The Suzuki Vitara was first launched in the 80s as a revolutionary crossover compact SUV; now, after 25 years spent perfecting their craft, Suzuki presents the new generation Vitara as a fierce competitor in its class. Suzuki Centurion, with expert salesman Colin and the hospitable receptionist Kaylene, welcomed me this month to test drive the new Vitara.

Offering an easy-on-the-eye appearance at the outset, the Vitara has been pleasantly updated from its legendary predecessors. It has a fresh, sporty look whilst still appealing to more conservative preferences with its deceptively compact size – the interior is stunningly roomy, with more space in the back than most other brands in this class. It also boasts boot space that is on par with the bigger SUV’s, making it a forerunner in the practicality race, in my books.

The interior is precise and ergonomically laid out. Whilst not appearing overly luxurious, it provides a sense of calm confidence that everything you may need as the driver is right where you need it to be, including audio toggles on the steering wheel, a user-friendly infotainment system, and the modern technological conveniences relating to cell phone connectivity.

At start up, the Vitara seems eager to please, reacting instantly to my commands. With its light-weight body structure, this vehicle offers impressive pull for such a small SUV, and (according to the knowledgeable salesman Colin) in top of the range variants, can give a Hot Hatch a definite run for its money. It cruises effortlessly through city traffic, feeling almost gleeful as it navigates twists and turns with efficiency. The Vitara proves to be nippy and agile as I make my way through rush hour traffic in Centurion.

Various colour-scheme options are available in two-tone shades, allowing you an element of cheeky personalisation which I find refreshing. Whilst sitting comfortably in my elevated driving position, I relish the laid-back drive, smooth gear shifts and reactive nature of the vehicle. I find myself adding that as a family vehicle, the Vitara would score high in comfort and practicality, but also offers great safety features that include anti-lock braking, ESC, seven airbags and IsoFix child-seat anchor points – it most certainly checks all the “Family First” boxes.

The newly appointed, passionate and determined Suzuki enthusiast Johnathan, made it his personal mission to highlight the affordability, practicality and famous Suzuki reliability of this vehicle back at the dealership in Centurion. Johnathan proudly notes that the Vitara GL+ won the Wesbank Consumer aware for “Compact Family Car” for 2016/2017. It is clear that the Vitara’s design is synonymous with the Suzuki brand care and consistency, and presents as the epitome of the Vitara tag line, “It’s all you”. It’s no surprise to also note that Suzuki was also the winner of the Wesbank Consumer Awards’ most coveted title of Brand of the Year.

By Desh Pillay Bechan