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by Tim Beissmann

The Suzuki Grand Vitara Sport is now on sale in Australia, offering new levels of value for money in the compact SUV range.

Priced from $31,990 driveaway, the Suzuki Grand Vitara Sport scores a new front grille, silver-coloured roof rails and side fins, 18-inch alloy wheels and Bombora Aqua seat fabric.

Standard Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control also add to the Grand Vitara Sport’s off-road capabilities.

The Sport’s performance is identical to the other Grand Vitara models equipped with the 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, offering 122kW of power and 225Nm of torque. The five-speed manual model uses fuel at a rate of 8.9 litres/100km on the combined cycle, while the four-speed automatic is thirstier at 9.9 litres/100km.

Suzuki Australia general manager Tony Devers said the introduction of the Grand Vitara Sport marked the return to full production of the Grand Vitara range, which has been hampered by supply restraints in Australia since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster in March.

“We remain on track for another record year and the Grand Vitara range – now boosted with the arrival of the outstanding Sport – is a vital part of our line-up,” Mr Devers said.

The Grand Vitara is the third-highest-selling vehicle in Suzuki Australia’s line-up this year, trailing the popular Swift (9199 sales) and the budget Alto (3399). With 2229 sales in the first nine months of 2011, the Grand Vitara is 23.8 per cent down on the same period in 2010. Its share of the compact SUV segment has fallen from 3.4 per cent to 2.5 per cent, ranking it 15th overall in the class from a sales perspective.

Suzuki Australia hopes new pricing across the Grand Vitara range, which sees most models drop $1000 in price, will help turn around its slipping sales. The GV3 three-door manual now starts at $24,990 while the five-door manual is also cheaper at $28,990 (before on-road costs). Prices have increased marginally at the other end, with the range-topping Prestige V6 auto now priced from $41,490 before on-roads.

Read CarAdvice’s review of the Suzuki Grand Vitara.




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