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Suzuki confirms Vitara Turbo

S bend: Suzuki’s Vitara S – revealed at the Frankfurt motor show – will be called Vitara Turbo when it arrives in Australia in the second quarter of 2016.

New 103kW Suzuki Vitara Turbo flagship to get both two- and four-wheel drive

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Suzuki logo15 Dec 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

SUZUKI Australia has confirmed it will introduce its first ever turbocharged Vitara next year when it slots its new blown 1.4-litre BoosterJet four-cylinder engine into its compact SUV.

Based on the Vitara S revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September and just launched in Europe, the 103kW/220Nm Vitara Turbo will become the new flagship of the compact-SUV range, replacing the normally aspirated 1.6-litre RT-X in the second quarter of 2016.

The new Vitara variant will kick off a potentially big year for the Japanese brand in Australia, with the all-new Baleno small car and Ignis compact crossover also on the cards for local launch.

Apart from an extra 17kW of power and 64Nm of torque over the 86kW/156Nm RT-X that it replaces, the Vitara Turbo will also get a more affordable two-wheel-drive variant alongside the all-wheel-drive version. Currently, the RT-X is available only in 4WD at $31,990 (plus on-road costs).

The extra power and torque from the turbo engine finally gives the Vitara a powertrain competitive with the small-SUV segment sales leader, the 109kW/192Nm 2.0-litre normally aspirated Mazda CX-3.

If European fuel consumption figures are any guide, the Vitara Turbo should be significantly more fuel efficient than both the current RT-X and Mazda CX-3.

The Vitara Turbo is claimed to record 5.4 litres per 100km on the Euro combined cycle, compared with 6.2L/100km for the RT-X and about 6.1L/100km for the petrol CX-3.

Specification wise, the Vitara Turbo will lose the RT-X’s sunroof, but otherwise will have similar features to the RT-X that boasts hill-descent control, keyless entry and start, seven-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, auto-levelling automatic headlights, automatic wipers, electric folding mirrors, leather seats with suede inserts, and a sunglasses holder.

The Turbo will sit above the entry level RT-S that sells at $21,990 ($22,990 drive-away) for the five-speed manual and $2000 more for the six-speed auto.

This model will continue with the 88kW/156Nm 1.6-litre engine.

Suzuki Australia says it will release pricing closer to launch, but general manager automobiles Andrew Moore told GoAuto that customers could expect Suzuki to continue its value push.

“As we have seen with products such as the Vitara RT-S, we have great value products and we want to retain that position,” he said.

Launched in September after a 14-year hiatus, the new-generation Vitara has generated 899 sales to date.

High global demand has limited sales volume so far, but Suzuki hopes to build sales beyond 500 a month once production frees up.

Mr Moore said the turbo engine variants would strengthen an already successful model.

“In keeping with the outstanding value proposition Vitara already represents, the Vitara Turbo will strengthen this even further as we aim to enable customers to step into our premium and most sporty Vitara for even less,” he said.

Apart from the impending arrival of the Vitara Turbo, Suzuki also announced that all Vitaras sold from January would get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Although Suzuki Australia is still in negotiations with head office over other introductions for 2016, Mr Moore has confirmed that his company has its hands up for the Indian-built Baleno and Japanese-sourced Ignis.

If all goes to plan, the born-again Baleno will arrive in the third quarter, followed by the Ignis towards the end of the year.

The concept for the Baleno was shown alongside the Vitara S at the Frankfurt show, while the Ignis turned up at this year’s Tokyo show.

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