Photos by Romel Bernardo
The 2015 Suzuki Grand Vitara is a car that gives you a case of déjà vu. That’s because it’s been around since 2005. That’s quite long in human years but even longer in car years. But it’s priced competitively and is still selling quite well.
Driving this car, it’s hard to believe that it’s actually 10 years old. The surprising thing is it doesn’t feel its age one bit. You’d feel it the moment you close the door. It closes with a solid thump—very smooth, very quiet, but solid. It’s the kind of door closing sound you’d expect from any of the current brand-new 2015 models.
The difference between the 2015 Grand Vitara and the earlier versions is limited to a new grill, new bumpers, taller 18-inch alloy wheels, new paint colors, and new interior trim. But go down to the mechanical level and it’s basically the same vehicle.
It’s usually in NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) that gives away a car’s age; but this car is still impressively solid, silent, and refined—much like it’s contemporaries. The biggest giveaway, of course, would be the styling, given that Suzuki only changed quite a few items on the car. But it still looks fresh. It’s a design that’s aged well.
This car runs on a 168hp/227Nm 2.4-liter VVT-i 4-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic. No five or six speeds, no paddle shifters, no manual mode.
Two other things that set the Grand Vitara apart from its 4×2 front-wheel drive rivals is that it has rear-wheel drive and a ladder-frame monocoque hybrid chassis.
Over rough roads the Grand Vitara exhibits impressive solidity. There is no telltale sound from the chassis, the body or even from the interior panels.
The Grand Vitara is not a fuel economy champion—it doesn’t have the newer engine technologies of its competitors; but it still does a pretty good average of just under 7 km per liter in slow city driving and about 10-11 km in highway driving.
This Grand Vitara came out at a time when compact SUVs were really compact. That makes it a little bit smaller than the competition. I personally prefer a smaller footprint but one that maximizes interior space and this kind of body style with the high roof line, big windows, and a boxy body actually gives excellent interior space.
The Grand Vitara retails for roughly P1.2M. That puts it somewhat in the lower range of the compact SUV price class. Most of its rivals can go as high as 1.4 or even 1.5M.
And therein lies its advantage (and longevity). People haven’t exactly been clamoring for bigger, more expensive, and bigger-engined replacements for their existing vehicles. So when a car maker offers a new one that’s small and with a budget-friendly price (think Ford EcoSport), buyers gravitate to it.
VERDICT: The Suzuki Grand Vitara might be a “veteran” among the compact SUV models, but its virtues far outweigh its years.
|Engine||168hp/227Nm petrol VVT-1 2.4-liter inline-4|
|L x W x H (mm)||4,500 x 1,810 x 1,683mm|
|Other features||ABS with EBD; Brake Assist; Dual front airbags; 4-speaker FM/CD/MP3/AUX sound system; keyless entry|