WHILE Suzuki’s Jimny is all-new, the just-released Vitara Series II is little more than a mild makeover of its popular little SUV.
However, the Vitara range has been trimmed and prices have gone slightly north, although the two turbo models have been given more safety gear.
The good-looking and respected vehicle now comes in a choice of just three: a normally aspirated 1.6litre front-wheel drive with six-speed manual or auto transmission, an auto-only front-wheel drive Turbo and an auto-only Turbo AllGrip – Suzi-speak for all-wheel drive.
There’s no diesel option.
All get a front sliding armrest, soft-touch dash and an improved 4.2-inch colour display in the dashboard meter cluster.
The successful mechanicals of the previous model have all been retained.
The base Vitara has a 88kW/156Nm motor, while the turbo editions are powered by a 103kW 220Nm 1.4litre.
They cost $22,490 for the six-speed manual and the auto option adds $2000. That’s an increase of $500.
The Turbo autos are up by $1000 to $29,990 for the front-wheel driver and the All-Grip is $33,990.
Standard on the turbo models is a suite of safety upgrades, including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, weaving alert, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
In the base models, drivers will have to use their own faculties to avoid flattening pedestrians who choose to ignore vehicular traffic and have a look in the more than adequate mirrors to see what’s alongside, or behind.
Turbo variants also have premium suede-covered seats with geometric patterns and the AllGrip jobbie has hill descent control and a panoramic sunroof.
Vitaras come in a considerable choice of colours and colour combinations, though all but Cool White incurs another dip into the Visa card.
For an extra $500 buyers can have Silky Silver Metallic or Cosmic Black Pearl Metallic, but if you opt for a two-tone, you’ll get hit for $1250.
Still, they look jolly good in two-tone: a black roof with the body in Bright Red, Atlantis Turquoise Pearl, Savannah Ivory, Galactic Grey or Solar Yellow.
Some of the latter come with not just a black roof, but a Cosmic Black Pearl Metallic one.
The new Vitara comes with a 5-star safety rating and Suzuki’s 5 years capped price service warranty program – and in a first for the brand, roadside assist.