Suzuki Vitara Launch

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The Suzuki Vitara launch: George

Early mornings are not my favourite. Getting to the airport on time is pretty much my worst early morning rush but this time I was looking forward to the trip.  I wasn’t quite so enthusiastic when the alarm clock dutifully performed it’s only task before 5am.

Pretty much everything is a blur prior to the first coffee on SA Express. I vaguely remember someone thrusting an apple Danish at me while I lay resting against the port-hole window flying South.

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Scenic views at George Airport

Great coffee and the refreshing cooler,clean air of George helped me gather focus in time for the unveiling of the newest Vitara, see photo at the top. Specs and details about the Vitara later, we’re here to drive this new offering!

We headed off towards Knysna via some of the most scenic mountain passes I have ever driven in South Africa.

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The area between George and Knysna offers many opportunities to stop and soak up the vistas.

The Suzuki effortlessly handled the tar road motorway speeds and comfortably negotiated all the sand road passes all the way to Simola via the Wines 2 Whales route. A quick sprint down the twisty bits into town and on to the lunch venue.

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Quick stop for a coffee and some “melktert”

A fantastic lunch at the Heads allowed a moment of reflection on the days events before a sedate drive along the N2 back to George to catch the flight home. Thank you to Suzuki SA for providing a flash drive pre-loaded with a host of driving songs to keep us entertained the whole way while snacking on pre-packed biltong, dried fruit and various baked goods.

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A view from the Heads above Knysna. Bottom right, under the trees is the delightful lunch venue

To summarise there are 5 all new Vitara models. GL, GL+ and range topping GLX with a choice of two transmissions as well as front wheel or all-wheel drive (Allgrip). 86 kW are delivered from the 1.6l unit while taking advantage of light kerb weight to maximise fuel efficiency. Safety conscious will be delighted to know the Vitara achieved a 5 star rating under the latest EuroNCAP crash safety tests.

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Perched high above the surrounding valleys, the views were exquisite

The Vitara is competitively priced in the SUV compact segment starting at R 239 900 for the manual 1.6 GL; R 269 900 for the manual GL+; R 291 900 for the manual 4×4 GL+; R 319 900 for the manual 4×4 GLX and R 299 900 for the 6 speed auto GLX. All models come standard with a 4 year / 60 000km service plan.

We didn’t get to drive the Allgrip (or an auto) on the launch so we’re hoping for one on review in 2016 and if the 4×2 is anything to go by we should plan a trip to somewhere remote for the review period.

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A view from the plane as we returned to Johannesburg knowing we had driven a truly great car today.

Happy motoring!

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