"Emmanuel D’Hotman, pilote d’avion de profession, triple champion de Maurice de drift et surtout passionné de voiture
et de mécanique a testé pour www.mycar.mu la nouvelle Suzuki Vitara."
The first things I noticed when I saw the New Vitara was that it is smaller and lower than the previous models, which made me a bit
skeptical about its off road abilities as later that day I would be testing it, both on road and off road. The new Suzuki Vitara
comes in 4 variants, namely the GL+, GLX (CVT) , GLX4x4 (CVT) and GLX+4x4 (6 speed Auto)and they all come with a 1.6L petrol engine.
The one I am testing is the top of the range GLX+4x4(6 speed auto).
I took place in the vehicle and immediately felt comfortable because of its nice ergonomics, the dash looks neat and sporty, there are
even paddle gear shifters on the back of the steering wheel which give it an even greater sporty feel while shifting through gears.
The panoramic sunroof is very cool and opens quickly and completely at the flick of a switch. The inside door panels are a bit ‘’plasticky’’
but it contributes to its very affordable price, so I’ll live with it. The boot is very spacious (375 Litres), the rear seats can be folded
down with a 60:40 split. Inside the boot is a big lid which when lifted up stays open while you are putting your stuff in that lower
compartment, it’s a very simple thing that make your life much easier.
The first test we decided to throw at our little Vitara would be to pull a little boat and its trailer out the water on a steep boat launch ramp.
I was very surprised how easy the Vitara pulled that boat out of the water considering the fact that the wheels of the trailer were lying in soft
sand. Another interesting feature on that vehicle that certainly helped me pulling the boat safely up the steep launch ramp, was the Hill hold
which prevents the car from rolling backward for 2 seconds when you move your foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal. That
system makes it very easy to pull off even on a very steep hill and I’m sure many women will like that feature ;D. There is also the Hill descent
which when travelling down a steep downward track and the engine braking is not sufficient to slow the vehicle, the hill descent control
automatically apply brakes and keep the vehicle at a low and controlled speed, that feature is very useful especially in off road conditions.
We then decided to head along the beautiful scenic route to the South-West coast of the island where we’ll have good and bad road surfaces and would
surely find an off road spot to test its abilities.
On the road, the little SUV is very comfortable and fun to drive; it has a very planted front end. Visibility front the driver’s seat is very good,
being a little SUV you are sitting a little bit higher than normal and that helps with the visibility all round, plus the new Vitara isn’t that big
so it is quite easy to park.
There are 4 driving modes namely, Auto mode, Sport mode, Snow/Mud mode and Lock mode
. Auto mode keeps the vehicle in 2WD, however when tyre slippage
is detected it automatically switches to 4WD, so it prioritizes fuel economy by switching to 4WD only when necessary. Sport mode uses the 4WD actively
to deliver very good cornering performance on twisty roads and it changes the accelerator and torque characteristics for better engine response. In
sport mode you really feel the Vitara coming alive higher in the rev range while pushing it through the gears. In that mode with the auto gearbox
the revs are kept higher for a quicker and firmer engine response. We arrived in Baie du Cap just in time to test the Snow/mud mode and the lock mode.
Those 2 modes are optimal for slippery surfaces like soft sand or mud. In accordance with accelerator pedal and steering inputs, that mode anticipates
slippage before it occurs and allocates torque to the rear wheels to ensure outstanding grip and traction. I was really stunned seeing how well the
Vitara was performing on that soft, sandy and uneven surface. At one point I really thought we would get stuck but with the Lock mode “ON” nothing
was going to stop that little SUV. In Lock mode high torque is constantly distributed to the rear wheel which generates maximum traction. If the
vehicle becomes stuck, ESP and other controls are optimized for traction and braking is applied to the slipping wheels to provide torque to the
I was now convinced about its abilities on sand and wanted to see how it would handle on a muddy road track, so we headed to the Black River gorges
and went on beautiful off road track through the forest and even crossed a little river and at no point the Vitara was in real difficulty, not even
on the steep muddy portions of the track. Though, one thing is to bear in mind; the new Vitara is lower that its previous models, so you must always
have that in mind while going off road on a dirt track to avoid hitting the bottom of the vehicle on rock.
Overall I really enjoyed testing the new Suzuki Vitara, it’s a versatile little SUV both on and off road and is the perfect little all-rounder, it can
easily pull a boat out of the water and you have less chance of getting stuck somewhere off road due to its 4x4 and clever Lock mode system, you have
plenty space in the boot and if you need to carry very large objects, you can just fold the rear seats forward and it’s very comfortable on the road
and fun to drive. With an attractive on road price tag of for that model, I think that it’s a very good value for money vehicle to buy and can honestly
say that the Suzuki Vitara GLX+4x4 is in a class of its own in Mauritius.