Toothy new grille and daytime running lights. Picture: SUPPLIED
Toothy new grille and daytime running lights. Picture: SUPPLIED

Suzuki SA has freshened up its Vitara range for 2019 with a facelift and an interior revamp, along with more creature comforts. 

The small SUV has sold over 1,700 units since its local introduction in 2015, in a competitive segment that includes the Ford Ecosport, Honda HR-V and Renault Captur.

The midlife update includes a redesigned grille and bumper and clear headlamp clusters, with the flagship GLX also acquiring LED daytime running lights. At the rear, restyled tail lamps are fitted with led lights, and the GLX has front and rear parking sensors.

The fit and feel of the interior has been enhanced with the upper instrument panel now made from premium soft-touch materials. The GLX gets a hardier and more luxurious new seat material combining suede and synthetic leather.

Suzuki has fitted the GL+ and GLX models with a new 10.7cm full-colour LCD information display and a 9cm monochrome LCD on the baseline GL specification level. This screen displays information such as driving range, average speed, outside temperature, a gear-shift indicator and, on AllGrip (4x4) models, the selected driving mode.

Interior is upgraded with soft-touch dashboard and infotainment touchscreen. Picture: SUPPLIED
Interior is upgraded with soft-touch dashboard and infotainment touchscreen. Picture: SUPPLIED

Suzuki added a second large screen in its new Smart Linkage Display Audio system, which replaces the more traditional analogue system on the GL+ and GLX models. This new touchscreen features smartphone integration, built-in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity. It also displays the reverse camera image in full colour.

As before, the Vitara has a relatively extensive list of standard features including electric windows (front only on the GL model), central locking, air conditioner with pollen filter, power steering and foldable rear seats.

The GL+ and GLX in addition have climate control, cruise control, a multifunction steering wheel, all-round electric windows and chrome detailing. The range-topping GLX has a unique instrument panel trim, keyless access with push-button Start/Stop and an electric tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof flanked by chromed roof rails.

All models have a high safety level (and five-star Euro NCAP crash rating) with seven airbags, electronic stability control  and ABS brakes with emergency brake assistance.

The Vitara continues to be powered by a 1.6l petrol engine with outputs of 86kW and 156Nm, mated to the choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. 

Later this year the range will be expanded with the addition of a new 1.4 turbo petrol engine.

As before there’s a choice of either front-wheel drive or the intelligent adaptive AllGrip all-wheel-drive system. The latter is available in the GLX coupled with a manual gearbox.

Suzuki’s AllGrip system allows the driver to select between various driving modes on the fly. In auto mode the system will default to front-wheel drive in normal usage and automatically switch to all-wheel drive when the road conditions or driver inputs necessitate it.

In sport mode, the system will change engine and accelerator response while delaying ESP intervention for a more spirited drive, and in mud/snow mode it will actively spread torque delivery between all four wheels to allow for possible slippery conditions.

Lastly, the driver can lock the Vitara in all-wheel-drive mode for speeds of up to 60km/h for maximum off-road traction.

Prices are unchanged and are as follows, including a five-year/200,000km warranty and four-year/60,000km service plan with roadside assistance:

Suzuki Vitara GL manual: R281,900

Suzuki Vitara GL+ manual: R318,900

Suzuki Vitara GL+ auto: R337,900

Suzuki Vitara GLX auto: R359,900

Suzuki Vitara GLX AllGrip manual: R374,900