We were thoroughly impressed with the Vitara diesel we tested last year. This year’s petrol-powered Suzuki Vitara S is light enough to be considered an ultralight tow car.
For a car which barely weighs more than 1.2 tonnes, stability at speed was excellent. The Suzuki pulled its trailer to 60mph and well beyond without any waywardness.
It also handled the lane-change test well, up to a point. It was firmly in charge on the first two attempts, only struggling on the final high-speed run.
The S is powered by a turbocharged petrol engine. The Boosterjet name may be rather over the top, but it performs well, pulling the trailer from 30-60mph in 14.4 seconds. Turbocharging helps give more mid-range pull than you get from most petrols, making for an engine that’s surprisingly well suited to towing lightweight trailers and micro-caravans.
The change from diesel to petrol power isn’t the only difference between this year’s S and the Suzuki we tested last year; range-topping S models have firmer, sportier suspension. The set-up is well suited to towing as the car’s performance with a trailer behind it shows. And once the trailer has been unhitched, it makes for a lively and entertaining drive.
It’s reasonably practical, too. Rear-seat space is fairly modest, but that’s forgivable in a car of this size. On paper, the 375-litre boot capacity looks rather tight but we squeezed in all but one item from our typical load of holiday luggage.
S-spec Vitaras come with a long list of standard equipment, including satellite navigation, suede upholstery, a DAB radio and a rearview camera that’s very handy when hitching up.
So, your £20k buys lots of kit, impressive stability and four-wheel drive. That makes the Suzuki Vitara a worthy winner of this year’s ‘Best Ultralight Tow Car’ award.