Grand Vitara Dune
The Grand Vitara Dune is powered by a 2.4 litre petrol motor delivering 122kW and 225Nm of torque driving the permanent 4×4 drive system with either a 5 speed manual or 4 speed auto box. Our test vehicle was fitted with the manual gearbox which has a very pleasant first gear for getting going, 0 – 100km/h in just under 12 seconds (11.7 claimed) and fantastic fifth gear for cruising along quietly, efficiently and at surprisingly low revs on the freeway.
Top speed is a claimed 180 km/h. We didn’t even try to get near this, although she will purr along quite happily up to 140 km/h without any noticeable strain or additional noise which is pleasing. Overtaking in 5th gear is also no issue with the torque being sufficient to pass just about any slow moving vehicles safely.
We drove almost 2000 km in the week and achieved the claimed fuel consumption figures of 8.9 literes/100km. Our route took us to Durban and back to Johannesburg on the N3 and an equal amount of kilometers in suburban built up areas where 60 km/h and frequent gear changes are the norm.
Unlike most compact SUVs, the Suzuki Grand Vitara comes standard with a low-range transfer case for seriously rough terrain. At the push of a button, true off-roading is within reach for this vehicle. I didn’t try to engage the low range but according to the manual all you need to do is come to a stop and turn the dial on the dash board to the appropriate setting. Disengaging low range is a similar procedure. Neat and quick!
We also didn’t need to take advantage of the 200 mm ground clearance, or the short front and rear overhangs, long-travel suspension, and rugged integrated ladder frame monocoque chassis you might need when going onto the rough stuff but it’s always a pleasure knowing that you could climb Van Reenen’s should the weather turn apocalyptic.
I prefer an automatic gearbox in a 4×4. It leaves your hands and mind free to focus on the obstacles in the path rather than worry about the right gear to clear said obstacle but we never went offroad and the Suzuki’s box was smooth and quiet and the trip was pleasant.
I liked the fact that there is a lighter plug in the large luggage area to plug in a portable fridge or other gadget of your choice and I really liked the illuminated ring around the ignition key that should make finding the keyhole easy in the most trying conditions.
I was frustrated by the instrument panel’s refusal to reset the average fuel consumption and distance traveled while the car was in motion.
By contrast we were very impressed by the sheer size of the Grand Vitara inside the cabin. There are literally acres of headroom, you would need to stretch the measuring tape well past 2 meters to run out of comfortable space.
The boot is deceptively large. At first it doesn’t appear to be all that big but it is reasonably deep and very high. To illustrate we packed some diving gear with full kit and cylinders! There’s still enough space left for another 2 dive bags and a Labrador and we haven’t even folded the rear seats down yet.
The Grand Vitara Dune comes standard with “always on” 4×4, 17″ alloys , FM Stereo/AM CD receiver with MP3 playback function and speed-sensing volume adjustment, electric windows front and rear, remote central locking and air-conditioning. The only thing missing from this vehicle is cruise control.
If you want to stand out from the crowd this could be the vehicle for you whether you’re schlepping kids or off to an adventure race. The shape is new with an updated front and it performs admirably. This SUV offers many extras as standard and was a pleasure to drive. The Suzuki Grand Vitara Dune is value for money in anyone’s language.
Grand Vitara Dune MT R298 900
Grand Vitara Dune AT R313 900
The prices include a three-year/100 00 km warranty, and a six-year/90 000 km service plan.
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