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The reborn Suzuki Vitara has been caught on local shores ahead of its official launch in August this year.

Snapped in Melbourne, the 2015 Vitara you see here in hero blue is likely an early evaluation vehicle, and as such has arrived from a few months before proper local deliveries from Suzuki’s plant in Hungary commence.

The funky little crossover, which Suzuki considers its style leader by way of elements such as two-tone paint and configurable cabin inserts, heralds the return of one of the segment’s best-known nameplates.

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It will also be the third member of the company’s small SUV range alongside the softer and more conservative S-Cross, and the utilitarian and old-school Jimny.

As such, it’s a vital cog in Suzuki Australia’s growth plans. In time, the company wants this three-strong range to be the top dog in private small SUV sales — just as its Celerio and Swift combined are favourites among private buyers in the Micro and Small car classes.

As such, the Vitara will be tasked with taking it up to rivals such as the Holden Trax, Subaru XV and Skoda Yeti. It will be priced sharply, perhaps at a small premium to its S-Cross twin-under-the-skin, which kicks off at $22,990 plus on-road costs and tops around at around $35K.

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Just like the S-Cross, the Vitara is made in Hungary, at Suzuki’s Magyar plant. Suzuki Australia will no doubt be hoping currency flows don’t get any more disadvantageous that they already are.

Where it will stand out is in its edgier styling, the option of various lurid and two-tone colour schemes — bright orange or blue with a black roof, for instance — and dealer-fit coloured inserts in the cabin that come in a multitude of hues.

We also understand that every variant will come standard with niceties such as alloy wheels and a touchscreen, expected to come fitted with Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink — potentially straight from launch.

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At 4175mm long, 1775mm wide, 1610mm high, sitting on a 2500mm wheelbase and with ground clearance of 185mm, the Vitara is smaller than the Trax. It’s practical, with 375L of cargo space (19L more than the Holden), though it has a space-saver spare.

Australia will get both price-leading front-wheel-drive versions, as well as all-wheel-drive offerings with four-mode AWD systems. But this is no Jimny or Grand Vitara in the off-road stakes, it’s a car-based monocoque model without a dedicated low-range gear shifter.

Expect our versions to feature the modest 88kW/156Nm 1.6-litre engine from the S-Cross, though matched this time a six-speed automatic gearbox rather than a CVT (there’ll be a five-speed manual to). That’s not much power, but it’s a featherweight at a tick under 1100kg.

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Expect fuel use to about match the S-Cross’s economy figure of around 6.0L/100km on the combined cycle.

European versions will also get a 88kW/320Nm turbo-diesel which is being evaluated for Australia. A turbo-petrol is also being eagerly explored by the company.

What do you think of this so-called Suzuki style-leader?




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