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Private Fleet Car Review: 2016 Suzuki Vitara RT-X AllGrip 4×4 diesel

2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 KosciuzkoA Wheel Thing once sold cars. One brand was Suzuki so it is a genuine pleasure to have the 2016 Suzuki Vitara RT-S diesel AllGrip in the garage. For the second car of five from Suzuki that A Wheel Thing will review, the Vitara with the torquey 1.6 litre diesel was the one supplied, coinciding with a weekend away that included a visit to the Australian alps and to the home of one of Australia’s most recognised cheese brands, Bega.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 BegaFirst up, the RT-X looks exactly the same outside as the RT-S tested previously bar different painted alloys and the discreet AllGrip badge on the rear door. Well, unless you’re a train-spotter and notice the LED/xenon headlights, electric folding mirrors with LED flashers for the indicators, the different shade of plastic inserts for the front and rear bumpers, and are tall enough to see the panoramic sunroof. There’s also Parking sensors fitted to the RT-X.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4Inside you’ll see suede cushioning on the leather seats, effectively making heating elements redundant, a light metallic grey plastic trim on the dash console with AllGrip badging, Auto headlights and rain sensing wipers, a push button for the Start/Stop which is out of the driver’s eyeline and sometimes not easily found intuitively, with the Parking sensor button (located in a strip just above the driver’s knee) being pressed instead. What the Vitara (and most cars) needs are the extensions to the interior sunshades when pulled over to the driver and passenger windows.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 seat In between the front seats, you’ll find the selector for the six speed auto and a simple yet effective dial for the drive mode selector, being Auto, Sport, and Snow, with a tab saying Lock as well. These show up on the (still monochrome, why not colour?) centre screen in the binnacle facing the driver. There’s also an extra stalk for the tripmeter, compared to the single in the RT-S.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 profileClosing the doors sometimes needed an extra push, as a “normal” closing move had the last door to be closed not fully sealing, indicating an extra bit of venting to equalise pressure is needed. There was also unexpected interior fogging, as in too much too often, especially when the exterior temperature was showing double digits.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 gear selectNormal driving is left in Auto, Sport holds the upward gear changes longer (along with the paddle shifts on the steering column being called more into usage) and Snow looks after Mud and Gravel as well.
Even the Bluetooth streaming capable sound system gets an extra tickle, with a pair of tweeters fitted to the A pillars, improving the presence and soundstage. It’s not a vast improvement over the RT-S overall, but substantial enough to be a more comfortable listening environment for the office.2016-Suzuki-Vitara-RT-X-engine-dieselUp front is Suzuki’s chattery and throttle sensitive 1.6 litre diesel. Power is rated at 88 kilowatts (@ 3750 revs) but it’s the 320 torques at only 1750 rpm that make it the cracker it is. It’s also superbly efficient, with a final consumption figure, after 1450 kilometres of driving in just over two days, of just 5.0 litres per one hundred kilometres covered. It’s a smallish 47 litre tank on board yet it was after a sensational 773 kilometres from full when the tank was topped up.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 economyIf there’s a niggle for the driveline, it’s the dual clutch transmission that is the only gearbox option for the diesel. It’s prone to the same “lemme think” pause when going to Reverse from Park, with the roll forward or back and at a stop in Drive, the brake pedal needs a firmer push otherwise there’s the lurch as first gear is in then out, kinda like the hokey-pokey. To counter balance this, Suzuki fit Hill Hold Control, which isn’t always effective. Underway, it’s slick, smooth and mostly imperceptible in its shifts. Push harder and there’s an increase of chatter from the front and a longer, more linear surge of torque as the speedo numbers climb.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 rear quarterOtherwise, what you drive is a responsive, frugal, sounds bigger than it is, engine. That economy is helped along by a body weight that tips the scales at around 1200 kilograms, so it’s a fantastic torque to kilogram equation. It’ll surge forward from a standstill at the lightest touch of the pedal and will kick down readily enough for overtaking on the long open highways south of Canberra and on the Hume and Federal highways between Sydney and Canberra. Naturally it’ll run out of puff at revs where a petrol engine is just hitting its stride but only rarely did it feel that a 2.0L may have been a better option.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 rear quarter leftRidewise, it feels tauter all round but has the same short/hard and long/soft suspension combo of the RT-S, even down to the underside of the chin belting the road coming off a road calming bump. Being a constant four wheel drive, you’ll notice more weight in the steering as the centre diff works with the rear to apportion drive and handling is affected as a result.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 sunroofIt’s less prone to being knocked around by cross winds, unlike the RT-S and feels more sure footed. In the wet and greasy conditions found near Thredbo and Mt Selwyn, some judicious driving was called for, more to ensure the capabilities of the drive system were met rather than exceeded. A light dab of the throttle to get underway, traction to the ground and you’re away.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 dashIt’s more easily settled by throttle application as well; the transmission will kick down a gear or two on a down hill run on a long turn, using the engine to assist braking and the front can then be pushed back onto the ground with a flex of the right foot. The power comes back in and the car recomposes itself. On the straight runs, there were times when the steering seemed lighter, as if the drive system was pushing more torque to the rear. In tight cornering, the 2500 mm wheelbase again proves handy, endowing the Vitara with a nimbleness many will enjoy, including a sub six metre turning centre.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 dash buttonsThere’s little doubt that the niche the Vitara aims for is soft roading; the Vitara gets an approach angle of just 18 degrees, departure angle is a decent 28 degrees but the rollover point is also just 18 degrees. That’s good enough for most people and there’s Hill Descent Control built in to give an extra bit of courage and confidence for those in need. The Continental tyres fitted to the polished and painted 17 inch alloys are the same 215/55 profile type you’ll find on the RT-S, more attuned to tarmac than serious off roading.2016 Suzuki Vitara AllGrip diesel 4x4 wheelPricewise, it’s up there, with $35990 plus ORCs, but you do get that wonderfully efficient diesel, plenty of room and driveability, the sunroof (normally a 2K plus option elsewhere), satnav, the techy dual clutch gearbox and paddles and the Continental rubber as standard. But you don’t get a full sized spare tyre.2016 Suzuki Vitara RT-S spare wheelAt The End Of The Drive.
What makes the Suzuki Vitara diesel RT-X a winner is the engine. Flexible, unbelievably economical (that figure was achieved with four aboard and luggage as well), it pulls like a train and gets the dual clutch auto singing. The cloth inserts on the seats negate a need for heating, which was a HUGE benefit given the morning temperatures. Yes, there’s a couple of niggles but they’re livable. It certainly is an almost ideal chariot for a weekend away for a family and has a good feature set for the price.
Head to 2016 Suzuki Vitara range for extra details.BTW 2016private_fleet_logo