Suzuki Vitara 1.4 BoosterJet S


     After my first acquaintance with Suzuki’s new Vitara not long after it was launched last year I concluded that its interior plastics were a little bit on the hard and scratchy side, and that if prospective customers wanted certain specs and options, they should “do their sums carefully before signing on the dotted line”.  

    Having just recently spent another week in the company of the Japanese manufacturer’s likeable and family orientated SUV I still maintain my opinion about some of those plastics, but there is however a caveat. I am willing to concede– based purely on the use of Vitaras out in here my neck of the far unlit woods you understand – that Vitaras seem to usually be bought by people for whom an element of seat and dashboard wipability rather than absorption is probably a bonus. Many a Suzuki SUV in these parts is seen with a dog, or in more extreme cases, another four-legged friend in the back, or indeed the front. And anyway, judging by the age of some of them (the Vitaras, not the animals) it just serves to show that Suzuki interiors are designed and built to far outlast the memory of anything that was ever written by me.

    It would appear then that Suzuki have got the balance of comfort and durability in the Vitara right after all. Comfort and space wise, as before, I’ve no complaints. The Vitara seats five, the dashboard is simply and clearly laid out, and the boot is a decent size; you even get a low loading lip and a variable height boot-floor that facilitates a flat load-space when the rear seats are folded. The practicality element of the Vitara is spot-on too.

   But what of that comment about specs and options?

   Well, with the introduction of the new Suzuki Vitara 1.4 BoosterJet S it could be said that Suzuki themselves have done all of the hard work of choosing the right balance of performance, economy and all-important options for you.

     On paper a 1,373cc petrol powered four-wheel drive SUV might at first give you the impression that the skins of rice puddings the world over could rest easy. But, you’d be wrong. Suzuki’s Boosterjet 1.4 might be the smallest engine available in the Vitara range but thanks to the use of a small displacement, high torque turbocharger with a controllable wastegate valve it’s actually the most powerful – in fact next year it’s going in the Swift Sport. It produces 138bhp and very healthy 162lbft of torque between 1,500 and 4,000 revs. In doing so, and when coupled to Suzuki’s six speed manual gearbox and AllGRIP four-wheel drive system it gives the Vitara a sense of verve that up until now has been somewhat missing. It really does pull, so much so that the BoosterJet feels faster than it’s claimed 0-62 in 10.2 seconds figures suggest, both away from the lights and when overtaking.

   It also makes for relaxed cruising. The little 4 cylinder direct injection turbo petrol unit is capable of 52.3 mpg whilst producing just 127g/km of CO2 - incidentally that’s better than the non-turbo 1.6 petrol and only 1 mpg and 5 g/km off the slower 1.6 diesel – and although the ride is a bit soft, and the same could be said of the steering, ultimately no-one buys one of these for its lap-record setting abilities. Wading streams, and a few little off-roading duties have always been more the Vitara’s forte and no doubt the four selectable driving modes ranging from Auto through Sport, on to Snow and then Lock will keep you going when the weather or terrain turn tough.

   It’s at this point I should point out that the BoosterJet engine is only available in the S spec Vitara and to bag one you will need to find the best part of £21K.

    Initially maybe that sounds pricey but when you factor in the range of kit that comes as standard: sat-nav, Bluetooth, reversing camera, IsoFix, DAB, 17” alloys, Hill-hold assist, LED lamps, 7 airbags, radar brake support, hill descent control and an NCAP five-star safety rating, most of which you have to pay extra for elsewhere, it could be said that actually the BoosterJetS is a bit of bargain. You even get a liberal smattering a red stitching to help give that interior a lift.

  Simply put, there’s no need to have those sums carefully anymore. When it comes to Suzuki’s Vitara, the BoosterJet S is the pick of the bunch.      



Suzuki Vitara 1.4 BOOSTERJET S


Engine: 1,373cc 4Cyl Petrol

Power:  138 BHP @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 162 lbft @ 1,500 – 4,000 rpm

Transmission:  6 speed manual, with ALLGrip four-wheel drive

Performance: 0-62mph 10.2 sec

Max Speed: 124 mph

MPG: 52.3 Combined.

CO2: 127g/km

Price: (as driven) £20,899.


Many Thanks to Jade and Alun at Suzuki UK’s press office for the loan of the Vitara


Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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