Nigel Fryatt – editor
When you get quizzed by those ‘other’ motorists who don’t just ‘get’ why we own 4x4s, one word usually ends the argument. Even for those who don’t want to go off-road, or don’t have the ability to understand how good a 4×4 is during inclement weather conditions, one thing they can never argue against is – versatility. If you own a 4×4, then you have the ability to do just about anything.
Our little three door Grand Vitara is a perfect example of this. Provided you are happy to use just a little more fuel than absolutely necessary, then the thing is like a hot hatch and can be hustled about with aplomb. Great fun, and it does surprise people at times with its ability to launch itself down the road. When off-road, we have found that once ground clearance and that vulnerable-looking (and massive) rear exhaust silencer box are accounted for, the little truck’s ability to be slotted into Low range does make it a surprisingly competent mud-plugger. The light steering and a good all round visibility helps here as well, but it performs better than many think.
You can get people in the back, although to be fair, the five-door version is probably a more sensible option should you regularly carry extra passengers. Granny won’t thank you for having to climb in the rear that’s for sure, and some people do find it a little claustrophobic.
Spec: 3-door SZ4
Arrived: July 2013
You can read more about this story in the August 2014 issue of 4×4 Magazine – available here