A new Suzuki Grand Vitara is definitely on the way inside the next few years, but don’t expect the next-generation model to retain the current car’s comparatively hardcore off-road abilities.
Instead, you can expect the next iteration to follow the smaller ‘regular' Suzuki Vitara’s lead and adopt a more road-focussed demeanour and construction, to better compete with rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson in the hugely popular medium SUV market.
“As you just mentioned, I cannot really make comments too much about that [Grand Vitara], but we have a plan,” Suzuki’s general manager for the Latin America and Oceania Division, Takanori Suzuki, assured us this week.
Pictured: Current Suzuki Grand Vitara
“Yes, yes,” he confirmed, when we asked if a new GV would be produced. “We’ve been, and we will be, concentrating on mainly developing the SUVs or crossovers, as a main model line-up of Suzuki in future.
When we asked Takanori if the next Grand Vitara would remain a real off-roader, he did not comment, but said most mainstream demand was for softer crossovers. We’d imagine a stretched Vitara with more space and power seems like the obvious destination for the next GV.
“New Grand Vitara, sorry, we haven't really decided yet whether it has reduction gear, is a real off-roader, or is like a current Vitara-style crossover," he said.
But he also quickly mentioned that the next-generation Jimny would carry the torch as a hardcore 4x4 — read our separate story on that here — so reading between then lines here is not a problem, if we can be so bold.
A replacement for the Grand Vitara is well overdue, given the current model launched in 2005, though much speculation has said the car would be killed off. Thankfully, it’s now understood this is not the plan.
Pictured: New Suzuki Vitara, which likely previews a larger new Grand Vitara
It’s already been axed in Europe in current generation form, though it remains a key car for the brand elsewhere and still sells in useful numbers for Suzuki Australia. The C-segment SUV market is a boom one globally, after all.
Despite offering a real unique selling point thanks to its dual-range gearing and proper off-road ability in a market dominated by car-based crossovers that are more refined in urban areas, Suzuki seems to realise that the majority of market demand is for the latter. The smash success of the new Vitara is evidence for that.
As such, expect the next Grand Vitara to use a version of the company’s new global architecture, pointing to some commonality with the smaller Vitara, giving it a lighter weight, better refinement and superior tarmac handling.
Pictured: New Suzuki Ignis, launched this week in Australia
It’ll also use petrol and (likely) diesel engines from Suzuki’s family of turbo powertrains, and probably an on-demand switchable 4x4 system that allocates torque between the axles but lacks conventional reduction gearing, and potentially the Vitara diesel’s dual-clutch automatic transmission.
You can also expect a cool retro design in line with the new Vitara and Ignis, lots of customisation options (coloured plastic inserts etc) and lots of handy cabin storage. These are becoming brand trademarks.