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Off-road athlete – Suzuki Grand Vitara SE

Not everyone who buys an SUV plans to take it off-road. For most of of us, just the thought of owning a vehicle that can take you through some rough spots is enough to justify spending the additional premium. Well, why not? Most of our roads, even in urban areas, are anything but smooth anyway.

The Suzuki Grand Vitara may be classified as one of those “softroaders”. It is a step up from the common sedan but not as cumbersome to drive in congested areas as a chunky 4×4. It may not compare to the capability of a full-on off-roader but it has ample grunt and ground clearance to take on quite a few obstacles in its path.

The Grand Vitara is propelled by a 2.393 cc, 4-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 168 hp @ 6000 rpm and 227 Nm @ 3800 rpm. The mill is matted to a 4-speed (gate-type) automatic transmission with an A/T power switch. As with most Suzukis I’ve tested, pressing this button gives you a little bit of boost when additional power is needed. With a ground clearance of 200 mm, it may not be designed to cross rivers and streams but it can certainly traverse flooded city streets during monsoon rains. Make no mistake though, this machine still allow a resonable amount of fun when you decide to wander off the beaten path. I’ve spent around 80% of the time in heavy traffic and I was able to achieve an average of 8.3 kilometers to a liter. With a fuel tank capacity of 66 liters, you would be able to do a great deal of exploring before worrying about running out of gas.

In the concrete jungle, driving the Grand Vitara is a blast,handling is light and precise. Squeezing in through narrow gaps in traffic won’t be a problem, just be mindful of the large side mirrors. The ride is a bit on the firm side but the trade-off is the excellent composure when taking corners. You’ll find driving on twisty mountain roads quite entertaining. Speaking of which, this elegant compact SUV is loaded with technology to keep your passengers from boredom when stuck in traffic. It comes with an android-ready touchscreen entartainment system which not only plays music from multiple sources, you can also watch movies via DVD or USB. Heck, your kids can even sing-a-long to Moana tunes through Youtube. Morever, the auto climate control system did an amazing job of keeping all occupants comfy amidst the terrible summer heat.

The Grand Vitara offers an impressive 398 liters of boot space. If all 5 seats are not going to be occupied, the split-folding second row gives way to allow a total of 758 liters of cargo space. This definitely puts the “U” in SUV. The Grand Vitara Special Edition variant you see on the photos is priced at P 1,210,000 and it comes with dual airbags, ABS with EBD and gorgeous 18-inch wheels all with disc brakes. Another variant with 17-inch wheels is available at P1,160,000 but if you are in the market for an elegantly sporty SUV, always go with more grandeur.

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