This car is by no means a performance SUV. The 1.6-litre is just adequate for city driving, although it will not complain if you push it. If you need any more performance, you maybe need to be looking at the 1.4-litre turbo. The price for what you get is hands down the best value small SUV on the market. The closest in price was the Mitsubishi ASX but that vehicle was thirsty, ancient, heavy and that horrible CVT auto was subpar in my opinion.
One thing that where the Vitara excels (and a lot of people complain about in modern cars) is visibility. It has excellent visibility all around with big windows! It is so easy to park and drive around the city!
The Suzuki has a good conventional auto, which it is an excellent little unit, being very responsive from the get-go, and having smooth gear changes. It is a breath of fresh air when comparing it to most other Japanese manufacturers who offer CVT as standard.
It has inclusions that feel ''premium" and are things that most other brands will not give you in their entry level variants; such as DLR LED lights, GPS, reverse camera, paddle shifters (for the auto), nice-looking alloy wheels, darker privacy rear windows and even LED welcome illumination on the front driver's and passenger's foot wells (Mazda charges over $200 just for the welcome illumination!).
The infotainment is excellent, the touchscreen is very responsive and it comes with standard Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, which shines when compared to the horrible Mazda MZD Infotainment system which is laggy, outdated and the touchscreen cannot be used once the car is moving! Oh and they will charge you $500 for Android Auto/Apple CarPlay (shame on you Mazda).
The speakers are only average but for the audiophiles there is an premium speaker upgrade option. I have not tried the upgrade, so I cannot tell if it actually improves the audio quality.
The interior is very basic but very well thought out, with ample space for what it is and excellent rear leg and headroom for its class - better than a Mazda CX-3 or a Hyundai Kona (and those cars are more expensive).
Boot space is also one of the largest of its class (375 litres vs the Kona's 361 litres) which is a plus for a small family. There is also an added dual floor for extra storage underneath!
The Vitara has accessories galore and even though a lot are very expensive at least you get the option to customise your vehicle if you wish to do so. How far you go will depend on your budget.
The warranty is 5 years, which is a plus but there is a catch - you need to have all the services done by a Suzuki dealer, otherwise it reverts to a standard 3-year which I found a little bit unfair. I think this may be a money-grabbing exercise by Suzuki.
Service intervals are very short; 10,000kms or 6 months. For those who do not do many kilometres like myself it means I will have to visit the dealership more often, and services are not cheap - averaging $250 per service, which is over $500 per year. I am a big believer in good maintenance so I personally find these intervals to be a plus for me, in a way. I think the one year or 15,000kms intervals that others offer is pushing it for modern engines, especially for stop/go city driving, which can cause extreme wear on the engine.
All in all, this vehicle should be selling way more than it currently does, however I believe a lot of people do not make informed decisions and get caught up in the hype buying what is ''trendy'' without thinking of practicality. Also a lot of ''expert" reviews I see online are very unfair on the Vitara as a lot of scores are very low. I used to own a Mazda CX-5 and I can honestly say the Vitara is a better product, with fewer gimmicks, no i-stop or other electric gimmicks you don't need, and is way more practical and easy to drive around the city (even though the CX-5 is in a different category).