Motoring: Grand Vitara Hybrid: A superb all-roader

The Grand Vitara (GV) is a Suzuki model that anyone, who has seen a Vitoria, will recognise

VITARA is a moniker that will always come up in SUV discussions. I got the opportunity to try out the Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.5 GLX 6AT AllGrip Hybrid, the company's new flagship model, via my networks. With its all-wheel drive system and hybrid capabilities, this vehicle is a formidable off-road machine, as its name implies.

I began my journey from Harare to Nyanga and back in the brisk winter air of Zimbabwe, across miles of tar and muddy tracks. Some of the roads must be among the most treacherous roads in the country, complete with potholes and everything. I did, in fact, test it thoroughly.

The headline is spot on: it is comfy on any road.

The design

The Grand Vitara (GV) is a Suzuki model that anyone, who has seen a Vitoria, will recognise. While the seductive boxy shape is still there, the extra grandeur—or larger chassis—is more visible here. Because of this additional area, the designers had greater leeway to include more features into the car's interior than they would have had in a regular vehicle.

However, I will return to the inside shortly. Additionally, one must address the GV's front and its rather futuristic-looking back. I will begin by discussing the front-mounted multi-level grille, situated between the three-point daytime running lights that function as the operation's eyebrows.

Below, you can see the car's basic headlights and bumper, devoid of unnecessary decorations.

At the rear, two plain LED lines surround the elaborate S, which maintains a consistent motif. There is not much personality or character to break up the monotony of the licence plate and bumper at the rear.

I do not think Suzuki will have any trouble moving them. Another issue is whether the owner can remove it.

The inside

The GV's internals, of which there were many, were visible to me from my vantage point. Suzuki chose a more understated style for the exterior but clearly invested most of their resources in the spacious interior, trimmed in glossy black and featuring comfortable imitation leather upholstery. Not to mention, it is large. That matters to a select few.

The 9-inch infotainment system caught my attention first; it speaks more about contemporary culture than the vehicle itself. Disregarding philosophical considerations, I had no issues connecting my Xiaomi smartphone to Android Auto.

However, I did find the procedure significantly more streamlined when I had my iPhone on hand. Keep that in mind if you are an Android user; it is not Suzuki's fault.

Under the screen and vents, the front docket hides a few physical buttons. These regulate the temperature. However, I found that the built-in automated climate control required very little manual adjustment throughout my whole trip.

I spent most of my time using the infotainment system, which I found to be most convenient when parked. I had no trouble getting along with the physical buttons on the steering wheel, and I really enjoyed them because they let me listen to music at full volume the whole way.

There was little time to explore the speedometer controls on the dashboard, which suggests the level of customisation available there.

When you splurge on a Suzuki GLX or above model, you will find plenty of USB connections. Additionally, my phone was able to use the wireless charging connector, but the charging process was a little sluggish and could have been better with a physical cord. A fee is still a charge.

Journey into the wild

At long last, the moment had come to put the beast behind the wheel. Driving the Vitara was not exactly a highlight of my experience. I was underwhelmed by its pull-away power and general performance. After getting a feel for the vehicle and increasing the speed, I found the ride to be pleasant and relaxing, albeit not very rapid.

I was able to put the AllGrip moniker to the test as I navigated the twisting, uphill curves on the dusty route to Nyangombe Falls, thanks to its responsiveness when I needed it most—the winter rain starting to fall.

One must visit the area around Nyangombe Falls. If you have the opportunity, try to take a drone shot of the Nyangombe Falls while you are there. It is one of the most beautiful shots I have ever seen. Looking back on your experience there, you will be glad you went.

 Brighton Beach is a sandy beach where the Nyangombe River cascades down the rocks near the falls, forming a natural pool.

When it veered off the road onto a dirt track slick with the day's muck, the trip truly tested me. After locking it into 4x4 mode, I started driving it. It made the off-roading adventure easier and less stressful than anticipated, as it effortlessly traversed the rain-glutted roads.

Perhaps the weight, the hybrid engine, or my skill as a driver was the deciding factors. Whatever the case may be, it was an enjoyable trip that I would gladly repeat in the Grand Vitara.

During the course of the journey, a few traits emerged. The 360-degree camera was my favourite feature since it made navigating the route a little easier, especially when the roads became tight. The increased suspension also helped a lot. Most cars come standard with a rearview reverse camera. On a few occasions, that was helpful.


The new Grand Vitara line-up has a single engine that comes in two flavours: the petrol-powered K15B, found in the Jimny, as well, and the electric-powered, although mild-hybrid, K15C.  Why bother with a hybrid model when the non-hybrid K15B can get 77 kW and 138 Nm of power instead?

The hybrid version only gets 76 kW and 137 Nm of power. Well, it seems like its only function is to aid with fuel conservation; the AllGrip 4WD system adds 125 kg, which will definitely show up in your gasoline bill.

The Grand Vitara's underwhelming performance and ineffective hybrid system are my main gripes with this SUV. My average consumption reached 10 litres per 100 km on the twisting Nyanga roads—I am not used to seeing double digits on any new Suzuki's trip computer—and that is saying something.

While I got roughly 7,8 litres per 100 kilometres travelling on smooth asphalt from Rusape to Harare, I can guarantee you that your average will decrease when you are out on the open road. To get a clearer picture of consumption, I required further time.

My decision

I wish I had a few more hours behind the wheel of the Suzuki Grand Vitara to gather my ideas, but unfortunately, I borrowed it from my networks. Even with the few little problems, I had a good time driving the vehicle. Never mind the (little) fuel savings; if you really must have a Grand Vitara, I recommend sticking with the less expensive models.

Regarding the Grand Vitara's history, I was hoping for a little more "hardcore," but I really like the design and am amazed by the number of amenities, particularly in the entry-level model, which provides great value (I willbe purchasing from this dealership).

Simultaneously, the Grand Vitara will excel in the mundane tasks of everyday life, such as transporting children (it is exceptionally secure, with six airbags and a multitude of safety equipment), completing urban errands, or embarking on long road excursions. Additionally, your scuba diving and kitesurfing gear will fit well in that boot. Once you break in the engine, you should presumably see a decrease in fuel consumption.


Engine detail: 1.5 + electric hybrid

Engine capacity: (litre)1.5L

Cylinder layout and quantity: i4

Fuel type: Hybrid

Fuel capacity: 45

Fuel consumption (average): 5,6 /100km

Fuel range (average): 804 km

Power maximum (detail): 76 kW

Torque maximum: 137 Nm

Maximum/top speed165:  km/h

CO2 emissions (average): 131 g/km

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