Let’s put it this way. Motorists nowadays are becoming more conscious on what they’ll need to drive. The thing is, most of them don’t care about the fads and price tag, but rather on the capability and value of its usage. Consider the Suzuki Grand Vitara. Since its local debut in 1994 with its first-generation 1.6L engine, the Vitara was not really a total crowd-drawer. But that was the time when compact SUV’s were not yet as popular as passenger cars. As the trend slowly changed, as with the buyers, more motorists started to learn to be more eccentric with their vehicles. (Sort of seeing an avid golfer change his pair of golf shoes and replaced it with Sunday biking shoes, for instance).
Similar to other SUVs, the Grand Vitara looks fairly simple. It has an overall length of 4,500mm and width of 1,810mm, which buyers would dream of compared to a standard size sedan. If you give it some thought, it’s quite interesting that a compact SUV is almost of the same size of an ordinary sedan!
On the outside, the Grand Vitara appears to be more snobbish and masculine in stance, similar to its smaller kin—-the Suzuki Jimny. Though, the Jimny is a bit smaller and sportier. I guess, no one would deny on why it’s being called as “The Grand” in its current generation. Looking at its new front grill and bumper shows off the new blood-lines of what GV is all about. Moreover, the tailgate mounted spare tire gives the Grand Vitara a more authentic SUV character.
Inside its cabin, the Grand Vitara provides full comfort to all passengers on board. It has an elegant cabin equipped with state-of-the-art features. The new redesigned dashboard offers a lot of functionality, but manages to remain uncluttered. Air-conditioning system is excellent thanks to the fully automatic air-con system – maintaining the temperature all the time. To complete its interior refinement, the Grand Vitara provides a more decent luggage space, particularly the back seats that can be split 60/40 and folded flat.
When driving the GV especially in long routes, the new in-dash 6-CD with AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system will give you a better mood. On top of that, it now includes a new meter cluster, power locks, and mirrors.
When it comes to engine power, you can boldly rely on the Grand Vitara. The vehicle is equipped with 2.4-liter VVT engine, which speed addicts won’t have the reason to be bored at all. I was impressed at how the gears shift smoothly. The 4-speed automatic transmission handles politely on the road, especially in tough terrain.
Handling was pretty remarkable, due to its short wheelbase and thanks to its Macpherson strut with coil spring in front, and multi-link suspension in the rear. The Grand Vitara has a good traction and stability control system that keeps the suspension well-balanced. Braking also is not an issue with its front and rear disk brakes.
In all aspects, the Grand Vitara is a practical, rugged, and well rounded compact SUV. With a price tag of Php. 1.270 million, you’ll probably know where your extra money went through.
EIC Note: This article was contributed by Kris C. Lim (photos and text)