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Truly Grand performer; Adding an oil burner to Suzuki's Vitara range gives this SUV more pace and plenty of pulling power, writes BILL CAVEN.


SOMETIMES perfection takes that little bit longer to achieve. Take the latest generation Suzuki Grand Vitara which arrived on the SUV scene last year.

It pushed all the right buttons in many ways - looks, cabin space, ride, handling and value for money. But there was one piece missing from this perfect jigsaw - the option of a diesel engine.

Until now, that is. But the Japanese auto maker decided to source a suitable diesel engine rather than go to the enormous expense of developing their own.

Suzuki have opted for the tried-and-tested Renault-inspired 1.9-litre diesel engine which produces 127bhp.

The partnership appears to have come up trumps as it provides the Grand Vitara with a highly-flexible and powerful performer.

Not only does it give the SUV additional pace, but also plenty of pulling power when revved up.

The decision to keep faith with the five-speed manual gearbox rather than switch to a six-speeder also ensures this sleek Suzuki has plenty of low-end agility.

The diesel unit ensures a top speed of 106mph while the 0-62mph sprint is achieved in a fraction over 13 seconds.

More noticeably in these days of trying to keep down transport costs, the Suzuki will travel more than 36 miles on a gallon.

When it was launched, the new Grand Vitara was praised for its precision-handling and amazing grip on most surfaces.

The Japanese brand has always been a major player in this particular segment and look set to blossom further in the months ahead. They were, in fact, among the first to recognise the potential within this rapidly-expanding area of the market place.

While competition has increased in recent times, Suzuki have always held their own, thanks to the universal appeal of the Grand Vitara.

Although Toyota have dropped their three-door version of the RAV4, Suzuki firmly believe there is a need for one - as well as a five-door version.

The smaller one looks decidedly sporty and is aimed at the young, trendy fashion-conscious brigade.

The five-door is more in tune with families and couples with an active lifestyle who need plenty of space to lug sports or leisure equipment around.

Like most manufacturers, Suzuki have put a premium on diesel over their petrol equivalent.

The diesel will cost you a pound shy of pounds 17,000, but is definitely the pick of the bunch.

Roadtest: Suzuki Grand Vitara

Factfile Model: Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.9 DDiS Engine:1.9-litre diesel Power: 127bhp Top speed: 106mph 0-62 mph: 13.2 seconds Fuel economy: 36.7mpg combined Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles Price: pounds 16,999 On sale: Now
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 12, 2006
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