Suzuki Auto South Africa has added the option of an automatic gearbox to the popular GL+ derivative of its award-winning Vitara range. The newcomer is based on the two-wheel drive Vitara GL+, and replaces the manual gearbox with a latest-generation six-speed automatic transmission.
The gearbox is a torque converter-based design, and combines the convenience of automatic gear changes and a wide spread of ratios with the option of manual override via shift paddles on the steering column.
Up to now, the automatic gearbox has only been available on the top-spec GLX version, but following strong customer demand and consistent dealer feedback, the GL+ Automatic becomes the second auto-transmission model in the new-generation Vitara line-up.
The Vitara GL+ AT offers buyers a generous array of customisation options, allowing the vehicle to express personal style and preference. For instance, a two-tone colour scheme with the roof finished in a contrasting hue is a striking option.
Buyers can also opt for Urban Pack and Rugged Pack executions, which offer different combinations of exterior features such as spoilers, scuff plates, roof rails, side protection strips and daytime running light surrounds in various colours and finishes.
Elements such as the grille, fender garnishes, wheel arch extensions, door handles, skid plates and the rear hatch can be further customised with different colours, finishes and designs to create a truly personalised vehicle.
In addition, an extensive array of approved accessories, ranging from alloy wheels to roof racks, bike carriers and tow bars, are also available.
The addition of the GL+ AT model means Vitara buyers now have two front-wheel drive GL+ derivatives to choose from. Consistent across the range is Suzuki’s eager and economical M16A 1,6-litre engine.
The four-cylinder power unit has been optimised for performance and efficiency through a variety of measures and technologies, including friction reduction, and reducing the mass of internal components.
The multipoint fuel-injected 1 586 cc engine also benefits from VVT variable valve timing to deliver a maximum power output of 86 kW at 6 600 r/min, combined with maximum torque of 151 Nm at 4 400 r/min. Drive is to the front wheels.
Like all Vitaras, the GL+ Automatic combines an all-independent, MacPherson strut-based front suspension with a torsion beam-equipped rear axle, ensuring confidence-inspiring handling and a supple ride.
The Vitara’s sporty silhouette has become a familiar sight on SA roads since its introduction in 2015. Featuring short overhangs and a raised stance, together with wheel arch extensions and front and rear skid plates, it epitomises modern compact SUV design trends.
The midrange GL+ AT offers a comprehensive array of standard equipment. Exterior features include 16-inch alloy wheels shod with 215/60 R16 tyres, as well as full colour-coding for the grille, door handles and exterior mirrors.
The fender garnishes are finished in grey, and front fog lamps are standard, while dark-tinted privacy glass is fitted to the rear door windows, the rear quarter windows and the tailgate window.
The spacious interior features smart cloth upholstery with contrasting stitching, while a chrome and silver accents add upmarket appeal. Both front seats offer height adjustment in addition to adjustment for reach and backrest handle, while the rear bench seat is split 60:40, allowing each section to be folded flat individually.
The comprehensive instrumentation includes a trip computer with a digital display between the analogue rev counter and speedometer. It shows selectable information on average speed, instant and average fuel consumption, operating range, exterior temperature and gear selected.
The display also includes seatbelt reminders, door ajar alerts and a low fuel warning light. A tilt and reach-adjustable steering wheel is equipped with multifunction controls for the audio system, cruise control and hands-free telephony.
The front and rear windows are electrically operated, as are the exterior mirrors, while the standard equipment list also includes remote central locking, automatic climate control air-conditioning, and an analogue clock in the centre of the dashboard.
The four-speaker audio system is MP3/WMA compatible and equipped with a CD player, FM/AM tuner, USB socket and Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony. A 12V accessory socket is also provided.
The interior offers ample storage, including front and rear door pockets with
1,5-litre bottle holders, front and rear cup holders, and a glove compartment ahead of the front occupant. The 375 litre luggage compartment is equipped with a luggage cover and a useful luggage area divider board, as well as a 12V accessory socket and a boot light.
As is the case with all Suzuki Vitaras, the new GL+ Auto models comes equipped with a comprehensive array of active and passive safety features. Active systems include electronic stability programme (ESP), and ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and electronic brake assist (EBA).
The passive safety features include seven airbags (dual front, side and curtain airbags, as well as a knee airbag for the driver), as well as a brake pedal release system. The front seating positions are equipped with seat belts featuring pre-tensioners and load limiters.
Head restraints are provided for all five seating positions, while IsoFix child seat tethers are also included. The Vitara boasts a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.
The new Suzuki Vitara GL+ AT goes on sale this month through Suzuki Auto SA’s extensive national dealer network at a retail price of R313 900. The price includes a comprehensive three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan, and a three-year roadside assistance package. Services are at 15 000 km intervals.