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Suzuki Vitara engines, driving and performance

How does the Suzuki Vitara drive?

Most small SUV drivers simply want an easy, fuss-free driving experience. The good news is the Vitara delivers this with light, intuitive controls and accurate steering. What's even better, however, is that the Vitara has clearly inherited the poise and agility of Suzuki's smaller cars, with level handling and athletic responses to direction changes.

Drive really hard and you'll find the chassis' limits, however, with understeer kicking in if you barrel into a corner too quickly. As a result, the Vitara is happiest when its either pootling about or driven fairly swiftly, but drivers after a sportier experience might be better off with a Ford Puma.

Is the Suzuki Vitara comfortable?

Comfort on board the Vitara is okay but it's not the car's strongest area. There's a little patter over rough road surfaces that you'll feel as small vibrations through the car's floor.

When you hit a bigger bump, the suspension ably absorbs the harshness of the impact, so you couldn't call the little Suzuki uncomfortable, but it doesn't have the graceful composure of a Skoda Kamiq.

The most popular 1.4-litre turbo engine remains fairly hushed at a cruise – only disturbing the peace if you stab the throttle. That said, road and wind noise is fairly present on the motorway so you might need to turn the stereo up to drown them out.

What’s the best Suzuki Vitara engine to get?

The most common engine option for the Vitara is the 1.4-litre turbo petrol badged 'Boosterjet'. It's also the best engine to choose with plenty of grunt to get the Vitara up to speed without complaint. You will notice a bit of a racket under hard acceleration but the reasonably healthy power figure means you don't need to deploy it often.

Older 1.6-litre non-turbo and 1.0-litre turbo units are also available, but we'd avoid these as they're not much cheaper than the 1.4-litre turbo on the used market but they're quite a bit slower.

Suzuki Vitara performance

The 1.4-litre turbo engine's 9.5-second 0-62mph time is about as fast as Vitaras get. It delivers more than enough power for most drivers and doesn't need to be worked hard to give reasonably snappy acceleration.

Older 1.6-litre and 1.0-litre turbo units are sluggish, however, taking more than 11 seconds to dash from 0-62mph or over 12 seconds if you're unfortunate enough to pair them with an automatic gearbox.

The newer 1.5-litre full-hybrid is also quite slow on paper, taking more than 13 seconds to hit 62mph from a standstill.

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