Filipinos are familiar with the Suzuki Grand Vitara, that nameplate being seen in local roads and showrooms for over a decade now. It does battle with a legion of compact SUVs, the Grand Vitara being the proud sole owner of a unique ladder frame-monocoque hybrid chassis and a true-blue part-time four-wheel drive system that hard-core off-roaders swear by.       

But it’s been a long time since we last had a Vitara without the “Grand.”  

And now it’s back.  

Suzuki Philippines finally ended the wait last month with the official comeback of the new Vitara. The new-generation Vitara (now made in Europe, Hungary, to be exact) proudly harks back to the Suzuki small SUV legacy while capturing modern design trends to target the burgeoning millennial market.  

With a history of more than three decades, the Vitara has been known for enhanced driving performance, and off-road capabilities.   

The exterior design of the new Vitara exudes a strong yet sophisticated presence achieved through the modernized Suzuki SUV signature clamshell bonnet. The side press lines and smooth roofline suggest a youthful, rugged look and strong aerodynamic performance, respectively.   

The new Vitara is 4,175mm long, 1,775mm wide, and 1,610mm high and has a ground clearance of 185mm, making it among the longest and widest in its class with the smallest turning radius for best-in-class maneuverability.   

Daytime running lamps with vertically placed LEDs are standard in the GLX model. Energy-saving LED headlamps with a blue projector cover come standard with the GLX, while halogen projector headlamps featuring good light distribution for the low beam are used in the GL and GL+ models. Polished alloy wheels are available in 17 inches for GLX variant, while 16-inch alloy wheels come standard for the GL+ and 16-inch steel wheels with full caps are fitted on the GL.  

The interiors combine muscular contours and a sporty feel. The instrument panel conveys a youthful look with its upper linear design that includes a round clock and a matching round air outlet. The seats use high-quality fabric, with the GLX featuring a combination of leather and suede-type fabric for an even classier feel. The GLX also features a panoramic sunroof designed with two glass panels that can be both slid to provide the biggest opening in its class and added premiumness to the vehicle. 

The interior design fuses comfort and utility. All variants feature 6-speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters, and audio steering controls. The GL+ and GLX models also feature a footwell lamp and keyless push start system.  

The new Vitara’s infotainment audio system features handsfree connectivity, navigation, Bluetooth audio, and a USB port. The GLX variant enable on-the-go connectivity through its Wi-Fi support while a MirrorLink function links a smartphone with the SUV’s Android system (with a 10-inch touchscreen for the GLX—the biggest in its class—while GL+ and GL variants have a 7-inch touchscreen).  

The luggage space can accommodate up to 375 liters, expandable by lowering the luggage board or removing the dividers on both sides of the luggage area. To accommodate large suitcases, the rear seats can be folded to make way for up to 710 liters. 

To allow owners to express their individuality (much like with Mini Coopers), the Vitara comes in various colors and designs. With two-tone options available for the roof, pillars and door mirrors for GLX and monotone colors for GL+ and GL models, the Vitara offers accessory packages that would make a Mini Cooper owner feel at home.   

The Vitara GLX boasts a 6-point airbag system comprising of dual, curtain and side airbags for the driver and passenger. It also features cruise control with speed limiter, ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers with reverse camera that detect obstacles during parking, an automatic light system that turns headlamps and taillamps on and off, and automatic wipers triggered depending on the extent of rainfall and vehicle speed.  

The Vitara’s Electronic Stability Program (ESP) automatically controls the engine torque and brakes upon detection of wheelspin to ensure the driver maintains directional control. The Hill Hold Control helps the driver to prevent the vehicle from rolling backward on an uphill climb. 

In the event of a collision, the new Vitara has an impact-absorbing design. The brake pedal system limits the pedal’s movement toward the driver in case of a frontal impact to prevent broekn legs. For further protection the Vitara’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) absorbs impact and the seatbelts use force limiters to mitigate collision forces on the occupants’ chests. 

Boasting the lightest curb weight in its category, the new Vitara delivers enhanced fuel efficiency. The vehicle’s updated 1.6-liter engine is designed to deliver the highest torque performance of 156Nm at 4,400rpm and best-in-class output of 115hp at 6,000rpm.  

(L-R) Suzuki Philippines (SPH) Managing Director and Treasurer Norminio Mojica, Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) Asia Automobile Department General Manager Shigeo Takezawa, SPH President Hiroshi Suzuki, SPH General Manager for Automobile Shuzo Hoshikura, SMC Global Automobile Planning Department General Manager Nobutaka Suzuki, and SPH Assistant General Manager Cecil Capacete

The new Vitara retails for P1,048,000 for the GLX; P938,000 for the GL+ and while prices for the GL will soon be announced. 

GLX variants are available in two-tone colors Atlantis Turquoise Pearl, Horizon Orange Metallic, and Bright Red Metallic. GL+ and GL variants are available in Cool White Pearl, Silky Silver Metallic, Galactic Gray Metallic, Cosmic Black Pearl Metallic, and Atlantis Turquoise Pearl Metallic.