Suzuki Vitara Review 2022

Suzuki Vitara At A Glance

3/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The Suzuki Vitara is looking a bit dated alongside newer rivals but generous equipment levels, a big boot and strong reliability record means you could do a lot worse. Hybrid power makes it more appealing, too, but it's no rocketship to drive.

+Spacious interior. Feels like it's built to last. Economical engines including hybrid power from 2022.

-Feels a bit dated in many ways. Full hybrid gets a frustrating automated manual gearbox.

New prices start from £22,579
Insurance Groups are between 11–23
On average it achieves 88% of the official MPG figure

The Suzuki Vitara name is synonymous with no-nonsense reliability, value for money and low running costs. And, while there are posher rivals out there, the latest Vitara combines all these desirable attributes with a spacious cabin while also being surprisingly fun to drive.

One of the very first small SUVs, the Suzuki Vitara has now been on sale for more than 30 years. The latest model hasn't been around quite that long, but it has been on the market longer than many of its rivals – cars like the Ford Puma, Skoda Kamiq and latest Nissan Juke, to name just a few.

The Suzuki Vitara does things its own way, though. While some crossovers arguably put style over substance, Suzuki's reliability record means the Vitara should last considerably longer than the average PCP cycle. And, unusually for an SUV of this size, it's available with four-wheel drive. No, it's not going to follow in the tracks of a Land Rover Defender, but it'll hold its own on an untreated rural road.

There have been a number of engines offered in the Suzuki Vitara since the latest iteration went on sale in 2015. We liked the little 1.0-litre BoosterJet – a turbocharged three-cylinder unit with a surprising amount of get-up-and-go – but it didn't last long, offered for a brief period from 2018.

Today, you can get the Suzuki Vitara with a choice of a 1.4-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine or a new 1.5 'full' hybrid. Both offer pretty similar fuel economy stats on paper, with the mild-hybrid model providing a combined WLTP figure of 52.7 while the full hybrid scrapes 53.0mpg – both considerably less than the 64.2mpg you can expect to see from certain Toyota Yaris Cross models.

They're not quick, either. While you don't buy a car like this for performance, the Vitara Hybrid's leisurely 12.7-second 0-62mph time could soon become frustrating when joining the motorway. Even more irritating is the slightly annoying automated manual transmission – the electrical assistance only goes some way towards smoothing over clumsy gear changes.

Still, the Suzuki Vitara's quite fun to drive in a sense. It feels a bit like a Swift-on-stilts, with loads of grip and a small turning circle. It does lean in bends more than, say, a Ford Puma or SEAT Arona, but it's much more car-like to drive than the Suzuki Jimny.

The Suzuki Vitara's interior is feeling a little dated compared to the best in class, although it has received minor updates and improvements over the years. A facelift in 2019 brought with it some welcome additions in the form of a new instrument cluster and some additional soft-touch materials, but otherwise it's pretty much the same as when it was launched in 2015.

With a boxier shape than a Nissan Juke, the Vitara's cabin is surprisingly practical for a small SUV. Access is easy (thanks to wide-opening doors), while you sit higher than you do in a regular hatchback – giving you a good view of your surroundings and a generally increased feeling of safety.

Talking of which, Euro NCAP awarded the Suzuki Vitara a full five stars out of five when it was crash tested back in 2015. You get seven airbags as standard, while the latest models come with things like lane-assist tech (which can nudge you back into your lane if you inadvertently start to stray) and an autonomous braking system that can help prevent (or at least reduce the severity of) a crash.

While there have been a few Suzuki Vitara derivatives over the years, the range is now made up simply of two models: the Vitara SZ-T and the Vitara SZ-5. Both are generously equipped for the money, with the SZ-T starting from a shade under £24,000 and including 17-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, automatic air conditioning and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

The Suzuki SZ5 is closer to £26,000 and comes with a panoramic sunroof, dual-sensor brake support, keyless entry/start and 17-inch polished alloy wheels.

We lived with a Vitara for six months - find out how we got on with it in our Suzuki Vitara long term test

Ask Honest John

How does the Lexus UX compare to the BMW X1?
"How do you compare Lexus UX 250h and BMW X1 (2-litre petrol, auto), models 2018-2020. And where does Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet auto stand in this mix? Models 2016-2020. "
Both the Lexus UX and BMW X1 are desirable premium SUVs. The Lexus UX is likely to be a very reliable choice, and the brand consistently performs well in our annual Satisfaction Index. The BMW X1 will be more enjoyable to drive, though, and has a better infotainment system. The Suzuki Vitara should also be very reliable, although it feels dated alongside competitors like the Volkswagen T-Roc (and will feel rather downmarket compared to the BMW X1 and Lexus UX).
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you suggest a replacement for our Suzuki Vitara?
"My Suzuki Vitara is six years old and starting to need a few extra repairs every MoT and service. The tinny sounding doors are also beginning to annoy more than they used to. Maybe it's because I'm a lot older now! I love the high driving position, ground clearance and sense of space the cabin has, I'm six foot tall and have a hankering for something a bit plusher inside with a bit more quality about it. I am not so concerned about the 4x4 capability as all-season tyres should see me ok. And working from home means I don't need to travel in bad weather as much as I used to. The only snag is, where I live, there are not many franchises. The closest we have are Ford, MG, Kia, Suzuki, Skoda and VW. Anything else is an hour's drive away at least so servicing could be a chore. Are there any "plusher" similar-sized SUVs you would recommend? "
Take a look at the Volkswagen T-Roc. It's got a higher seating position than most small SUVs, while the cabin has just been updated so it's a fair bit plusher than your Vitara's. Also take a look at the Ford Puma or, if you think an electric car might work for you, we'd recommend the MG ZS EV. This guide might be of interest: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/guides/best-small-suv/
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend a small car with high ground clearance?
"My son is learning to drive and needs a small, first car. We live half a mile down an unmade track which is full of holes and ruts so a Ford KA, Nissan Micro etc. are unsuitable. Can you recommend a suitable small, first car, secondhand, with good ground clearance for less than £5,000?"
If you can find one, a Volkswagen Polo Dune could be a good option. It's essentially a standard Polo with a lifted suspension and chunkier looks, but it sold in small numbers and there are only a handful on the used market today. Alternatively, take a look at a small crossover SUV like the Suzuki Vitara. A Vitara should be a very reliable choice that'll be cheap to run, but it'll be worth searching for a few insurance quotes first.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Is the Suzuki Vitara known for road noise?
"We have test driven a low mileage Suzuki Vitara. A great basic little SUV, but are they known for their road and wheel noise?"
The Suzuki Vitara certainly isn't the most refined small SUV on the market. It should be very reliable, though, and cheap to run. Factors like the wheel size will influence noise levels – perhaps try one with smaller alloy wheels and bigger tyres. Alternatively, consider something like a Skoda Kamiq instead.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Suzuki Vitara cost?