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Despite being no ‘heavyweight’ the GV transmission does the work

THE Suzuki brand continues to outnumber its rivals in mzansi.

Recently, I tested the all-wheel-drive version of the new Grand Vitara, and its no wonder this model sales keep rising, even in tough economic conditions.

It is assembled in India as part of the ubiquitous joint venture between Suzuki’s Maruti division and Toyota.

Upon delivery, the guys used the term GV of which I had to keep enquiring, until yours truly became accustomed to such term.

Interior comes in cruise control as standard, along with a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and of course, a panaromic view that resulted in my Gran probing, ‘why is this glass always opened?’ as we made our way to a relative funeral in my village, NW, last Friday.

Improvements are harder to spot as the dashboard and design are identical and besides specs, only the Suzuki ‘S’ badge on the steering wheel gives it away!

The interior is still a pleasant, apart from the functional and logical ergonomics, plus the workings of the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, space is impressive with rear passengers especially unlikely to complain much about head or legroom.

While some of the materials do exhibit a cheap finish, buyers shopping at this end of the market are unlikely to be phased much, especially as the plastics feel durable and the silver inserts a welcome addition in offsetting the swaths of black and grey fabrics.

Its tailgate reveals a spacious boot capable of taking 310-litres of luggage, or as much as 1 147-litres with the 60/40 split rear seat folded down. This was evident when taking unwarranted goodies for a dump on Saturday afternoon, it was seamless.

The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the GL’s safety systems include six airbags, rear parking sensors, a reverse camera, Electronic Stability Control and Hill Start Assist.

But the only snag: the GV’s flaw is when trying to engage the five-speed manual, it becomes flat and falls apart when the terrain gets hilly or when more power is MUCH needed.

It becomes slow to shift the GV’s 77kW/138Nm when required in earnest, the ‘box proceeds to go on a truly annoying hunting spree between third and fourth gears due in part to its ratio configuration.

On the national limit, the hunting stops and refinement becomes more agreeable as evident by the tachometer laying well under 3 000 rpm.

Tasked with overtaking though, the process repeats itself, complete with a nasty drone as the revs climb the moment third gear is hooked.

Despite the GV being no heavyweight at 1 170 kg, the transmission, it does the work.

Image SLM (Arguably more striking and aggressive GV).

It comes in 17-inch wheels and the overall aesthetic is neat and topped-off well by the chrome grille, satin silver skidplate, colour coded door handles and mirrors, and full LEDs for the head and daytime running lights.

Besides the spec items mentioned, the GL’s remaining furnishings comprise a 4.2-inch TFT instrument cluster display, keyless entry and push-button start, a height adjustable driver’s seat and steering column, all around electric windows, electric mirrors and automatic air conditioning with rear vents.

The GV offers-up 210 mm of ground clearance, plus a full-size steel spare wheel.

It recorded an indicated best fuel consumption of 6.5 L/100 km, 0.4 L/100 km down on the official claim.

Look, this is a City GV but like I did, you will enjoy a bit off-road, provided you do not exceed the speed and be on the look-out for animals going astray.

It retails for R417 900

Verdict

Image (The interior and leatherette of the Suzuki Grand Vitara).

Performance 1-10 (5)

Fuel 1-10 (4)

Images SLM (The GL specced Grand Vitara showed it’s worth on the road).

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