Neatly replacing the defunct Vitara RT-X at the top of the range, the Suzuki Vitara S Turbo gets a new 103kW/220Nm 1.4-litre direct-injected turbo engine with 17kW/64Nm more than the non-turbo 1.6 still powering the base Vitara RT-S. Fuel economy is actually marginally lower at 5.9L/100km for the FWD, though it uses pricier 95 RON fuel.
The powertrain is matched as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, and either front-wheel drive ($28,990 plus on-road costs) or on-demand 4WD with Suzuki’s AllGrip off-road modes ($32,990). This puts it on par with the mid-range Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V.
The Turbo S’ price puts it $5000 above the base FWD RT-S auto with the non-turbo engine. The Turbo adds features such as black alloy wheels, a new grille, leather/suede seats, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and auto on/off LED headlights.
This is on top of standard equipment on both the S Turbo and RT-S comprising a touchscreen with reverse-view camera, integrated sat-nav and Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto), climate control, Bluetooth/USB, cruise control with speed limiter and electric-folding mirrors. You also get seven airbags, Isofix and a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
As wth the rest of the Vitara range, the Turbo gets interchangeable coloured plastic bits in the in the cabin, seven bright colour options including a special hero red, and a two-tone black roof for an extra $995. Suzuki says 60 per cent of its incoming stock has the two-tone paint, so expect strong demand.
The rest of the Vitara’s package is familiar. At 4175mm long, it’s 100mm shorter than a Mazda CX-3. It weights a feather-like 1160kg (FWD) and 1235kg (AWD), and has a cargo capacity with the back seats in place of 375L — bisecting the CX-3 and HR-V.
As with the Vitara RT-S, the Vitara S Turbo is manufactured in Hungary.
Suzuki Australia general manager of its automobile division Andrew Moore was bullish when talking about how the company thinks the Vitara S Turbo will fare.
“With many customers in small hatches considering compact SUVs, we offer what our competitors can’t – better performance and value combined with light car fuel economy,” he said.
“Unlike other compact SUVs, which have limited cargo space and ground clearance such as the Mazda CX3, the Suzuki Vitara has all the space, power and fuel economy needed to meet the lifestyle needs of our customers, plus true 4x4 ability (with ALLGRIP models).”
Since its launch about six-months ago, the Suzuki Vitara has become the company’s second-best seller locally behind the Swift. Its market share in the booming small SUV segment is 4.3 per cent, with 1079 sales this to the end of March.
This is about a quarter that of the top-selling Mazda CX-3 and Mitsubishi ASX, one-third that of the Nissan Qashqai and Honda HR-V, about half the volume of the Subaru XV. Suzuki Australia says it has suffered from stock restrictions.
“The challenge now for Suzuki is to build awareness of Vitara, to ensure that we’re on the shopping list for those considering a compact SUV,” Moore said.
“I strongly believe that if more Mazda CX3 or Honda HR-V customers had experienced the Vitara, there would have been many different purchase outcomes.”
Read our first review of the 2016 Suzuki Vitara S Turbo here.
2016 Suzuki Vitara pricing:
RT-S 1.6 manual — $21,990 ($22,990 drive-away)
RT-S 1.6 auto — $23,990
S Turbo 1.4 auto — $28,990 ($29,990 drive-away)
S Turbo 1.4 auto 4WD — $32,990
2016 Suzuki Vitara Turbo S specifications:
Boosterjet Direct-Injection Turbo Engine
Multimedia satellite-navigation system
Leather seats with suede inserts & red stitching
Cruise control with speed limiter
Keyless entry and start system
iPod USB connectivity
Steering wheel audio controls
LED daytime running lights
Power windows and mirrors
17-inch black alloy wheels
Front and rear parking sensors
New chrome grille
Auto levelling headlights
Auto on/off headlights
Silver electric folding door mirrors
Overhead console (sunglasses holder)
Suede door insert