Turbo model joins NZ’s top sub-$40k small SUV

Turbo model joins NZ’s top sub-$40k small SUV

Suzuki dealers around New Zealand have just received another silver bullet in their SUV sales arsenal with the arrival of two new 1.4-litre Vitara Turbo models priced from $33,990.

The existing normally aspirated four-cylinder 1.6-litre Vitara models will remain in the local line-up as Suzuki New Zealand says year-to-date they have been the best-selling small SUV in the sub $40,000 category.

According to Suzuki New Zealand automobile marketing general manager Gary Colling the small SUV segment grew 28% in 2015 and showed no signs of letting up.

“The growth in demand for SUVs was a key driver for the increase in new motor vehicle sales in New Zealand last year,” says Collins.

“This sets the perfect stage for the arrival of an additional Vitara model with more power and a higher level of specification as standard,” he says.

Two versions of the Vitara Turbo, both with a six-speed automatic transmission, go on sale today, with prices starting from $33,990 plus on-road costs for the two-wheel drive model.

There is the choice of two-wheel-drive or the flagship AWD with Suzuki’s four-mode four-wheel-drive system. This system has Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock modes taking information from the accelerator and steering angle sensors to adjust for different terrain.

The Vitara Turbo has a top speed of 200 km/h.

Suzuki says this output is thanks to a newly designed 1.4-litre direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder, double overhead camshaft engine that provides seamless performance.

The forced-induction power plant has minimal turbo lag because of the use of a compact turbocharger attached directly to the cylinder head.

Engine output increases by 20% to 103 kW, while torque is up 41% to 220 Nm in comparison to the normally aspirated 1.6-litre engined Vitaras.

In the official combined fuel cycle test, the Vitara Turbo returns 5.9 l/100 km (47.9 miles per gallon).

The new Vitara Turbo has a unique grille, 17-inch gloss black alloy wheels, satin-finished door mirrors, red headlamp surrounds and red detailing to the interior trim.

Standard specification includes Satellite navigation-equipped infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, leather seats with suede inserts and red stitching, cruise control with speed limiter, Keyless entry and ignition, climate control air conditioning, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, steering wheel sound system controls, LED daytime running lights, automatic wipers and power windows and mirrors.

Additionally, the Vitara Turbo offers parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera, auto-levelling and dusk-sensing LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, seven airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist.

First Impressions

Auto Media Group had a brief overnight drive in a limited edition Vitara Turbo Sport two-wheel-drive variant recently from Suzuki dealer Winger Motors.

As a precursor to the official Vitara Turbo launch, Suzuki New Zealand imported a small number of Sport models (as pictured above) to test the waters, and it didn’t take long for most dealers to sell their allocation quickly.

We were impressed not only with the level of specification within the Vitara Turbo, but the quiet and sprightly performance of the new BoosterJet 1.4-litre engine is impressive.

Suzuki’s boast about minimal turbo lag and seamless performance from the engine is justified, and we especially liked the new six-speed automatic transmission, it is a much better fit that the CVT in the 1.6-litre models.

It was a very wet evening when we drove the front-wheel-drive Vitara Turbo, but there were no issues with traction or handling as one might normally expect from a powerful yet relatively light vehicle.

Overall, the Vitara Turbo feels lithe, surefooted, but most importantly, it does have a fun-to-drive character, something that cannot be said about some of the other brand offerings in this segment.

The Vitara remains Tardis-like, it has a small footprint on the road, yet inside it comfortably accommodates taller drivers. We found a 1.93m (six foot four inches) gentleman was able to sit comfortably at the wheel and had no problems piloting the vehicle during his daily commute.

Despite a fleeting encounter, the latest Vitara Turbo proved to us that Suzuki New Zealand has a more than credible offer in a very competitive marketplace, and it has price pointed this vehicle to give the opposition more than just a headache.

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