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Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.6 16v SE 3d (2003/53)

Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.6 16v SE 3d (2003/53) - Owner Review

Flat-folding rear seats can easily be stowed away to create a sizeable load area. Being a three-door, the boot is fairly small, so it's best to think of it as a long-distance two-seater with a reasonably big loadspace or a short-distance four-seater with minimum luggage space.
5

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Review submitted by
Callum Mccolgan on

Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.6 16v SE 3d (2003/53)

Summary

5 out of 5

What does this car say about you?
You can go fast, I can go anywhere!

What do your friends / family / neighbours think of the car?
They all like all, to varying degrees. Some consider the design rather old-hat, but they all love the comfortable drive and high-riding position.

Would you buy this car again and why?
Only if this one is written off or breaks down in the next couple years (and I don't see that happening). Otherwise, as much as I like this car, I'll be continuing to upsize. No more city cars from now on!

What are you likely to buy next?
A Land Rover. Either a 300TDI or TD5 Discovery, when I can spare the money for the inevitable repair costs. I may consider a five-door Grand Vitara if insurance remains high in a couple years.

Buying experience

5 out of 5

Type of dealer you bought from?
Didn't buy from a dealer

Did you buy this car new?
Used

What price did you pay?
£1,700

When did you buy the car?
July 2014

Did you get a good deal and why?
This particular Vitara was a former crash vehicle that a friend of ours had bought three years ago to repair. Considering the low mileage (34,000) and post-facelift interior, I'd say we got an excellent deal.

Is there any special reason why you bought this car?
Having owned a Citroen C2 for six months, I needed to move onto something a little more practical with good off-road ability. I also needed a more reliable vehicle which was still affordable to run. Having looked at a Suzuki Jimny, Land Rover Freelander and a series 1 Discovery, the Grand Vitara ultimately won out.

What was the dealer like?
N/A

Driving it

4 out of 5

What's it like to drive?
Considering its traditional 4x4 design, the Grand Vitara handles quite superbly on the road. The steering is well-weighted and responsive (unlike the Jimny), it doesn't roll much despite its tall shape and the gearchange is deliberate, if somewhat stiff. However, while the seats are comfortable, there's no denying that the suspension is jittery on rough roads; it never becomes intolerable, but it is noticeable. Along with the 'commanding' driving position, the interior feels suitably stylish with a tough, rather than soft, build quality, which is keeping with the Vitara's robust image.

What's it like to park?
Excellent! Not only is the three-door fairly short, but its boxy shape also gives a clear idea of where the corners are. The rear pillars are a little thick, but it's not much of a concern.

Living with it

5 out of 5

Have you had any problems with the car?
Considering that it's been sitting for five years, nothing of note has gone wrong after a month of ownership. A couple a minor niggles (air filter and throttle sensor) were quickly sorted and the car has run without fault ever since.

What's most practical about your car?
Flat-folding rear seats can easily be stowed away to create a sizeable load area. Being a three-door, the boot is fairly small, so it's best to think of it as a long-distance two-seater with a reasonably big loadspace or a short-distance four-seater with minimum luggage space.

Favourite gadget, option or accessory?
Selectable 4WD, which drives the rear wheels most of the time (car slip on wet junctions) with four-wheel drive being selected when needed. The low-range gearbox is useful off-road (this has yet to be fully tested).

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