Jaco Van Der Merwe

Compiled by Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring


Suzuki Grand Vitara makes grande return to Mzansi

Redesigned compact SUV features the first-ever hybrid system for Suzuki in South Africa.


After a four-year hiatus, the Suzuki Grand Vitara has officially returned to South Africa.

The new Grand Vitara takes its place alongside the Vitara in Suzuki’s compact SUV line-up and introduces a mild-hybrid powertrain option for the first time across the Japanese carmaker’s entire local line-up.

The SUV is the latest model to emerge from the partnership between Suzuki and Toyota, a collaboration which also includes the Suzuki Celerio and Toyota Vitz, the Toyota Starlet and Suzuki Baleno, the Suzuki Ertiga and Toyota Rumion and the soon-to-be-discontinued Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Toyota Urban Cruiser.

Suzuki Grand Vitara redesigned

The Grand Vitara was designed and developed by Suzuki and is manufactured in the Toyota Kirloskar factory in Bidadi, India.

“The previous-generation Grand Vitara was very popular and had a particularly long life cycle in South Africa thanks to its popularity,” says Brendon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager of Suzuki Auto South Africa.

“The new model is a reinterpretation of the Grand Vitara concept and has been completely redesigned from the ground up, with a focus on style, technology and ride comfort.”

Although the new version does not share its predecessor’s platform or any technology, its design pays homage to the iconic Grand Vitara which third generation was discontinued locally in 2019.

It rides on a new generation monocoque TECT-platform and features a generous ground clearance of 210 mm – the same as the go-anywhere Suzuki Jimny.

Suzuki Grand Vitara rear
The LED light bar defines the rear of the new Suzuki Grand Vitara. Picture: Suzuki

Two powertrains

The Grand Vitara is available with either petrol or mild hybrid petrol- electric powertrain with a choice of three transmission options and the option of two- and four-wheel drive. The two trim levels on offer are Suzuki’s customary GL and top-spec GLX derivates.

ALSO READ: Wait no more: Five-door Suzuki Jimny officially revealed

The new Grand Vitara has a modern interpretation of its forebear’s clamshell bonnet which is more sculpted. It also features a multi-level grille, which has an imposing centre section with metallic surrounds, a thin top section to neatly frame the S-badge and an inverted lower section that links with the bottom strike plate.

The multi-level grille is flanked by three-point LED daytime running lights on either side, which are uniquely positioned higher than the headlamps. The headlamps, which function automatically on all versions, are recessed in their own dark polycarbonate surrounds.

Suzuki Grand Vitara goes 3D

At the rear, a thin three-dimensional LED light bar stretches the width of the car, while reverse and turn signal lights are fitted in a deep section at the edges of the lower bumper.

Roof rails and 17-inch alloy wheels are standard across the range, with GLX models getting silver roof rails, machine-polished alloys and privacy glass on the rear doors.

Moving to the inside, Suzuki says the seats, suspension system and electric steering have been created specifically for a comfortable ride on rough and uneven surfaces.

Standard on GL models are a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with reverse camera, with GLX variants featuring a 9-inch screen with panoramic video display.

ALSO READ: Frothed up Suzuki S-Presso priced with more kit and safety

Heads up!

GLX models also benefit from Head-Up Display, which can display information such as vehicle speed, engine speed, gear selection, instant fuel consumption, vehicle alerts and climate control settings.

All models have a full-colour TFT display between the instrument dials for vehicle settings and vehicle information.

Addition standard specification include:

  • Keyless access
  • Keyless start/stop
  • Electric windows
  • Wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto
  • Automatic climate control
  • Cruise control
  • Leather covered steering wheel with remote controls for the audio, cruise control and phone features

In addition, GLX derivates of the Suzuki Grand Vitara get:

  • Full leatherette interior
  • Wireless charging tray
  • Ambient lighting
  • Additional USB-charging sockets for rear passengers
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Additional speakers and tweeters
Suzuki Grand Vitara interior
GLX models are fitted with 9-inch infotainment screens. Picture: Suzuki

Under the bonnet

Four models in the new Suzuki Grand Vitara’s line-up are powered by the brand’s tried and trusted K15B 1.5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine. It generates 77 kW of power and 138 Nm of torque to the front wheels via a choice of four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.

The line-up’s other powertrain is the K15C petrol engine with mild hybrid electric power, which is called Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS).

This mill uses a higher compression ratio than its sibling and an always-on mild-hybrid system with a power output of 75.8 kW and 136.8 Nm. The twist is sent to all four wheels via Suzuki’s AllGrip Select system via six-speed automatic transmission which comes with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Hybrid more frugal

The mild-hybrid system works continuously to support the petrol engine to deliver similar power to a naturally aspirated engine across a wide torque band, while lowering fuel consumption and emissions.

This system lowers the Suzuki Grand Vitara’s average fuel consumption from six litres / 100 km to 5.6 litres / 100 km even though it is carrying an additional 125 kg of weight made up by the of the all-wheel drive system.

The hybrid system features an integrated starter generator (ISG) that supports the petrol engine under load or hard acceleration. The same ISG-system will harvest kinetic energy when the vehicle is slowed down and push that back into the standard vehicle battery and the additional 12V lithium-ion hybrid battery.

Automatic AllGrip

Different to the AllGrip Select system that features in the Jimny, the Suzuki Grand Vitara automatically switches power between wheels depending on road conditions and driver input. Apart from automatic operation, the system can also be set to Sport, Snow and Lock.

Standard safety features include six airbags, electronic stability control, ABS with EBA, hill-hold assist, rear parking sensors and ISOFIX child seat mountings with both top and bottom tethers.

All Suzuki Grand Vitara models can be ordered in a choice of Arctic White, Splendid Silver, Opulent Red, Grandeur Grey, Celestial Blue, Midnight Black and pearlescent versions of Arctic White and Cave Black.

Bicolour options with a black roof and side mirrors are available in Arctic White, Splendid Silver and Opulent Red.

Suzuki Grand Vitara pricing

  • 1.5 GL MT – R339 900
  • 1.5 GL AT – R359 900
  • 1.5 GLX MT – R397 900
  • 1.5 GLX AL – R417 900
  • 1.5 Hybrid GLX AL – R529 900

Pricing includes six-year/90 000 km service plan and five-year/200 000 km warranty.

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