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Suzuki adds Sport variant to Grand Vitara range
New Grand Vitara variant comes weeks after Suzuki cuts prices on most of the range
10 Oct 2011
SUZUKI has added a new variant to its ageing Grand Vitara line-up, fewer than two weeks after cutting pricing across most of the range and adding standard Bluetooth connectivity to the base model five-door.
The Grand Vitara Sport five-door gets Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control fitted as standard. Both of these off-road assistance features were previously available on the flagship Prestige 3.2-litre V6 model only.
Cosmetically it gets new 18-inch alloy wheels, grey and black ‘Bombora Aqua’ seat fabric, a freshened grille design and new silver-finish roof rails and side fins.
The Sport is powered by the same 122kW/225Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine found in most Grand Vitara variants, mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or an optional ($2000) four-speed auto.
The Sport has a drive-away pricetag of $31,990 for the manual version, placing it in the middle of the five-door Grand Vitara range beneath the diesel-powered and Prestige specification variants.
Suzuki Australia general manager Tony Devers said: “We remain on track for another record year and the Grand Vitara range – now boosted with the arrival of the outstanding Sport – is a vital part of our line-up.”
The Grand Vitara is the third-best-selling model in Suzuki Australia’s line-up behind the Alto city car and the Swift light-size hatch.
Local sales for the car-maker are 2.2 per cent down on the same period last year, although the brand has been caught up with supply issues following the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March.
Price cuts of $1000 were made in early October for all base model three- and five-door Grand Vitaras, including both four-cylinder petrol versions and the manual-only 95kW/300Nm 1.9-litre turbo-diesel DDiS.
Five-door base Grand Vitara variants also got standard Bluetooth connectivity while mid-range Urban variants picked up price reductions of $1500.
Bucking the pricing trend was the flagship Prestige, which copped a $500 price increase in 2.4-litre guise and a $1000 increase for the 3.2-litre V6-engined version.
These hikes did include the addition of standard Bluetooth and rear parking sensors for the four-cylinder version, however.
Unlike most top-sellers in the compact SUV segment (the Subaru Forester excepted), the Grand Vitara is not available with a price-leading front-wheel drive option.
The small Suzuki’s better-than-average off-road credentials for the compact segment – courtesy of features like a full-time 4WD system and dual-range transmission – are considered a strong selling point.
Grand Vitara sales are down 23.8 per cent to the end of September, although the company claims it is only just getting over stock constraints resulting from the March natural disaster.
With 2229 sales this year, the Grand Vitara has a 2.5 per cent share of the booming compact SUV segment, which is dominated by the Forester, Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai ix35 and Toyota RAV4.
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