The fact is that then, at the very end of July, no information about the new generation of the European version of Vitara was found - everywhere it was only about the upcoming autumn presentation in Europe …
Here she is! It was not difficult to recognize a secret guest in the ranks of the instantly aged “Grand Vitar” - a wider and lower body, a serious expression of “face” … And the truth is, a completely different, matured car! “Be careful - we are not giving it to anyone for the test yet, the exception is only for you,” the manager advises, but I'm already rolling out the gate.
I admit, this was the first time I was in this situation. Going on a test trip out of town, I had no idea which stuffing is hidden under a sparkling body - there was no technical specification or price. The only official source was … the passport of the vehicle, which included: engine displacement 2 l, power 145 hp The remaining data was borrowed from the right-hand drive analogue of “Escudo”.
Sitting behind the wheel, you involuntarily pay attention to cars of the same model that you have, right? And now: an unexpected discovery was the abundance of Grand Vitar in the streets of Moscow. Why do motorists love the car of the previous generation so much? First of all, perhaps, for the "adult" four-wheel drive transmission and the "separate" frame, which none of the classmates can boast of. Having barely opened the door, he immediately glanced into the space between the front seats, hoping to see the transfer case selector in the usual place, and … did not find it. And what is it on the console? Eureka - from now on the transmission is controlled by a rotating handle.
The next step in the acquaintance was the inspection from below. As one would expect, there is no full-fledged frame like its predecessor - these are modern trends. Many car manufacturers are a little cunning, using the concept of "integrated frame." "Suzuki" is no exception, because formally the body of the "Grand Vitara" bearing. However, massive spars, steel engine protection and gearbox inspire optimism. A good application for versatility!
STEP BY MOSCOW
Unlike the previous “Vitara”, the current one is noticeably quieter and generally more comfortable. European dense pendants allow you to feel like in a tall passenger car. With increasing speed, you expect noticeable rolls and swings, but in vain! “Grand Vitara” is very willing to take turns, delicately warning the driver about the approach of the critical regime with just a squeak of tires.
The basis of good handling is a very stiff suspension, which does not allow breakdowns, but readily counts and transfers the road "trifle" to the body. In fairness, we note: this is typical of most competitors. To return to the ground and feel like a driver of the "SUV", though quite heavy, makes the engine. It reaches its maximum power of 6, 000 rpm, but I don’t feel like pushing the pedal once again in “kick-down” - after 4000 rpm the voice of the engine prevails over the rest of the noise.
Alas, in the silence of the “Grand Vitara” demonstrates a very leisurely acceleration. The operation of the “machine” is also imperfect: jerks are noticeable when moving the lever to position “D” at the beginning of movement, and when switching up and down. However, if you really like to catch up with the breeze, wait for the car with a V-shaped six-cylinder engine of 2.7 liters capacity of 183 hp. and a five-speed automatic transmission.
DON'T NEED DIRT?
According to European statistics, the owners of even serious all-terrain vehicles leave the asphalt and move to the country only a few times a year. But we have our own rules of the game, in which the expression "straight away" takes on literal meaning.
Under the astonished glances of the KamAZ drivers, who are lining up for loading, we go down to the sand funnel. Turn the knob to the 4H-lock position, and the center differential lock icon flashes red on the instrument panel. "Grand Vitara" eagerly eager for battle, but soon, slipping off the rear axle, gets stuck in a clay "condensed milk". Have to ask for help? “4L-lock” - and we slowly but surely crawl out of the sand captivity even on Bridgestone-Deweller all-weather tires.
Do not forget that this car does not claim to be the UAZ! Its element in the first place is the very “parquet”, that is, it is still a road, and it is better to be covered, but not off-road.
For its class, the car demonstrates a very decent cross in combination with an equally decent level of comfort and handling on the pavement. A great recipe for gaining popularity!
Suzuki Grand Vitara
The second generation is replacing the model that has been produced since 1998. Presented under the name "Escudo" in Japan in the spring of 2005. The European debut of the car will take place in September at the Frankfurt showroom.
Engines: 2.0 and 2.7 liters (145 and 183 hp).
Transmissions: 5-speed "mechanical, 4- and 5-speed" automatic machines ". Permanent four-wheel drive.
Test car: 2.0 L, 145 HP, 4-speed automatic transmission
At a reasonable price, the Grand Vitara is able to squeeze competitors due to the novelty and the successful combination of the practicality of a city wagon with off-road qualities.