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Suzuki Vitara GLX Turbo Diesel
A 1.6-litre direct-injection, common rail diesel is the second turbo-charged engine to be added to the Suzuki Vitara compact SUV range in 2016.
The other was a 1.4-litre direct-injection, turbo-petrol Boosterjet unit.
Available only in all-wheel-drive with a six-speed auto, the ‘oiler’ tops the Vitara range at $35,990.
The Vitara GLX Turbo Diesel model, as it is designated, boasts a comprehensive shopping list of comfort, convenience and infotainment features that include a dual panoramic sunroof, seven-inch multi-function display, Apple CarPlay, Android phone interfaces and integrated satellite navigation. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels and privacy glass are standard, as are dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags, and a rear view camera.
Personalisation options are plenty. Exterior colours are able to be mixed and matched, ditto the interior with the dash fascia and instrument binnacle trimmings available in turquoise, orange and ivory, as well as black. Similarly, there’s a choice of front grille and fender garnishes.
At 88kW, the Fiat-sourced engine is not especially powerful, but with the AllGrip four-mode drive system set to Sport, peak torque of 320Nm kicks in at a low 1750rpm and stays true well into the 3000rpm range, enabling the Vitara to pull and climb with conviction.
The grip level, which felt sure-footed on damp tarmac, was tested when the road gave way to rough, unsealed track; the ideal conditions to try the Snow and Lock drive mode settings. The former uses AWD by default and optimises traction and stability on low-friction surfaces, while the latter is designed for mud and sand where a spinning wheel can be braked and torque transferred to wheels that have grip. For highway cruising, Auto mode maxes out fuel economy by engaging 2WD by default.
The Vitara proved a comfy drive by way of accommodating seating and user-friendly ergonomics, as well as relatively smooth ride compliance and acceptable NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) over all but the roughest surfaces.
A front centre armrest would be handy, and adult rear seat passengers might welcome a bit more leg room.
At $3000 more than its turbo-petrol sibling, you really need a reason other than slightly better fuel consumption (an official 4.9 litres/100km pays 5.9) to justify buying the turbo-diesel. But if frequent long-distance commuting or travelling and/or the need for optimum pulling power (such as when towing) is a priority, then the ‘oiler’ strengthens its case.
Plenty of standard kit, comfy, off-road ability.
$3000 margin over turbo-petrol, rear leg room tight.
||1.6-litre turbo diesel 4-cyl
||All wheel drive
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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.