A Very Thorough Review of the Vitara
Had to replace the relay for faulty electric locks, motor for power mirrors.
Power window on the driver's side makes a screaching noise, which I hope to remedy with some grease.
Recently making a "himp" sound, when accelerating from slow speeds, I assume it's a belt slipping and needs tighting, and not a transmission problem.
Suzuki's are amazingly reliable, credit their long history of making motorbikes and apparently cars too. I had no clue they had been making cars as long as they had, 'till I checked their website.
I bought mine in mint condition, no rust, immaculate interior, had very low km's on it considering its age, the engine compression was good. My family had a Suzuki LJ413, which ran and ran. I'm glad I didn't go with the Kia Sportage due to the probs I've heard about them and Korean cars.
I am a tall driver, who found some problems not getting enough tilt in cars I had been interested in, I'm just over 6'1. This car offers amazing space even when the seats up front and tilt is not maximised. The driver however, sits closer to the door than other cars, so this could pose an annoyance to those with a broader build unlike myself. The seats in the back are best for children or small commutes, the boot space is very very modest.
The small size however, coupled with power steering, makes for a parking dream. I wanted a small car, but didn't like the vulnerable feeling I felt in small sedans, even newer ones. The Vitara feels big inside, and the ladder chassis and mounting of a big bumper can add much needed assurance.
The car is a good looking one. SUVs aren't punished for age quite like saloons are, and remarkably the Vitara's interior (I think mine is actually the oldest interior, which looks ironically better than the one to follow) is much better than competitor cars for similar and even later years (Mitsubishi Pajero, Toyota Landcruiser, Nissan Patrol, Rover, etc). So its interior is somewhat immune from all, but the latest of car interiors agewise... something that was a concern for me, as I wanted to customise a 2 door SUV. (will post link up when the car is finished in a future comment).
The car is NOT as tippy as the LJ and Sierra, Suzuki made a wider wheelbase on the Vitara. That said, there is pronounced body lean and turns should be taken with care, especially when there are wet roads. I plan to lower my car substantially, which will yield better handling and less lean through a lower center of gravity, albeit a poorer ride (any advice on parts to maintain the best ride possible, despite lowering the car substantially?).
Fuel economy as a figure, and as others seem to rate it, is just decent. However, I find it to be disappointing. I feel fuel economy should be relative to the performance and motor of the car. For instance I had a Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 5.2, which was slightly thirstier than the Vitara, but the motor, weight of car and performance was a lot more. The vitara returns poor mileage considering its light weight and small motor. If one wants power and size however, then clearly they wouldn't be looking at the Vitara, so this comment shouldn't dissuade readers though.
Performance... it's not amazing. The car has good pickup for a small motor being mated to a auto, as most tend to be gutless wonders. However, it struggles in the top end, and although it has plenty of passing power, unlike 4 door models, it doesn't have that quick reassuring take off speed I'd like to get through the modifications I plan to make.
- Adding a big bore kit to expand it out to 1.75cc short motor
- Ceramic header
- Larger exhaust system
- Thicker sports valves
- Air intake
I rated the car hard as it's best to underrate than overrate, some may find the car to be better performing and more comfortable.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th July, 2005