Additional to the existing five variations of the versatile Vitara are Safari-badged versions that major on personalising the car’s already well balanced styling.
Reflecting the Vitara’s slant for outdoor leisure and lifestyle activities, the Safari package adds an extra level of distinction with a prominent smoked coloured bonnet protector, black front bezels around the lower front bumper, black lower side body mouldings, handy roof racks and Safari side graphics.
In keeping with the practical aspects of the 5-door Suzuki, a useful rear cargo tray is also included in the upgrade.
The package is extremely good value, adding just $700 to the recommended retail price of all Vitara models. At JLX specification level, with the 1.6 litre VVT engine and manual gearbox, the Vitara Safari is $28,690, rising to $30,690 with the optional six-stage automatic transmission.
Add the all-wheel-drive ALLGRIP function and the JLX Safari automatic is $34,690, plus on road costs, while the more powerful 1.4 litre BoosterJet turbocharged automatic Safari in two-wheel-drive also lists at $34,690. The range topping turbo-engined automatic ALLGRIP Vitara Safari is $38,690.
A contrasting black painted roof line on the Turbo models is an $800 option available on all bar the models finished in Cool White Pearl.
Suzuki New Zealand expects about 60 per cent of Vitara sales during the next few months will be Safari versions, but supply will be limited to the number of kits available.
Gary Collins, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand, said that with the modern styling, fuel efficiency, spec levels and the option of all-wheel-drive, Vitara clearly sells to a younger audience than most SUVs. “Our customers buy Vitaras because they want to make the most out of life and the addition of the Safari accessory packs allows them to do just that,” he said.
Introduced in the late 1980s, the first generation Vitara was a trend setter, heralding a new breed of small, affordable Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs). The current model was four years in development and is built in Suzuki’s high technology Esztergom plant in Hungary. Founded in 1991, and now Suzuki’s third largest production facility, the Hungarian plant was converted to large-scale automation and robotisation in 2016 and has 770 robots working across the build and assembly process.
With more than 3.7 million sold in 191 countries over three decades, and underpinned by Suzuki’s unimpeachable reputation for reliability, the Vitara is regarded as one of the best value crossover SUVs in New Zealand. The strong body design incorporates a grille that lines up perfectly with the headlights, while the clamshell bonnet and side bonnet garnishes are hallmarks of earlier generation Vitaras.
The 5 Star ANCAP safety rated Vitara has a strong TECT high tensile steel body structure, seven airbags, reversing camera, keyless start and entry, and hill-hold assist while turbo versions add dual sensor brake support, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, weaving alert, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
The responsive and economical 103 kW, long-stroke, direct injection BoosterJet engine in the Turbo models packs strong, effortless performance from as low as 1,500 rpm.
Four driving modes – Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock – are incorporated in the electronically controlled ALLGRIP all-wheel-drive system which are selected via a simple push-and-turn dial control offering the most appropriate driving style, depending on road surfaces or conditions.
In the most used default Auto setting, the viscous-coupled ALLGRIP system switches between front and all-wheel-drive via a propeller shaft and an extra rear differential, at the onset of front wheel spin. The Lock setting feeds power evenly between the front and rear wheels.
Sport mode maximises the use of 4WD in accordance with accelerator inputs, optimising engine response at low to mid-range engine speeds.
The part time four-wheel-drive positions a transfer case between the driveshafts running from the front and rear differentials, and uses it to switch between 2WD and 4WD as required. When in 4WD the system directly connects the front and rear wheels, making it possible to distribute engine power to all four wheels evenly and without loss.
All new Vitaras come with a five year warranty package and five year Suzuki roadside assistance programme. Finance packages are available from $123 per week.