Search CarGuide.PH

March 6, 2018

Review: 2018 Suzuki Vitara GLX

“That looks slick.” This is the typical greeting anyone would have upon seeing the 2018 Suzuki Vitara. Of course, for people old enough to remember, they would remember the badge as having been affixed on a model that pioneered the small, no-nonsense 4x4. With the Jimny now handling that duty within the Suzuki line-up, the Vitara’s been transformed into their new sub-compact crossover offering, and like what everyone else would say, it does look slick.

The 2018 Vitara plays an entirely new tune and this is communicated well with the styling. There are nods to previous Vitara styling cues, but whether you remember them or not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it looks handsome. Compared to its market rivals which is either odd or ugly, this upright, square-cornered crossover is cute, approachable, muscular, and chiseled all at the same time. An even bigger bonus is the amount of stuff that comes standard in the GLX model: automatic LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, the two-tone roof motif, a panoramic sunroof, and 17-inch polished wheels.

The Vitara’s pleasantness continues inside. Though the doors themselves feel hollow and tinny (the door panel would actually budge every time the window would go up and down), at least the entire cabin is habitable. The plastics could be plusher for sure, but everything feels solid and well-assembled. The controls are all laid out in a logical manner, and plus, there are some cute cues too such as the center analog clock.

Finding a comfortable driving position is fairly easy with the Vitara’s tilt/telescopic steering column and a driver’s seat that moves 6 ways. The seat width itself is on the narrow side, but at least they don’t end up being uncomfortable even after long drives. The leather/suede combination don’t just look good too, they actually keep you in place during cornering. Towards the back, the Vitara’s rear accommodations will struggle to fit three adults, but two will have livable shoulder and leg room. That said, the panoramic sunroof could be a problem for taller passengers. Not only does it rob a big chunk of headroom, but the translucent cover allows heat to permeate through. Global warming is most certainly felt in here even with the climate control at full blast.

Another not-so-good thing is the Vitara’s infotainment system. While the tablet-sized Android-based system does play all sorts of audio and video formats (it also allows the installation of apps such as Google Maps and Waze), the lack of physical controls make the simplest things like changing radio stations or muting James Reid difficult. It’s got steering wheel controls and that helps things a bit, but it’s not a complete solution; there are no shortcuts to simple commands like the Bluetooth hands-free, for example.

In terms of storage, there’s plenty of it aboard the Vitara. Not only is the glovebox lit (a rarity in this class), but mobile phones and media players can fit perfectly in the bin located in front of the shifter. There’s no center armrest or center console to speak of here, but honestly, it’s not missed. The cargo hold itself is squarish and upright so fitting duffel bags and some groceries is fine, but it will struggle to fit two full-sized suitcases side-by-side.

In a flash of brilliance, Suzuki opted to recycle the SX4’s platform to engineer the Vitara. As such, it’s more hatchback than SUV in terms of on-road performance, and that’s actually a good thing. Toss it around and it obliges. It does feel portly around the edges with more body roll and understeer, but it’s never wieldy. For a small car though, the electric power steering is on the weightier side and the turning circle is wide. Once adjusted for though, it’s all good.

If there’s a chink in the Vitara’s armor, it has to do with NVH isolation or the lack of it. On billiard smooth surfaces, it performs impeccably—soaking up kilometers effortlessly. Show it a slight imperfection, such as those road corrugations, and the chassis will hop nervously across them. It’s a common problem with short wheelbase cars, and the Vitara certainly falls victim to that. What’s more, these undulations enter the cabin almost unfiltered and together with the countless shimmies and rattles in the cabin equates to a less than refined ride. Those countless steering corrections and unfiltered crashes actually make the Vitara tiring to drive during the daily commute than it is on long drives.

Under the hood, the Vitara relies on a 1.6-liter gasoline engine with 115 horsepower and 156 Nm of torque. It takes some poking to get this 1,120-kilogram SUV going but once it does, it settles into a nice, balanced rhythm. It pulls strongly but does feel coarse and boomy at higher revs. The accompanying 6-speed automatic is equally good, but there’s a hint of slippage when coming from a standstill. Nonetheless, it does promote pretty good fuel economy figures: 9.52 km/L at 17 km/h and up to 18.87 km/L at 52 km/h. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters can override gears at any time and with both cruise control and speed limiter functions, it makes highway driving much easier.

While the Vitara’s on-road performance does end up being a bit of a mixed bag, there’s no denying that it scores very high in the value-for-money department. Aside from the aforementioned features, it gets everything and the kitchen sink: push-button engine start/stop, power folding mirrors, 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control, front and rear proximity sensors, rear parking camera—all of this for just P 1,098,000 post-TRAIN prices. This car is definitely an amazing steal.

Overall though, the 2018 Suzuki Vitara is a solid bet in the burgeoning sub-compact SUV market. Not only does it look sleek, but a drive reveals that that beauty is more than skin deep. While it’s still not the perfect driving machine some would expect it to be, a lot of its imperfections are forgivable given it drives reasonably well and is kitted excellently. Suzuki may be known for modest small cars, but the Vitara shows that its specialization can extend to slightly bigger cars. The likes of the Ford EcoSport, Nissan Juke, SsangYong Tivoli better watch out, it’s the best among the sub-compact SUV crowd.

2018 Suzuki Vitara GLX
Ownership 2018 Suzuki Vitara GLX
Year Introduced 2017
Vehicle Classification Sub-Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.6
Aspiration EFI
Fuel Delivery Normally Aspirated
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 115 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 156 @ 4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~93
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes, w/ Limiter
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 9.52 km/L @ 17 km/h,
18.87 km/L @ 52 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,175
Width (mm) 1,775
Height (mm) 1,610
Wheelbase (mm) 2,500
Curb Weight (kg) 1,120
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Continental ContiPremiumContact 5 215/55 R 17 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear w/ Camera
Other Safety Features Hill Descent Control
Hill Start Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Leather/Suede
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Auto
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Wish Suzuki did away with the analog clock and the old steering wheel.

    There's already a nicer steering wheel with the new Swift, they could have stuck that in this pleasant car and it would have complemented the style.

  2. NVH is very important to have a comfortable ride. This was the car that I put on the top of my list but I ended up buying a Montero. And I didn't regret it. The Montero exceeded my expectations.
    The deal breaker for me was that sunroof. It took up so much space you could feel your hair scraping the ceiling. I'm of average height 5'8 what more those taller than me. I didn't know of it's NVH minuses. Suzuki should get rid of that impractical sun roof in the GLX and put more padding to improve its NVH. Those are the areas that need urgent improvement of an otherwise very good car.

    1. NVH is very important to have a comfortable ride. This was the car that I put on the top of my list but I ended up buying a SARAO JEEPNEY. And I didn't regret it. The SARAO JEEPNEY exceeded my expectations.
      The deal breaker for me was that COIN HOLDER. It took up so much space you could feel your ELBOW scraping the COIN HOLDER COVER. I'm of average BUILD 40" WAISTLINE what more those FATTER than me. I didn't know of it's NVH minuses. Suzuki should get rid of that impractical COIN HOLDER in the GLX and put more padding to improve its NVH. Those are the areas that need urgent improvement of an otherwise very good car.

    2. I actually really like the sunroof, just don't max out the adjustable seat height and you will be fine. The GL and GL+ are around if you really don't want it. NVH is just average tho.

    3. Comparing a subcompact SUV with a pickup-based midsize SUV that costs >50% more is just silly. At least the Vitara is a global model that passes global safety & emissions standards, can't say the same for 3rd-world only truck-based diesels SUVs like the Montero.

    4. Hey, the "3rd world" montero will be sold in the UK, dumbass.

    5. Is it being sold in its home country, or in the largest auto market in the world? Nope, because both have the most stringest safety & emissions standards. Australia & UK are just followers, fanb0is love to point them out as exceptions, as if they set the standards. Lolz.

    6. Sarao, coin holder. That post is actually very funny because he was mocking the person who was comparing the Vitarra to the Montero - two very different types of vehicles. Might as well compare it to a Sarao.

  3. This has that cheapo 3rd worldey vibe to it.

    1. where are the diesel fanatics? i cant wait them say "a diesel will suit this car well and sales will skyrocket for sure".

    2. Yeah, what's up with them and their hard-on for diesel?

    3. Huh, this is a global car, this one is Made in Hungary, not exactly a 3rd-world country. You must be referring to those Turd World pickup-based SUVs like the Fortuner (almost 2Million yet only has 2 airbags & no stability control!), Montero (ugly, SUA, unreliable reputation), etc.

    4. Cheapo 3rd worldey vibe... don't see it...

    5. Lulz. Then those pickup-based PPVs have 4th-worldey vibe haha. #noobfanb0i

    6. At least those in Europe have heard about the Vitara; they never heard about the Fortuner, MOntero, MU-X, etc. Haha. 0wned.

    7. In the UK, the strada and ranger, etc are being sold.

      Montero is also sold there but under a different name.

      So what now? Owned ba?

    8. Yeah you got massively owned by the guy above. Quit before you embarrass yourself further. Citing exceptions to the rule doesn't invalidate the fact that these truck-based diesel SUVs were designed for Turd World markets with less stringent safety & emissions standards. Get back here when that Montero becomes available in its home country or in the US.

    9. Massively owned? What you said is not even the point, moron! He said people in Europe never heard of the vehicles such as the Montero. Well he was wrong so where is the ownage in that? Besides, these are 1st world countries, Australia and UK. They are not exception to the rules. I don't know where you got that shit. You are good at creating bullshit. Pwede ka mag lawyer ng corrupt politicians.

  4. I got one of these, very happy with it. Didnt have the problems the author mentioned but my rear hatch does need a lot more force than usual to close.

  5. The exterior looks good but the interior looks cheap and reviewers said that they feel cheap too. But the generous features should compensate the cheapness of the materials.

  6. Great small suv for city with decent ground clearance. Sayang lng about the ride coz we seldom have smooth roads here

  7. I think Nissan Juke N-Style is slicker.

    1. Not with that ugly, funky, weird oddball design.

  8. Nice review Uly, hews close to the other written & video reviews I've seen from abroad. Impressive all around & the most bang-for-the-buck subcompact SUV in this price range. The Eight Rays YouTube review from the Media Test Drive to Thunder Bay Resorts & Casino last November pointed out how intelligent & responsive the 6AT transmission was even in manual mode, in contrast to that totally-dumb manumatic implementation in the Fortuner/Innova/Hilux where as soon as you shifted into Sport mode the transmission would start in *4th gear*, regardless of the vehicle's current speed & engine RPM. They also pointed out the the Vitara came *2nd* in CAGI's slalom testing, only beaten by the Civic Type-R. That's pretty impressive for a subcompact SUV. I personally don't have a big problem with the plastics used for the interior after seeing it in person, at least it's easier to clean and doesn't have those fake wood or metallic trim stick-ons. Heck, the Toyota FJ Cruiser has plastics all around, even on the floor, and that costs more than double the Vitara!

  9. I wish we could get the TOTL in other countries, the 1.4L BoosterJet AllGrip variant. More power AND less fuel consumption than the 1.6L NA variant. Would be a steal even at 1.2M compared to the TOTL HR-V & CX-3.

    1. I suppose that would jack up the price to the point of unpalatability. Break the next P100k barrier and you'll have other options open.

    2. Not really, the comparable HR-V & CX-3 trims are already at 1.5M.

  10. Uly, can you ask Suzuki why there is still a supply problem for the GLX variant, the waiting list is getting longer. Odd that I've seen the orange body with both a white top AND a black top, while there are other two-tone variants not shown in the brochures & website, like gray body with black top & black body with white top. Can't choose between those 2 colors, they both look great.

  11. Problem with the Vitara is that the Mitsu Xpander is here. Filipinos love 7 seaters even though they hardly need the extra seats. It's cheaper and Mitsu has more dealerships to sell and more importantly service the Xpander. The Vitara sales will slow down considerably because of this.

  12. This is a good value subcompact crossover. It's the best buy out there at the 900-1.1m price range, at least until the new Ford Ecosport arrives.

  13. Lol to those who compared the global model 5 seater crossover SUV vitara against the 7 seaters midsize montero and MPV pampasada expander na pamalit sa adventure. It seems that you are all first time car owners as you cant distinguished the difference.Me and my wife both own a fortuner, a 2018 vitara and escape

  14. All the positive reviews abroad. Read your review Uly. Had the opportunity to test drive every rival here including the CX-3 and HR-V. Loved it. Bought it. I'm satistied. Period.

  15. I bought the car and though its not perfect, its super fine for its price!

  16. Guys, need your suggestion. Should i go for suzuki vitara or honda brv or hyundai creta?

  17. Hi I would like to ask if meron ba na AWD Variant na available dito sa pilipinas, Just curious planning to have one as my first car

  18. SUZUKI Vitara or HONDA civic 1.8 E ?

    1. Features wise, Vitara. Power and porma wise, Civic. So it depends on your preference really. For me, since I came from sedan, I would prefer the Vitara this time. I like the higher ground clearance, and the panoramic sunroof. I don't need that much power when 90% of the time I use the car for city driving.


Feel free to comment or share your views. Comments that are derogatory and/or spam will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to moderate and/or remove comments.