Meet the all-new Suzuki Grand Vitara, a compact SUV that’s adventure focused



We caught an early morning flight from OR Tambo International Airport to George in the Western Cape for the launch of the all-new Suzuki Grand Vitara. Once disembarked, we were greeted by no less than ten all-new Grand Vitaras in various colours. Personally, I’d opt for the Grandeur Grey.



Photo Credits Jameel Ismail 




Now much sleeker and more modern looking than its very capable predecessor. A vehicle that has a 30-year legacy and an almost cult-like fan base and for good reason too. The previous generations of Grand Vitara were "go- anywhere", family vehicles that were affordable, practical and very reliable. The kind of vehicle that you would happily take about your daily commute through town, and then on weekends get you and all your outdoor gear to a campsite over a muddy gravel road with ease. One glance at the new vehicle and it was clearly an obvious leap forward in style. With its wide clamshell bonnet, 17-inch alloy wheels that fill the large wheel arches, and functional roof rails.

But was the true essence of the Grand Vitara now lost in all the new glitz and glam? This was a question we were begging to have answered because the Suzuki Grand Vitara is a vehicle that's very close to our hearts. We’ve owned a 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara for a few years now, and the vehicle has no problem getting us to some seriously sketchy places and then back home again.

I was partnered with Justin Kennerley from Radio Sonder Grense, it was the first time we’d met, but the perfect ice breaker was the beautifully designed cabin with its massive 1-meter-long panoramic sunroof, that - and the fact that I may have accidentally jumped the queue and taken his place to get onto the flight. But Justin and I hit it off pretty soon as we realised we both shared a love for touring our beautiful country, particularly along gravel roads and mountain passes.

Photo Credits Jameel Ismail 


After the two of us set off from George Airport, our next stop would be the Simola Hotel in Knysna - home to the famous Simola hill climb. After a quick breakfast, some vehicle information, and a driver briefing from Brandon Carpenter - Suzuki Auto SA’s brand manager. We set off with a route guide in hand in hopes of arriving at the Louvains Guest Farm via Prince Alfreds Pass.

A pass that was built by Thomas Bain in the 1860s, the Prince Alfred Pass (R339) is a gravel mountain pass between Knysna and Uniondale. It is a scenic route with spectacular views. Having been built about 150 years ago, parts of this historic road are very winding and narrow. In some areas, the surface of the road is eroded, and there are massive potholes along the way. We had a considerable amount of mud and water thanks to the area's recent rainfall, but this would be the perfect proving ground for the all-new Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.5GLX hybrid auto with the All-Grip system that we were driving.

Photo Credits Jameel Ismail 


This particular model is fitted with a higher compression 1,5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine, tuned to deliver 76 kW of power and 137 N.m of torque - a little underwhelming when the need to overtake arises. But power is distributed to Suzuki’s sixth-generation All-Grip variable all-wheel drive system via a six-speed automatic gearbox. The 1.5l naturally aspirated claims a very impressive fuel consumption of 5.6l per 100km though. That’s Less than half of the 12l per 100km I get when driving our 2013 Grand Vitara 2.4 Summit Auto extremely economically!

But as we took in the spectacular views of the pass, one particular aspect of the Grand Vitara’s drive that Justin and I appreciated was the fact that the ride was incredibly smooth on the gravel, but also very nimble. A sickness many SUVs with good ground clearance suffer from. The top-of-the-range model that we were driving had all the bells and whistles and it was a marvel watching the clever all-wheel drive system activate every time there was a steep ascent or we lost the slightest amount of traction.

Photo Credits Jameel Ismail



Once reaching our destination - Louvains Guest Farm, the fun didn’t stop. Some 68km of gravel mountain pass was not enough to test the off-roading capabilities of the Grand Vitara. So, next up was the dedicated 4x4 trail ox wagon route - an old Voortrekker pass that would surely put the vehicle's off-road capability, ground clearance, and our own driving skills to the test. The vehicles all made it to the top of the trail, with some diff locking action alright, but it was very evident that the new Grand Vitara is miles ahead of its predecessor in almost every single aspect though.

Aside from the fuel consumption, the new vehicle is much easier to drive, has a beautifully redesigned spacious cabin, and the much-hyped - new hybrid engine. Even ground clearance is up, at 210mm… the redesigned gauge cluster now boasts a hybrid analogue/ digital display, something that I personally feel should have been fully digital in today's age of vehicle technology. Aside from knit picking the fact that I feel the redesigned gauge cluster should have had a fully digital display, the interior is a beautiful place to be in with comfortable seats, good materials, and a steering wheel with a pleasant feel.

Photo Credits Jameel Ismail 



While the New Grand Vitara will most likely not appeal to hardened off-road enthusiasts, those who do find themselves venturing off-road will realise that the All-Grip system will take you much further than you’d expect and is more than sufficient in getting you to a secluded fishing spot on the Vaal River.

Even though the Grand Vitara is Suzuki's most expensive model, the Grand Vitara derivatives offer notable value, comfort, and practicality at a great price, something which has become synonymous with the Suzuki brand.


Grand Vitara 1.5 GL Manual - R339 00

Grand Vitara 1.5 GL Auto - R 359 000

Grand Vitara 1.5 GLX Manual - R397 000

Grand Vitara 1.5 GLX Auto - R417 900

GLX All Grip Hybrid - R529 000 (definitely the model to have)

All models come with:

6-year / 90 000km introductory service plan

5-year / 200 000km promotional warranty

Jameel Ismail - Freelance Motoring Journalist | Automotive Content Creator | Advanced Driving Instructor
Currently, Jameel enjoys writing articles that cover new vehicle launches, car culture, industry news, road safety and road trips. He also produces and co-hosts a weekly motoring radio show called Bumper 2 Bumper - a multi-award winning and the longest running Motoring and lifestyle radio show in South Africa. 

Find him at: Instagram: @what.james.drives Facebook: Jameel Ismail Website: is an award-winning Digital Media, Marketing, and Advertising Company est. 2015, is a Member of the Independent Media Association of South Africa (IMASA), and Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Ambassadors, with a global reach of over 10 million

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