- Turbo engine
- Active safety features
- Comfortable seats
- No digital speedo
- Interior quality
- Road noise
Suzuki as as brand has been in Australia for decades and has become a household name for small, cheap and reliable vehicles. Suzuki has recently updated its popular Vitara SUV with more safety kit and updated looks. It rivals the Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Kona and Volkswagen T-Cross. We got behind the wheel of the 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo to see if it should be on your shortlist when choosing a small SUV.
Price & Specs: 7.5/10
The 2020 Suzuki Vitara starts out at $22,990 plus on-road costs for the base non-turbo model fitted with the standard five speed manual transmission. This comes as standard with a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a four-speaker audio system, cruise control, single-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, 17-inch alloy wheels, front foglights and rear privacy glass. A six-speed automatic gearbox is also available for an additional $2,000.
Stepping up to the mid-spec 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo we tested here gains the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, a standard six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters, leather accented seats with suede inserts, front and rear parking sensors, two extra speakers, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, a different set of 17-inch polished alloy wheels and automatic LED headlights with auto wipers. This all comes at a $7,500 premium to the base model at $30,490 plus on-road costs.
The range-topping 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo AllGrip comes in at $34,490 plus on-road costs and gains an all-wheel drive system, hill descent control, a panoramic glass sunroof and overhead sunglasses storage over the standard Turbo.
We think the best value in the range is the mid-spec 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo as it combines the performance of the turbocharged engine as well as all of the active safety features offered on the Vitara.
The smaller Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport does come in at a lower cost of $26,650 although the Mazda struggles to keep up with the Suzuki’s standard safety features as it misses out on adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and LED headlights.
The only options available on the 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo are metallic paint, which sets buyers back $695. The only standard colour is ‘Cool White’ whereas other single metallic colours include ‘Cosmic Black’ and ‘Silky Silver’. Other colours available come at a $1,295 premium as they are combined with a black roof. These options are ‘Savannah Grey’, ‘Atlantis Turquoise Pearl’, ‘Galactic Grey’, ‘Bright Red’ and ‘Solar Yellow’.
Performance & Economy: 8.0/10
The sole engine available with the 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo is a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque, which is great for the Vitara’s modest size and low 1,160kg kerb weight. Because of this peppiness, the Vitara has character in the small SUV segment.
The engine and transmission combination in the 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo is fantastic – the turbocharged engine is peppy, it offers good bursts of acceleration when needed and the gearbox ratios compliment the power ban. The paddle shifters behind the steering wheel are responsive if you want to row your own gears, although the lack of a manual gearbox on the turbo model is disappointing.
The claimed average fuel consumption on the 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo is 5.9L/100km, which is great in the small SUV segment. We managed to achieve 7.5L/100km in mostly urban driving.
Ride & Handling: 8.0/10
The 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo rides well on its standard 17-inch alloy wheels. You don’t feel too many bumps in the cabin and the suspension feels sporty and well-tuned with a good mix of sporty and comfort.
The steering has a light feel to it, which makes manoeuvring in small and tight situations a breeze, though it doesn’t seem to centre as fast as most other cars, which is something to get used to. The 10.4-metre turning circle is decent when compared to rivals. The road noise in the Vitara is higher than usual which could be annoying on longer journeys.
Typically Suzuki products have a well balanced chassis and the 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo is no exception. When shown corners the Vitara feels light and nimble whilst still feeling solid on the road. It really loves corners, and while a Toyota C-HR offers a greater balance between sport and comfort, it’s still a fun thing to drive.
Interior & Practicality: 7.0/10
While this generation of Vitara has been on sale in Australia since 2015, Suzuki has done enough to make the interior feel modern enough. The dashboard layout is very ergonomic though somewhat conservative – a Mazda CX-3 is more modern inside.
The centre 7.0-inch infotainment screen in the 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo is much like the unit in every other offering from the brand and is easy to use and colourful, although the volume slider to the left of the screen can be a little annoying to deal with on the road and it’s a bit basic in its menu layout. It’s well featured with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as inbuilt satellite navigation though not digital radio and there’s only one USB port in the entire car.
The 4.2-inch colour driver’s display offers quite a lot of information, including the usual trip computer info, a G monitor and even your fuel economy history. But somehow, it doesn’t offer a digital speedo, which is crazy in speed-obsessed Australia. A heads-up display? Forget it.
The quality of the interior is generally good with a built-to-last feel (and being a Suzuki, it’ll outlast civilisation itself) although the plastics used are mostly hard and quite scratchy. The use of suede trim on the doors does lift the ambience, as does the soft touch dash, though the cabin does still feel somewhat basic and dated.
The rear leg room is more than you would get in a Mazda CX-3 but it misses out on rear air vents, charging ports and a second map pocket. The boot of the 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo measures 375-litres with the rear seats in place and 1,120-litres with them folded down, which is more than 100L bigger than the CX-3 with the seats erected.
Running Costs & Warranty: 8.0/10
As with all new Suzuki products, the Vitara Turbo comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. This is also in conjunction with Suzuki’s five-year complimentary road side assist program, which comes as standard with the Vitara and Jimny, though not any other car the brand sells locally.
Servicing the 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo occurs every 12-months or 10,000km and while this is the same as the Mazda CX-3, other brands offer 12-month 15,000km intervals. The cost of servicing the Vitara Turbo over three-years is $807, which is slightly more expensive than the Hyundai Kona 2.0 which comes in at $792 over the same period (though the Kona has longer 15k intervals). That is significantly cheaper than servicing a Mazda CX-3 though, which over the same period, sets owners back $1,218.
2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo DiscoverAuto Rating: 7.7/10
The 2020 Suzuki Vitara Turbo adds turbo punch and a bit of spunk to an already packed segment of gutless grocery getters. It offers a good amount of equipment and a fun driving experience for an attractive price. It is also cheap to run as servicing won’t cost an arm and a leg and neither will fuel.
It’s not the most sophisticated car however, and the interior quality leaves a lot to be desired. But these aren’t enough to detract from the Vitara overall, and it’s definitely a car that needs considering when buying a small SUV.