Customers asked, so Suzuki Vitara SUV goes auto

• Auto model extends Suzuki Vitara offering
• Six-speed box for GL+ version
• Customer, dealer plea answered

2016 Suzuki Vitara Image: Suzuki SA
2016 Suzuki Vitara Image: Suzuki SA

Suzuki SA has added a six-speed auto gearbox to the GL version of its Vitara range, launched in 2014 and based on the two-wheel drive model. The gearbox had only been available only with the top-spec GLX.

The gearbox, the automaker says, combines the convenience of automatic gear-changes with a wide spread of ratios but has kept the option of manual  control with shift paddles on the steering column.

READ MORE Suzuki Vitara features on Carman’s Corner

The Vitara GL+ auto, Suzuki says, still has an array of customisation options, such as a two-tone colour scheme, the roof in a contrasting colour.

2016 Suzuki Vitara Image: Suzuki SA
2016 Suzuki Vitara Image: Suzuki SA

Then there are Urban and Rugged packs which offer various combinations of exterior features such as spoilers, scuff plates, roof rails, side protection strips and daytime running light decoration in various colours and finishes.

EXTENSIVE ACCESSORY RANGE

Elements such as the grille, fender garnish, wheel-arch extensions, door releases, skid plates and the rear hatch can be customised with varying colours, finishes and designs.

The cars’ outdoor aura can be heightened with an extensive range of accessories ranging from alloy wheel-rims to roof racks, bike carriers and a tow ball.

So, there are now two front-wheel drive GL+ derivatives to choose from, each with the same 1,6-litre engine fed by multi-point fuel-injection and using variable valve timing to deliver up to 86kW at 6600rpm and 151Nm at 4400rpm. Drive is to the front wheels.

Like all other Vitaras, the GL+ auto combines all-independent, Macpherson strut front suspension with a torsion beam-equipped rear axle.

EPITOME OF DESIGN

“It’s a compact  on/off-roader,” Suzuki explains, “with a sporty silhouette now familiar on SA roads with its short overhangs and higher stance, wheel-arch extensions and front and rear skid plates.

“It is the epitome of a modern compact SUV design trends.

2016 Suzuki Vitara Image: Suzuki SA
2016 Suzuki Vitara Image: Suzuki SA

The mid-range GL+ is equipped with 16″ alloy wheel rims shod with 215/60 tyres and colour-matched grille, door releases and exterior mirrors. Fender garnish is grey, front fog-lights are standard, tinted privacy glass fills the rear-door windows, the rear quarter-lights and the rear glass.

The cabin uses cloth upholstery with contrasting stitching. Each front seat has height/reach adjustments; the rear bench can be split 60:40 and folded flat for accommodate extra luggage. Instrumentation includes a trip-data display showing average speed, instant and average fuel-consumption, operating range and exterior temperature.

The speedometer and tachometer are classic analogue and bracket the data display.

The steering-wheel is tilt/reach ajustable and carries supplementary controls for the audio system, cruise control and hands-free telephony.

All four side windows and the exterior mirrors are power-operated and other standard stuff includes key-fob locking, auto aircon and an analogue clock.

The four-speaker audio system is MP3/WMA compatible and carries CD player, FM/AM tuner, USB socket and Bluetooth connectivity. A 12V accessory socket is also provided and the cabin, Suzuki says, “has ample storage, including front and rear door pockets with holders for 1.5-litre bottles, front and rear cupholders and a cubby ahead of the front passenger.

CRASH-PROTECTION AND RATING

The boot can take 375 litres of goods and includes a retractable cover and divider board and a second 12V accessory socket.

Every Suzuki Vitara has electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes with emergency pressure assistance. Occupants’ protection includes seven crash bags (two front, side and curtain and a knee bag for the driver), a decoupling brake pedal assembly, pre-tensioning and load-limited seat belts and a head restraint for each of the five seats.

IsoFix child-seat anchors are included and the cars have a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.

2016 Suzuki Vitara Image: Suzuki SA
2016 Suzuki Vitara Image: Suzuki SA

The current Suzuki Vitara took overall victory in the UK website http://www.honestjohn.com’s 2016 Hon John awards and was voted Most Popular Crossover by the site’s users.

The car also won a Best Buy accolade in the 2016 What Car? magazine awards and won the Compact Crossover category in the UK Sunday Times newspaper’s Top 100 Cars Of 2016 awards.

 

PRICE AND WARRANTY

The Suzuki Vitara GL+ a/t is available through Suzuki Auto SA’s national dealer network for a basic R313 900, which includes a three-year or 100 000km warranty, a four-year or 60 000km service plan and three years’ roadside assistance cover.

Service intervals 15 000km.

For more information on Suzuki products in South Africa, click for their website.

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