Sturdy, reasonably reliable workhorse
Starter motor failure while on holiday, requiring towage, repair and return home in a rental vehicle.
The auto-electrician was disparaging about the engine (a Renault), and recommended getting rid of the vehicle before it had done another 50,000 km.
Otherwise no problems.
I bought this on an impulse - I live rurally and thought a 4WD would be a good idea. Cost me $24k second hand from a dealer - two years old.
Not a terribly refined vehicle in diesel form, but an honest worker. Does the basics well.
Good economy - overall 35 mpg, 40 mpg on a long run. Economy gauge was in km/l, not l/100km as is the norm.
Moderately noisy engine, quite peppy - 300 Nm from a 1.9 turbo diesel, which is more than some of the old 3 litre Prado diesels.
Handling was reasonably good, but being a high ride (which I enjoyed), there was always a reluctance to take corners too quickly.
I would have loved cruise control for long journeys, but this is not available in the diesel Vitaras.
I took it off-road out on a farm with some steep hills, and it coped well with five people aboard.
A good looking vehicle in my opinion. After the starter motor failure, I sold it privately for $18k and bought a 1995 Lexus LS400, which because of its low purchase price (less than $8k) will be cheaper to own than the Vitara (which needs road user charges and more expensive maintenance).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 27th August, 2011