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Suzuki targets ‘urban jungle’ with SUVs

Urban warrior: Suzuki’s Ignis may appear happy flicking up dust clouds off the beaten trail but it is most happy nipping around city streets and lane ways.

More customers picking high-riders for their city manners says Suzuki

20 Jan 2017

WHILE many car-makers tout their ballooning SUV ranges as the gateway to a life outdoors scaling mountains and wading rivers, Suzuki is presenting a different proposition with its line-up of small crossovers and SUVs.

Like other brands, the Japanese small car-maker says its Ignis, Vitara, Grand Vitara, S-Cross and Jimny models will take you off the beaten track if you desire, but their pumped ride-heights, toughened features and tall tyres make them the ideal town car too.

Speaking at the launch of its newest and most compact crossover – the Ignis – Suzuki Australia general manager Andrew Moore told GoAuto that while many customers liked the promise of far-flung adventures, its cars are equally suited to the obstacles of “the urban jungle”.

Mr Moore detailed the reasons customers favour an SUV but highlighted an advantage during metropolitan motoring for each all-terrain feature, including the boosted ride height, generous load area and more durable bodies.

“Number one is visibility, number two is getting in and out and number three is cargo,” he said. “The fourth thing around town is less driving risk of damage.”

High-profile tyres on smaller wheels are less likely to be damaged by kerbs, a higher ride-height keeps bodywork out of harm’s way and, even if scuffed, unpainted plastics are more resistant to scratches, according to Mr Moore.

Mr Moore said that Suzuki’s crossovers and SUVs “absolutely” offer as many benefits about town as they do off the beaten trail, and more customers were selecting high-riders for the former rather than the latter.

Australian drivers are increasingly getting out of their large low-riding sedans and into crossovers, even in the case of owners who have no aspirations of hitting the mountain, and Mr Moore said that the urban advantages were fuelling the shift in behaviour.

“More and more you see people parking their Commodore ClubSports back from the kerb and they go slow over speed humps, but as SUVs become more common people are getting used to not worrying about those things,” he said.

For those drivers that do occasionally leave the blacktop, Mr Moore said the Suzuki SUV range was made mild off-road adventures easier and more comfortable.

“You don’t actually get right off-road but maybe dirt roads and you might, once a year, go on holiday to Portsea and there are plenty of dirt roads out the back and plenty of other coastal areas,” he said. “These handle so much better – especially if they are corrugated”.

In the Suzuki ranks, the Grand Vitara is the favourite for people wanting to tow a trailer into the wilderness with a majority sold in full four-wheel drive form, while Vitara customers appear to be more city-dwellers with most delivered with front drive only.

If current trends continue, 2017 will see the first time SUVs overtake passenger car sales on the Australian new-car market, with last year’s figures showing passenger cars down 5.7 per cent to 486,257 units, while SUVs rose 8.0 per cent to 441,017.

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