Suzuki Vitara S Review Ireland

Suzuki Vitara S Review

The Suzuki Vitara has been around since 1988 and is easily one of Suzuki’s most well-known models. Over the years it’s changed in size and powertrain, but the Vitara has always had a rough and ready appeal.

Vitara has changed yet again and the current model introduced in 2014, just as a slew of new crossovers were hitting the market, has smaller dimensions than some of the Vitara tanks that preceded it in response to strong market demand for stylish compact SUVs.

Priced from €21,745, the new Vitara is more of the compact crossover, but it still has the rugged charm on the outside of a larger SUV. 1.6 petrol and diesel options are available, but Suzuki Ireland has recently introduced the Vitara S, a range topping version with sportier styling and a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet producing 140hp.

On the outside the Vitara S is distinguished by 17” black alloy wheels, a unique grille design, silver door mirrors, LED headlamps with red projector covers, rear spoiler and black side body mouldings, while there are four body colours to choose from: Bright Red, Cool White Pearl, Galactic Grey and Cosmic Black.

Suzuki Vitara S Review Ireland
Interior of the Suzuki Vitara S

Inside the Suzuki Vitara S uses red to accentuate details like the air vent surrounds. In typical Suzuki fashion, there are a lot of hard black plastics around the cabin but the build is good and the design easy to navigate. Infotainment is provided via a touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Interior space makes the Vitara more of a rival for the likes of the Peugeot 2008, Opel Mokka X and Renault Captur, but there is still good room to stretch out in the back and there is also a practical 375 litre boot, comparative to any hatchback.

The Suzuki Vitara S is riotous good fun to drive. It’s a little disarming as compact crossovers may be popular, but they often disappoint behind the wheel. Not the Vitara. And it’s one of its best qualities. The steering is really excellent – pure and precise allowing you to tuck the Vitara neatly into bends and position the car easily on the road. Taking on corners with a bit more speed is not a problem as the car grips very well and body roll is kept in check. There is road noise at high speeds but it’s not too annoying and a firmer suspension makes the ride quality a bit poorer over rough, uneven surfaces.

Suzuki Vitara S Review Ireland
The Suzuki Vitara S comes with a 1.4-litre Boosterjet turbo petrol engine, four wheel drive and choice of manual or automatic gearbox

Vitara S comes with Suzuki’s new 1.4-litre Boosterjet turbo petrol engine and it’s a fantastic companion for this car. The power delivery is quick and smooth: it’s not lacking anything. The Vitara S comes with Allgrip four wheel drive as standard and there is choice of manual or automatic gearbox. The manual comes in at €27,745, while the automatic is a steeper €29,845. The CO2 emissions for both are similar, with motor tax costing €270 per year. Claimed fuel economy is also very similar, with Suzuki quoting around 52mpg for the automatic. It’s a bit more disappointing in real life, being somewhere in the high 30s.

For your money, Vitara S does have a high spec including hill descent control, radar brake control, keyless entry and start, parking sensors, reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, dual zone climate control, four electric windows, and auto lights and wipers.

The Suzuki Vitara S is at the pricier end of the Vitara range but you will not be left wanting for performance and the four wheel drive system adds extra grip and assurance in poorer conditions. In this configuration, it’s not ever going to be as efficient as a diesel, but it is a lot of fun to drive, which can’t be said for a lot of rivals. The interior lacks a bit of polish and the ride comfort is a little rudimentary, but the Suzuki Vitara S will still put a big smile on your face.

Suzuki Vitara S Review Ireland
The Suzuki Vitara S is riotous good fun to drive

Model tested: Suzuki Vitara S Boosterjet ALLGRIP Auto
€29,845 (Range starts at €21,745)
Engine: 1.4-litre turbo petrol
Torque: 220Nm
10.2 seconds
Top speed: 200km/h
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

If you are looking for a small petrol crossover, you might also like this review of the Peugeot 2008.

Caroline Kidd

Suzuki Ignis

Irish Launch For New Suzuki Ignis

The Suzuki Ignis has arrived in Ireland, priced from €12,995. The Ignis is a new compact crossover from Suzuki that sits alongside the Celerio, Swift and Baleno in Suzuki’s small car range.

The Ignis straddles two distinct sections of the car market – that of the small car and that of the crossover/SUV. With its raised ride height and chunky styling, a Fiat Panda would seem like an obvious rival, but Suzuki also cite cars such as the Fiat 500, Renault Twingo and Opel Adam as rivals because of the Ignis’s personalised and distinct look.

There are a number of vibrant exterior colours to choose from including Boost Blue, Flame Orange and Neon Blue, and the Ignis is also available with a two tone exterior colour option (black roof).

The interior has the same bright, friendly feel as the outside with metallic titanium or orange colour accents. The design is simple to navigate and infotainment is provided via a seven inch touchscreen on all but the base model. There are a lot of hard plastics but at this price point it’s really to be expected.

Suzuki Ignis
Interior of the Suzuki Ignis

Ignis is a four or five seater depending on specification (see below). Headroom should not be a problem thanks to the high roofline, and rear legroom is good for the city car class. The boot is 260 litres, which is better than some too.

Three trim levels are offered, SZ3, SZ-T and SZ5, and there is just one engine available, a 1.2-litre Dualjet petrol engine with 90hp.

SZ3 is available from €12,995 and equipment includes air con, front electric windows, digital radio and Bluetooth. This model has five designated seats.

SZ-T (from €14,495) adds satellite navigation, rear view camera, wheel arch extensions, side mouldings, roof rails, 16-inch alloy wheels, and has a four seat capacity with individually sliding rear seats.

SZ5 (from €16,495) adds auto air conditioning, LED headlights with LED DRLs, front fog lights, rear electric windows, keyless entry and start, Dual Camera Brake Support and cruise control.

Suzuki’s Allgrip 4WD system is an option on SZ5 trim. Automatic gearboxes are available on each model for €1500 on top of the list price. At launch buyers are given the option of €350 of free fuel or free servicing for three years.

The 1.2-litre is cheap to run with annual motor tax of €190 and a claimed 61.4mpg. A hybrid assist system (SHVS) is available on the same engine on the top level trim and that reduces running costs a little more with motor tax of €180 and a claimed economy of 65.7mpg.

Suzuki Ignis
The Suzuki Ignis is on sale from €12,995

In Suzuki’s own words, the brand does well with cars that stand out for distinct styling and the new Ignis certainly does make a statement. With the current trend for crossovers and SUV inspired looks, the Ignis could well find itself a lot of fans.

Caroline Kidd

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Review Ireland

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Launch Drive

A revamped Suzuki SX4 S-Cross will arrive in Irish Suzuki dealers this October, priced from €20,995.

Hot on the heels of the all-new Suzuki Baleno hatchback that arrived in Ireland over the summer, Suzuki are further strengthening their line-up with a major facelift and new engines for the SX4 S-Cross.

Visually the S-Cross now has a more SUV-like stance on the road. Suzuki has raised the suspension by about 1.5cm, and the front end is now higher and more upright with a bold chrome bar grille and new lights front and back.

Inside the basic cabin layout is the same but there is a new soft touch plastic dashboard pad, which looks more pleasing and gives the S-Cross a more high quality feel despite the hard plastics that still feature above and below, and in the door panels. There is seating for five and a 430 litre boot with a low, flat loading sill.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Review Ireland
Suzuki has improved some of the materials in the cabin for a plusher feel

Suzuki has really shaken up the engine line-up to keep up with competitors (and perhaps surpass them too). Gone is the old 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine and in come two brand new turbo petrol ‘Boosterjet’ engines: a 1.0-litre (111hp) and a 1.4-litre (150hp). The 1.6-litre diesel (120hp) will still be offered but Suzuki are keen to push their new petrol engines because they are an attractive low entry price into the range, but efficient and powerful for their size. The 1.0-litre will return up to 56.4mpg and emissions of 113g/km CO2 mean that it qualifies for motor tax of €200 per year.

Manual and automatic gearboxes are offered, as well as a four wheel drive option. The old CVT automatic gearbox has been replaced with a new dual clutch system.

At the launch I drove the 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre turbo petrols. The 1.0-litre has adequate power for the S-Cross and is very responsive to the throttle, though the absence of a sixth gear makes it less efficient for high speed cruising on the motorway. The S-Cross 1.4-litre comes with a six speed manual and is in turn even more flexible than the 1.0-litre with a strong surge of power in all the gears. Some road noise was apparent in the cabin at high speeds but the S-Cross performed overwhelmingly as a comfortable and nimble crossover. The steering is light but there was enough feedback reaching the rim for some enthusiastic driving through the long, flowing corners of our test route through North Wales.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Review Ireland
Suzuki is looking for a slice of the petrol crossover market with two new powerful and efficient Boosterjet engines joining the SX4 S-Cross range

Three trim levels will be offered: SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5. Standard equipment includes Bluetooth, DAB digital radio, air conditioning, four electric windows, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, electric and heated door mirrors.

Pricing starts at €20,995 for the S-Cross 1.0-litre Boosterjet in SZ4 trim, SZ-T models start from €24,995 and SZ5 from €28,495. The 1.6-litre diesel starts at €26,995.

The new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross will be in Irish Suzuki dealers from mid-October.

Caroline Kidd


Suzuki Baleno Review Ireland

Suzuki Baleno 1.0-litre Boosterjet Review

Suzuki Baleno Ireland Review
The new Suzuki Baleno

The compact car market is as large as it is varied but if you really sift through what’s on offer there is real value to be had. If you’re looking for the leader in the small hatchback ‘Space Race’ then the new Suzuki Baleno has to be one of the frontrunners. Launched in Ireland over the summer, the new Suzuki Baleno joins the Celerio and Swift in Suzuki’s small car line-up. It’s compact on the outside, but the Baleno is stunningly spacious inside for a car with a sub-€18,000 starting price.

But let’s rewind a bit. Suzuki bill the Baleno as a more rational choice for buyers looking for extra interior space and a larger boot capacity from their compact car, but who may not be looking to move up in size to a Suzuki Vitara or S-Cross.

The new Baleno sits on an all-new platform and it is an attractive, if slightly unusual presence in the metal as winning at the Space Race on the inside has design constraints on the outside. But certainly viewed straight on or from the back and the Baleno holds a good deal of distinction.

The interior is not as upmarket as the chrome and LED light tech on the outside might suggest, and Suzuki has opted for the strong, hard plastic, durable look. A simple design is punctuated with some tech and spec highlights like a large centrally mounted touchscreen that’s standard across the range with Bluetooth, Mirrorlink, Apple CarPlay access, and a sat nav, along with 16” alloy wheels, air con, electric mirrors and front windows, remote central locking, auto lights, front fog lights and rear privacy glass. That’s a lot of equipment for a ‘base’ model. The higher of the two trim levels, SZ5, has even more with Radar Brake Control, keyless entry and go, electric rear windows,  and adaptive cruise control – equipment we are more used to seeing on larger, more expensive cars.

Suzuki Baleno Ireland Review
Suzuki Baleno: The interior is plain but comes well-equipped

But the real draw here is the rear seating space, which is phenomenal for a small hatchback. This is a really comfortable car to sit in as a rear seat passenger and would shame some of the cars from the class above. Even the middle seat space is decent. The boot is 320 litres, which is on the upper end of what is common in this class, though practicality is hindered slightly from a highish load lip.

There is no diesel option for new Baleno but Suzuki’s brand new three cylinder ‘Boosterjet’ turbo petrol engine with 110bhp more than makes up for it for power mixed with excellent frugality. Emissions of 105g CO2/km put the car in this configuration in tax band A3 (€190 per year). The claimed economy is 63mpg, but I was happy to return 52mpg during my time with the car.

A 1.2-litre petrol ‘mild hybrid’ Baleno with 89bhp is also available but the Boosterjet is so much more fun. It’s ultra-responsive and whirrs positively across town, country and motorway driving. The Baleno weighs in at less than a tonne and the lightweight construction is immediately apparent on the road.  The Baleno is pleasingly nifty and agile, exactly how a small car should be. The steering is light making it an ideal companion for town and city driving, and out on bigger roads the Baleno responds quickly to inputs, and the feedback that is reaching your fingertips is quite pure and rudimentary.  If you want to extract more fizz from the Boosterjet and put a bit more pressure on the Baleno through corners, there is noticeable body roll and the car begins to lean and feel a bit top heavy.  But the saving grace is that the Baleno hangs on well from its skinny tyres at the front so it’s easy to work through it. There is some harshness over rougher bits of road surface, but being quite softly sprung means the Baleno is mostly a smooth, comfortable drive.

With pricing starting at €17,995, there are cheaper small cars than the Suzuki Baleno on the market, and those with cooler styling and plusher interiors. But if space and spec is the currency you measure value by, then the new Baleno is a winner. The Baleno would be well capable as a small family car, and if you carry rear passengers a lot there really is not much better out there at this price range for sheer leg waving freedom in the back. It’s fantastic that Suzuki has developed a three cylinder turbo petrol engine for their new Baleno and not just stuck with a traditional non-turbo unit as the enthusiasm and frugality of which this engine goes about its business makes the Baleno impossible to ignore. The Suzuki Baleno may look pretty innocuous from the outside, but underestimate this car at your peril!

Suzuki Baleno Ireland Review
Suzuki Baleno: Exceptional interior space and well-equipped from base

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Suzuki Baleno 1.0L Boosterjet SZ5
€19,495 (Range starts at €17,995)
1.0-litre turbo petrol
11.4 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 
Motor Tax: 
€190 per year

suzuki baleno ireland

Irish Launch For New Suzuki Baleno

Suzuki has just launched the new Baleno in Ireland, with pricing starting at €17,995. The Baleno will join the Celerio and Swift in Suzuki’s small car range, but fills the gap for a compact car with more interior space and a larger boot, while retaining attractive low pricing.

The Baleno sits on a new platform that’s been developed with a focus on lightness, but also rigidity. The new car debuts a very on trend 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine with a healthy 110bhp output. Suzuki claims that the new 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine has the same level of power and torque as a much larger capacity naturally aspirated engine (1.8-litre). A 1.2-litre petrol ‘mild hybrid’ version with 89bhp is also available.

The new Baleno looks good in the metal and delivers on its ‘big’ small car promise – inside two adults can sit comfortably up front without feeling like they’re sitting on top of one another and the rear legroom is very generous too. The boot is 320 litres, which is on the larger side of what’s normal for this class.

On the road, the Suzuki Baleno quickly shows what a fun small car it is to drive, with a lot of that character coming from the new 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine. At the Irish launch, the Baleno floated around corners with a bit of zest.  It feels agile but planted to the road surface, and light, precise steering made easy work of the twists and turns of the Co. Down test route.

The 1.0-litre engine is lively with plenty of power for overtaking, and the refinement appears very good. Emissions of 105g CO2/km put the car in this configuration in tax band A3 (€190 per year), while the claimed economy is 63mpg. On a shorter test drive, the mild hybrid was not as lively to drive, though running costs are marginally cheaper.

suzuki baleno ireland
Interior of the new Suzuki Baleno

Equipment levels are very good from base. The entry model (1.0-litre Boosterjet SZ-T) at €17,995 is definitely a car you might want to buy. Standard equipment includes 16” alloy wheels, air con, electric mirrors and front windows, remote central locking, touchscreen with navigation, Bluetooth, MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay access, auto lights, front fog lights and rear privacy glass.

The 1.0-litre Boosterjet in the top SZ-5 trim comes in at €19,495 and adds more including Radar Brake Control, keyless entry and go, electric rear windows,  and even adaptive cruise control. The mild hybrid (SHVS 1.2 Dualjet SZ5) has a list price of €18,995, while the 1.0-litre Boosterjet SZ5 with an automatic comes in at €22,495.

suzuki baleno ireland
Suzuki Baleno expands Suzuki's small car range for a more practical alternative to Celerio and Swift

The new Suzuki Baleno will go on sale in Ireland next month.

Caroline Kidd

Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift: Unsung Hero?

The supermini class is a busy one. It’s packed with supermini superstars well-known among the Irish public like Fiesta, Micra, Corsa, Ibiza, Clio, Polo and Yaris.

There’s one supermini that in my opinion goes under the radar. It still sells but it doesn’t get namechecked very often when we talk about superminis.Read more