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by Tim Beissmann

The updated Suzuki Grand Vitara has been unveiled in Japan, revealing the refreshed styling of the mid-sized SUV ahead of its Australian launch next month.

The revisions to Australia’s version of the Suzuki Grand Vitara will be mostly cosmetic, largely following the lead of the Japan-spec model, the Suzuki Escudo, pictured here. Upgraded versions of both the three- and five-door Grand Vitara models will hit local showrooms by the end of August.

The updated model scores a new front grille with twin bold horizontal bars, a muscular front bumper with silver protective panel, dark headlamps lenses and new alloy wheel designs.

The spare wheel of the Japanese domestic model has been moved off the rear door to enhance the SUV’s urban appeal, but new Grand Vitara models delivered to Australia will retain the practical rear-mounted spare to preserve the car’s off-road-ready look.

Minor tweaks to the colour of trim and seat materials freshen the look of the cabin, which otherwise carries over as before.

The existing engines and transmissions are set to continue into the updated model. Australia’s Suzuki Grand Vitara is available with a 122kW/225Nm 2.4-litre petrol engine and a 95kW/300Nm 1.9-litre diesel, and with the choice of a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearbox.

Full pricing and specification details of the upgraded Suzuki Grand Vitara will be revealed in the coming weeks. The current range is priced from $24,990 to $37,990 before-on-road costs.

Sales of the Grand Vitara have been stable in 2012, with the 1682 units delivered year-to-date exactly matching the model’s 2011 result. The medium SUV segment as a whole has grown 23.2 per cent this year, however, which has seen the Suzuki’s share of the market fall from 4.3 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

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