countries.
Overall the Grand Vitara is a delight to drive but our conscience of having a gas saving drive disturbs us. Probably for an individual who will own their 1st SUV will also think the same, the gas guzzling engine just simply veers us away from the good things the Vitara offers.
The Grand Vitara Special Edition costs Php1,210,000 a price that is quite steep against its competitors. If you need the power, the Grand Vitara is an option considering but with reservations.
What we love
- Powerful engine
- 18-inch wheels and delightful color design
- Big space offering
What we don’t like
- Lack of safety automation (Doors and Windows)
- Gas guzzler
- Mediocre audio performance
- Android tablet could improve more
For more details of the Suzuki Grand Vitara visit the Suzuki website