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This is the new Vitara from Suzuki - And yes, ladies, this is the top of the range SZ5, which will cost you around £31,000.00. And don't you think it looks like a little mini Range Rover?

You can get one for as little as £22,749.00. Now, there seems to be a trend today where a lot of the SUVs look quite lot alike - you don't have that with the Vitara. It pays homage to the looks that launched it back in the 1980’s - I think there was even a wide boy version? But don't worry, it's bang up to date in terms of looks and performance.

This colour really stands out -  I think it will appeal to a lot of women out there. But their range, the blues, the silvers, the golds, the red and that two-tone roof: it really makes it stand out. You've got some really crazy names for the colours: this is Atlantis Turquoise Pearl. And you've got for the roof – two tone - cosmic black pearl. No, not that black pearl, Cosmic Black Pearl - and it really stands out.

And look at this design language, too. And you've also got Packs - Style Packs and Design Packs. My favourite is the Urban, it's got bright red accents!

Good headlights, makes it easy to see in the dark and they're automatic. And don't worry about the rain, you've got automatic wipers. We’ve also got front fog lights.

This is one of the design features I was talking about, but it does hearken back to the look from the 1980’s.

Ooo, pretty black and polished metal 17 inch alloy wheels.

Now we've got the full hybrid. In a nutshell, it means you've got the petrol engine and an electric motor, which means it goes from petrol to electric seamlessly. You don't actually have to do anything, but you do have an eco mode, and the button's just on the right hand side of the steering wheel. It won't be as nippy, but it will be more economical. And when you lift your foot off the pedal, it automatically slows you down. It starts putting power back into the batteries, giving you even more electric range. But don't worry, you don't need to plug it in.

You've got keyless entry. But if your hands are full, you don't need to worry about the key fob. You can just press the button and open the door. One thing to note, you do have power folding dormers, but they don't turn in or out when you lock or unlock the car.

Even with mobility challenges, I find it easy to get in and out of. I would have liked to have seen a grab handle above the driver's door, but you can't have everything. One feature I really do like is that you can adjust the height of your seatbelt in the front. Not all manufacturers address this, but because I'm quite short, I find being able to drop it down means it doesn't cut into my neck. You’ve also got Start/Stop, so no key in the ignition.

You've got oodles of space front and rear and you've got lots of leg room. You've got charging ports here so you can charge your phone easily. And the sun visors have illuminated vanity mirrors and to turn them off, you just shut it.

I like this styling here. It's really funky, and I didn't have something like this on my Jimny.

Now the infotainment screen: I would have liked it to be a touch larger, but it does the job and it's rather cute. And even though there were no knobs on the stereo, this slidy button here is really sensitive. So you can just turn it up and down without even looking at it, but you've also got stereo controls on the steering wheel.

You've got comfy and supportive seats, they’re in fabric and a two-tone leatherette? and come with a choice of colours. And if you want to know how comfortable they are…well, I got out of a long journey in them for a couple of hours with no stress.

I like the fact that you can adjust the seat and the fact that you can also adjust the steering wheel gives you a really comfortable driving position and you do have paddles on the back like a racing car.

I also like the fact that the armrest is big enough for you and your passenger. You’ve got great visibility, big window and rear window, which is great for manoeuvring and parking, although I'm a big fan of the reversing camera. Now not all trims have parking sensors, but this one does. It's great that you've got knobs on the air conditioning, though.

It's agile and fun and it puts a smile on your face. And it reminded me of the Jimny I had back in the day. Because it's fun to drive, it's easy to drive, and the steering is light, but it will lighten up when you need it. And the suspension is good. Yes, you get a bit of body roll, but it's an SUV, you're going to but it does eat up the potholes, and it makes it a nice smooth ride. Also, the brakes are good!

I do like the fact you get an old school handbrake that does help when you're adventuring a little bit. You've also got Hill Start Assist and Descent Control, see that's going to help you when you're going down really meandering, steep roads and lanes when are you trying to find where you need to go.

Cluster is easy to understand - you've also got a little computer in the middle, which gives you lots of information. It's nice to see a high level of safety because the standard options include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, the list goes on, and also: dual brake sensor support.

I'm sure that's an acronym, but it doesn't matter, because basically what it does if you're heading towards what is senses is a collision -  if it doesn't feel that you're stopping it enough, it'll warn you. As you get closer -  and you still don't get there in terms of braking, it'll start to slow you down, and that kind of overwatch is great from whether you are nipping to the shops, or going on holiday.

The stereo is good, means you can whack the volume up and sing as loud as you like!

And a nice feature is this panoramic sunroof. It means the little ones in the back - they can look out at the trees or the stars, and if it's too bright and sunny, you've got a power blind.

Let’s get in the back. The door actually opens quite wide, but you've got a bit of an angle getting in, so for somebody like me who's got mobility challenges, just take your time.

This one does have a grab handle above the door, so I’m going to use it to get in! See, I've got plenty of leg room and I can get my feet under the seat. My husband, Ben, who is six foot three, can also sit comfortably front and back.

It's comfortable, and you've got your safety, you've got your isofix points, and your airbags - and in terms of storage, you've got really decent door pockets and you've even got storage area here. Now, I would have liked to have seen some charge ports here in this rear console area, but you can't have everything. You do have an armrest. It's a decent size, but it's not padded.

And as you’ve got styling packs for the exterior, it would have been nice to see that pop of colour in the interior just to brighten up these door cards. And a nice touch - you've not got one, but two interior lights.

In the boot you’ve got oodles of space, which means you can get your full weekly shop in, yoga equipment, a pushchair, a large dog or even a cat (Cabie Bat the Planetauto Cat is quite happy in here)

You've also got storage spaces either side and I can easily take off the parcel shelf and drop the seats and say, get in my mountain bike, or furniture, you name it.

And if you get a puncture, you've got an inflation kit under the false floor. I won't show it to you now because Planetauto Cat is looking rather comfortable.

You've got keyless entry for the boot. But to be honest, I always go for a power tailgate if there's the option. But it's not too heavy and it's easy to close. I like the styling in the rear, it's nice and chunky and look at this bumper - very nice!

And the side as well, it looks very off-roady, and you've got cladding around the wheel arches which will give you a bit of protection if you're getting a bit adventurous.

And in case you’re wondering, ladies – this is where the petrol cap release is – always good to know!

The bonnet’s really easy to open, the catch is just by the driver's side – you just reach down, and pop! This one is really easy: you pop your hand in, and you slide it across until you find the latch and then you lift - and it's not too heavy either. You just pop the bonnet support in there, and it's really easy to see where you need to go to top up fluids. And when you want to close it, you just drop, and you're done.

My favourite thing about the Vitara is the versatility because it's got AllGrip, which is four wheel drive, so it gives you the versatility in the city as well as being a little adventurous. But the four wheel drive is a boon in bad weather and it's so easy to turn it on too! You've got the dial, and you just turn it left for snow.

But you've also got Sport and you've got Auto, which basically leaves the car to do it itself.

All round, it's a smart looking SUV, it stands out from the crowd…It's just that little bit different.

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Northern Group of Motoring Writers NGMW

Northern Group Of Motoring Writers

Annabelle Quirk Vice Chairwoman
Ben D T Quirk Member