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Paris show: Suzuki Vitara set to return

It's back: The Vitara will return to the Suzuki line-up after being discontinued in 1998 to make way for the larger Grand Vitara.

Suzuki previews the re-born Vitara compact SUV ahead of Paris show debut

Suzuki logo28 Aug 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

SUZUKI has ripped the covers off its all-new Vitara compact SUV that will slot into its local line-up beneath the larger Grand Vitara when it rolls into Australian showrooms in the second quarter of next year.

GoAuto reported the return of the Vitara nameplate in May this year destined for an all-new compact SUV based on the iV-4 concept that was revealed at last year's Frankfurt motor show.

While Suzuki has toned down some of the styling elements from the concept, the Vitara retains the same basic shape.

High-tech LED headlights are replaced with a more conventional set, regular wing mirrors replace the slim-line cameras and the roof-mounted lights have also been ditched, but the clamshell bonnet and deep character line running along the side of the soft-roader have been retained.

Suzuki has only released one image of the front of the Vitara so it is unclear what the production tail-end will look like, but it does keep the two-tone colour scheme with a black contrasting roof from the concept, which is reminiscent of the Range Rover Evoque.

Powertrain details are are expected to be revealed at the Paris show in early October, but expect the Vitara to be offered in two-wheel drive guise as well as with Suzuki's Allgrip four-wheel-drive system used in the S-Cross sub-compact SUV.

The company said in a statement that the Vitara will combine “Suzuki’s authentic SUV design with Allgrip 4WD, body and trim personalisation, advanced technologies and excellent fuel economy.”

Dimensions are also yet to be revealed but the Vitara is likely to be larger then the tough Jimny off-roader but smaller than the Grand Vitara that competes in the compact-mid-size SUV segment, against the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail and Ford Kuga.

The Vitara will be pitched against smaller fair, such as the Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Yeti, Subaru XV and the top-selling Hyundai ix35 in the burgeoning and competitive small SUV segment.

The arrival of the Vitara does not spell the end for the Grand Vitara, with Suzuki Australia communications manager Andrew Ellis confirming that it will continue alongside the new soft-roader.

The addition of the Vitara to the range will bring Suzuki's SUV count to four, including the Grand Vitara, S-Cross and the Jimny which returns to Suzuki showrooms in September, fitted with electronic stability control, after being removed from sale in Australia as it was not fitted with the safety technology.

Suzuki introduced the Vitara in 1988 in as two-door with both a hard-top and soft-top versions, but it disappeared from the line-up in 1998 when the Japanese car-maker launched the bigger Grand Vitara of the same year.

Mr Ellis told GoAuto that stock of the SX4, which has been sold alongside the S-Cross since that vehicle's launch late last year, is dwindling, with less than 100 examples of the crossover hatch left in Australian dealerships.

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