The pictures suggest that Suzuki has got the Vitara’s cabin about right: legible and sturdily fetching, with a big, glossy infotainment screen and even that automotive rarity – a reasonably likeable clock.

But, like David Gandy in Tesco’s jeans, bone structure carries you only so far. With its eye clearly clamped on the bottom line, Suzuki has deemed it necessary to clad the Vitara in less than brilliant trim materials. If the reasoning is iron clad, so are the repercussions. The dashboard, in particular, positively glows with the unwanted lustre of cheap plastic.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
My first prod of the multimedia system resulted in a mixed impression as the screen yielded and deformed slightly

Granted, few prospective owners will march into a Suzuki dealership with a premium finish in mind but, equally, even the laziest of window shoppers will know that many, if not most, rivals offer a more sophisticated fingertip experience than this.

It doesn’t get any better acoustically, either. Although a degree of hollowness is par for the course, the huge, van-like impact felt in the front seats when the rear doors are closed will only add to the stress levels of those condemned to the school run every day.

For buyers with adult-sized children, the compromises of the range-topper may already be too much to bear. Although our 5ft 8in tester fitted into the back quite contentedly, those approaching 6ft found themselves folding to fit under the roof lining. It may very well be, as we’ve seen in several competitors, that this is a symptom of the panoramic roof, which is a standard item in the range-topping SZ5 trim on test.

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Be that as it may, not everyone felt content at the space afforded by the Vitara and that’s an issue when you consider the car’s otherwise generous proportions.

Nevertheless, young families won’t notice the difference and, at 375 litres, the boot – presumably with its false floor taken into account – falls neatly between that of a Nissan Juke and a Skoda Yeti on capacity.

The Vitara is certainly well-equipped however, with the entry-level SZ4 models coming with cruise control, electric windows all round, air conditioning, DAB radio, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Upgrade to SZ-T trim and you'll find more luxuries including a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav and a rear-view camera, while the SZ-5 models come with radar brake support, suede seats and keyless entry and start.

The range topping Vitara S comes with numerous sporty details, including black alloys, satin silver wing mirrors, a rear diffuser and spoiler all as standard, while there is also the inclusion of LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic lights and wipers.

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