Buyers get a choice of three engines to propel the Vitara. Two are 1.6-litre units, with one burning diesel and the other petrol. No matter which motor you opt for, both develop 118bhp, while the diesel benefits from a hefty torque advantage of 236lb ft at 1750rpm to the petrol's 115lb ft at 4400rpm. While the 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine produces a princely 138bhp and 162lb ft, but Suzuki has also increased the pressure of the fuel injection system and tweaked the turbocharger to keep the wastegate closed to reduce the amount of lag when jumping back on the throttle.
Petrol power probably isn’t most people’s idea of a natural fit for a compact crossover – even more so when you consider that the Vitara’s 1.6-litre M16A motor comes without the functional benefits of a turbocharger – but the usual advantages still apply: if your average mileage requirements are modest, then a diesel unit isn’t necessarily mandatory.
It helps in the Vitara’s case that the engine isn’t required to haul around a particularly onerous amount of weight. The car doesn’t feel nearly as flat-footed as it might were it carrying an industry-standard mass. By keeping a goodly amount from the scales, Suzuki has ensured that there’s sufficient tractability for the new model to feel amenable in the real world.