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Well-Equipped New Grand Vitara Wider Market Appeal


Well-Equipped New Grand Vitara
Will Have Wider Market APPEAL

An all-new Suzuki Grand Vitara with fresh chunky styling, a focus on technical detail and added refinement, has arrived in New Zealand.

The third generation range builds on the qualities of the two previous models while adding new dimensions to the popular medium size all terrain sport utility market.

It is Suzuki's second "world production model" – the new Swift hatchback was the first – with all the promise of appealing to an even wider audience.

As before, there are three- and five-door body styles, but the latest Grand Vitara is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, with increased wheelbases and roomier interiors.

With a growing number of buyers seeking "cross-over" designs, Suzuki sought to improve the new model's on-road abilities while making the vehicle dynamically superior off-road.

Despite the new found refinement, the new Grand Vitara is still one of the few compact four-wheel-drive models that can claim a true 4WD system providing top off-road capabilities.

A new permanent 4WD system builds on Suzuki's long time off-road heritage, offering great versatility and prowess in rough and slippery conditions.

The Grand Vitara has retained its class-leading off road capabilities and serious 4WD arrangement that gives the vehicle an advantage over rival "soft roaders".

In all but the entry-level three-door version, the Suzuki retains the high/low gear ratio choices of the old Grand Vitara while adding the benefits of a more convenient full-time four-wheel-drive system.

Not only that, while the latest model is a completely new and unique construction, its body is stronger than opposition SUV’s because of the integration of a chassis.

Remarkably, despite the increase in technology, size and specification, the third generation models are identically priced to their predecessors.

Overall body width increases from 1780mm to 1810mm, while the height reduces from 1740mm to 1695mm.

But the new built-in ladder frame constructions means there is no loss of headroom, and the latest design equates to lower floor height and a lower centre of gravity, while retaining the generous ground clearance of 200mm.

The new three-door is 4005mm long compared to its predecessor's 3905mm, while the five-door increases in length from 4215mm to 4470mm.

There are useful increases in wheelbase – up from 2200mm to 2440mm for the three-door, and from 2480mm to 2640mm for the five-door.

Front and rear wheel tracks have also risen to 1540mm (front) and 1560mm (rear) on both versions.

A shorter front overhang on both body styles effectively pushes the wheels closer to the corners, improving interior packaging. More of the vehicle's overall length is devoted to the cabin, delivering greater luggage space and legroom.

For off-road and rough terrain operation, both body configurations have an approach angle clearance of 29 degrees, a departure angle of 36 degrees for the three-door and 27 degrees for the five-door and a ramp-over angle of 20 degrees on the three-door and 19 degrees for the five-door.

Smart, elegant lines distinguish the new model, with flared guards and 16-inch diameter wheels shod with 225/70 series tyres (17” 225/65 on high spec V6). All five-door models come with Alloy spoke wheels as standard fitment.

The neat front end borrows some styling cues from the latest Suzuki Swift but overall the JB series Grand Vitara has its own distinctive look.

Body side sills are hidden behind extended lower door edges, easing cabin access while creating a flush finish.

The clamshell-style bonnet with shark gill side slits, pronounced mesh grille and solid "B" pillars contribute to the vehicle's strong appearance.

Located under the front bumper is a small aerodynamic bib spoiler. Colour-key pull-out door handles are standard, and front and rear screens are flush fitting.

An aerodynamic roofline leads to a discreet tailgate spoiler and the spare wheel is retained on the rear door. Not only is this easily accessible, but it frees up load space in the rear compartment.

Large headlamps are a multi-reflector design with Halogen projectors on five-door models while a multi-reflector design is used for the three-door.

The longer five-door also has larger rear combination lamps that integrate into the thicker "C" pillar design. A clear look tail lamp on the three-door runs seamlessly into the "C" pillar.

Opening to a full 90 degrees, the gas strut for the side-hinged tailgate has a two-position stop. The first stop at about 65 degrees ensures that the tailgate – with its protruding spare wheel – does not accidentally swing into the path of passing traffic.

At the same time, when the tailgate is in the intermediate position, the right hand tail-light is un-obscured while illuminated at night – a useful safety feature.

A comfortable and well-equipped interior with smooth surfaces and rounded edges matches the exterior in spirit as well as design.

Large circular backlit instruments, with silver rims, are easy to read and the soft three spoke steering wheel features integrated audio controls. The Limited V6 adds steering wheel controls for the cruise control function.

A digital display located at the top edge of the dashboard provides outside air temperature, clock and real-time fuel consumption readout.

Grand Vitara's are equipped with high quality Clarion four-speaker single CD stereo systems, although the V6 Limiteds’ uprated system is a six CD unit with six speakers (including tweeters) plus a sub woofer mounted under the front passenger's seat.

Three-door versions feature a contrasting dark blue strip through the centre of the cloth seats and in accents in the doors. Five-door models are finished in all black cloth, while the V6 Limited has leather upholstery that continues onto the steering wheel and into door panel, accents with wood grain trim topping the centre console and door armrests.

Class-leading roominess has been partly achieved by the forward positioning of the front wheels. Generous legroom front and rear, reclining split rear seating, hooks for shopping bags or take-aways and convenient access to the luggage area are all Grand Vitara virtues.

Double folding rear seats flip forward with an easy action to provide a completely flat load area floor.

Wide door pockets can accommodate bottles while cup holders are provided front and rear.

Climate air conditioning is standard across the range, and the ventilation and heating system is easy to control.

Standard creature comforts include electric windows and door mirrors, sun visor-mounted vanity mirror, driver and passenger map lights, three accessory sockets, a luggage area light and passenger compartment illumination.

The new Suzuki comes as standard with tilt adjustable steering, engine immobiliser, tachometer, lights off reminder, delay action cut-off for interior lighting, height adjustable driver's seat (excluding three-door), load area cover, front and rear mud flaps, spare wheel cover, ABS braking and dual front air bags.

Five versions of the new range are introduced to New Zealand, with the 1.6 three-door manual retailing at $25,500.

In 2.0-litre five-door form, the new Grand Vitara is $33,000 ($34,500 with automatic transmission), while the five-door 2.7 V6 automatic is $37,500.

In addition to the high specification level of the other models, the range-topping 2.7 V6 Limited automatic ($41,000) adds a "smart" key system, leather upholstery, cruise control, 17” Alloys, fog lamps, side and curtain airbags and six CD audio player with extra speakers.

With the smart key inside the vehicle or retained by the driver, simply turning the ignition lock can operate the vehicle.


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