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Sleek new update for the Vitara; MOTORS.

Byline: By DAVID WHINYATES

IT STARTED with Vitara back in 1988 and then Suzuki's mainstream four by four grew up to become the Grand Vitara in 1997. Now, a further eight years down the line, the Japanese company's off-roader has put on another growth spurt.

The all-new Vitara is longer, wider and is claimed to have a more spacious interior.

Sleek new styling brings both three and five door versions bang up to date and, in a further move with the times, Suzuki has ditched the traditional off roader building method of bolting the bodywork onto a sturdy frame in favour of unitary, or monocoque, construction techniques.

That should give improved on-road refinement, but the company says that this doesn't indicate a watering-down of the range's off-road heritage.

For while there is no longer a separate ladder chassis, the new monocoque construction incorporates what Suzuki describes as a built-in ladder frame.

This is a series of strengthening elements incorporated into the body which provide additional rigidity and ensure exceptional off road ability, says the company.

Entering showrooms on September 15, the range will initially be made up of a 1.6-litre VVT three-door model and a two-litre five-door. They will be joined later this year by the 1.9 DDiS five-door diesel.

The three-door model has been designed as a soft-roader and features permanent four-wheel drive but no centre differential lock. Five-door models, on the other hand, offer the diff lock and low range gear ratios that signal full-on off road capability.

All versions come with standard climate control air conditioning, electric windows, an integrated radio/CD player, steering wheel-audio controls, tinted glass, remote central locking, reclining rear seats, folding exterior door mirrors, driver and front passenger front and side airbags, front and rear curtain airbags and an immobiliser.

Prices are up by between pounds 700 and pounds 1,000 compared with the outgoing models starting at pounds 12,699 for the three door 1.6, rising to pounds 15,449 for the five door two-litre manual. Diesel prices will be announced later.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 9, 2005
Words:343
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