Review: Suzuki Vitara (2015)
Very good to drive and comfortable. Lots of interior space. Five star Euro NCAP rating. Relatively economical. Excellent 1.0 BoosterJet engines.
Interior not as plush as rivals but was much improved from 2019.
Suzuki Vitara (2015): At A Glance
- New prices start from £16,993
- Contract hire deals from £164.22 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 11–21
- On average it achieves 88% of the official MPG figure
On sale for more than a quarter of a century, the Suzuki Vitara is arguably the original crossover SUV. Unlike 25 years ago, the Vitara now sits amongst a raft of similarly small SUVs - the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Vauxhall Mokka X to name a few.
Although it's a competitive market, the Vitara is slightly different to its peers. It's marginally bigger and therefore more practical (although not as big as the likes of the Nissan Qashqai). It's also surprisingly good to drive.
Indeed, it matches many more expensive crossovers for comfort and handling capability. Various engines have been available since it was launched, but the 1.0-litre turbocharged BoosterJet petrol, launched when the Vitara was facelifted for 2019, is our choice, thanks to smooth yet strong performance and little noise.
AllGrip four-wheel drive is an option and provides genuine off-road ability (although it stops short of being a serious mud-plugger - the Jimny's got that covered), while on the road it makes the Vitara feel unflappable. Most buyers opt for the two-wheel-drive version, however, which feels like a Swift-on-stilts (in a good way). It will grip and grip, although there's obviously more roll than the hatch due to the higher centre of gravity.
Style-conscious buyers can choose from a selection of two-tone paint options, as well as a selection of customisation options for the cabin. The interior isn't quite as plush as some rivals, but it feels solid and the touchscreen infotainment system (standard on the SZ-T and up) is easy to use.
The Vitara has up-to-date safety equipment including active systems like adaptive cruise control and automatic braking, as well as a high level of passive safety specification thanks to lightweight but strong bodywork. It scored five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2015.
We think the Vitara offers a lot of space and equipment for the money. It may not be as stylish as other small SUVs nor as desirable, but we think the smart money would go on the Vitara every time. For 2019 the car was brought up to date with an improved interior (you can tell the revised models by the chrome slats on the grille) making it more than a match for the competition.
What does a Suzuki Vitara (2015) cost?
Suzuki Vitara (2015): What's It Like Inside?
While Suzuki's given the interior of the Vitara a few neat finishing touches in an attempt to appeal to the trendy crossover buyer, it's a long way from being plush. Hard plastics add to the almost old-school 4x4 feel, but everything's logically laid out.
The infotainment system - standard on all models but the entry-level SZ4 - is easy to get to grips with and simple to use on the move, although not as slick as some systems offered by bigger manufacturers. It also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
The seats are comfortable, and it's easy to find a good driving position. The steering wheel adjusts for height and reach, while all the controls are logically placed. There are quite a few buttons, though - unlike premium rivals which favour everything being controlled through the infotainment screen.
Visibility is excellent - aided by the Vitara's high seating position and large windows - while legroom is adequate, although taller passengers may complain if they're sat in the rear for any length of time.
The boot is one of the biggest in its class, and it's easily accessed (although obviously higher than an estate or hatchback). There's a bag hook and an auxiliary socket in the load area, while underfloor storage could come in handy.
If you wish to drop the rear seats to create extra room, they don't fold entirely flat. Thanks to the Vitara's fairly boxy dimensions there is, however, plenty of space when the seats dropped. There are handy touches like plastic guides for the Isofix mounts - useful if you're fitting a child seat.
Specifications (from June 2018)
SZ4 has 16-inch alloy wheels, silver roof rails, a chrome front grille and side trim, DAB radio, a CD player, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, a 60:40 folding rear seat, automatic air conditioning, halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, fabric seats, stop/start, cruise control with speed limiter, electric front and rear windows and two ISOFIX points.
SZ-T adds 17-inch alloy wheels (dark silver finish), a seven-inch infotainment system including navigation and a rear parking camera.
SZ5 includes 17-inch alloy wheels (polished finish), electrically folding door mirrors, rain sensing windscreen wipers, automatic headlights, LED headlights with automatic levelling, suede seats, an anologue clock, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, radar brake support with emergency brake signal.
Vitara S comes with 17-inch alloy wheels (black finish), rear privacy glass, black fog light bezels and body side mouldings, aluminium pedals, red stitch interior accents, ALLGRIP four-wheel-drive and hill descent control.
Child seats that fit a Suzuki Vitara (2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Suzuki Vitara (2015) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.0 BoosterJet to 1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP Automatic
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 30–70 mpg
One of the surprising things about the Vitara is how well it drives. It's no sports car, but for an SUV of this size, it's very reassuring in corners with responsive, albeit quite light, steering. True there's a fair bit of body roll, but there's also no shortage of front end grip.
It rides well, too - indeed, instead of crashing and banging over every pothole, it manages to absorb obstacles with ease. Even choosing the turbocharged Vitara S with its firmed-up suspension doesn't create an uncomfortable ride.
Refinement is another area that impresses. Even at motorway speeds there's little wind or road noise, the Vitara feeling stable and composed. In fact, it makes a very comfortable long distance companion, helped by a good driving position and decent seats.
The original engine line-up included a 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engine, both with 120PS, which provide adequate if not sparkling performance. The petrol was also available with an automatic gearbox.
Shortly after, the Vitara S was launched which is powered by Suzuki's excellent 1.4-litre BoosterJet engine with 140PS and a six-speed manual gearbox. It gives the Vitara a real turn of pace and makes it genuinely fun to drive - not something we'd expect from a Vitara.
When the Vitara was facelifted in 2019, Suzuki dropped the 1.6-litre engines (not replacing the diesel) and introduced the 1.0 BoosterJet engine. For us, this is by far the best engine choice. It belies its small size and despite only having 111PS, feels much quicker in every day driving.
It's a three-cylinder engine, so has that nice low down torque, yet at speed it's quiet and smooth. The only downside is that it's a five-speed rather than a six, but even at motorway speeds, it's quiet and doesn't feel strained.
Opt for the four-wheel-drive Allgrip model and you can flick between four driving modes. Leave it in automatic (which we think is the best mode) and it will run in front wheel drive before the rear wheels kick-in when required.
While the Vitara isn't an outright mud plugger, it's more capable off road than most of its rivals. Muddy fields pose no issue for the Suzuki, while Hill Descent Control will take some of the fear out of steep decline.
|1.0 BoosterJet||53 mpg||11.5 s||123 g/km|
|1.0 BoosterJet ALLGRIP||50 mpg||12.0 s||130 g/km|
|1.0 BoosterJet Automatic||50 mpg||12.5 s||127 g/km|
|1.4 BoosterJet||49–52 mpg||9.5–10.2 s||127–131 g/km|
|1.4 BoosterJet ALLGRIP||46 mpg||10.2 s||139 g/km|
|1.4 BoosterJet ALLGRIP Automatic||45–51 mpg||10.2 s||128–143 g/km|
|1.4 BoosterJet Automatic||48 mpg||9.5 s||133 g/km|
|1.6||50–53 mpg||11.5–13.0 s||123–131 g/km|
|1.6 ALLGRIP||50–53 mpg||12.0 s||123–130 g/km|
|1.6 ALLGRIP Automatic||50 mpg||13.0 s||131 g/km|
|1.6 Automatic||51–53 mpg||12.5 s||123–127 g/km|
|1.6 DDiS||71 mpg||11.5 s||106 g/km|
|1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP||67 mpg||12.4 s||111 g/km|
|1.6 DDiS ALLGRIP Automatic||63 mpg||12.4 s||118 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Suzuki Vitara (2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Suzuki Vitara (2015)?
Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.
Should I hold out for the LWB Suzuki Jimny?
What Cars Are Similar To The Suzuki Vitara (2015)?
Unclear on what your next car should be? Use our Car Chooser to pick something that suits your needs.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
- 5 star 100%
- 4 star
- 3 star
- 2 star
- 1 star