With the sidekick getting older and more and more mini-SUV's are swarming into the competition, Suzuki needed something new to re-inject life into their entry. They needed to project youth and energy into the lineup and cause a stir. In comes Suzuki's most powerful 4X4 ever. The Vitara, which came along with its big brother the Grand Vitara which sported a V6 engine, enters the fray with bold new lines, innovatively tweaked suspension components and a spanking attitude. This new offering from Suzuki boasts of a long list of standard features and a throng of luxurious options all at an affordable price tag.
United States was provided with three models of the new Vitara, There is the short-wheelbase 3-door convertible Vitara, boosted by either a choice of a carryover 1.6-liter SOHC or the 2.0 4-cylinder engine. The long-wheelbase 5-door hardtop Vitara was available only with the 2.0 4-cylinder engine. There is also the long-wheelbase 5-door Grand Vitara which had a 2.5 V-6 engine. All of these engines are relatively brand new which were loosely based on their previous engines. The 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve 127 horsepower engine was based on the 1.8-liter utilized by the Sidekick Sport, while the new 155 horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cam 24-valve V-6 was based on the previous 2.0 V-6 engine. A five speed manual transmission is standard across the trims and a 4-speed automatic transmission is available as an option while two-wheel and four-wheel drives are the choices for all models.
Now, after a successful 5 year run the Vitara is once again in the line up but only offered in one trim (LX) and one model, a four door. It is still economical and affordable but now has a longer list of standard features like remote keyless entry, air conditioning, daytime running lights, cruise control, an in-dash CD player, a tilt steering wheel, a rear-window defroster, power windows, locks and mirrors, a cargo cover and 16-inch steel wheels. Also the V6 engine from the Grand Vitara was handed down to the Vitara. Two- and four-wheel drives are still a choice and so are a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic transmission.
The new truck-tough body-on-frame construction and dual-range four-wheel drive provides the Vitara concrete and firm off-road capabilities. This mini SUV from Suzuki is still hanging on for a spot in this segment and still provides performance with utmost safety. This is a min-utility with a cute façade but a strong serious truck behind the mask.