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The year was 2009 and Maruti Suzuki went big into the SUV craze by bringing the blocky Grand Vitara into India. However, the thirsty 2.4-litre petrol powerplant of the Grand Vitara ultimately spelt its doom and Maruti ended its venture into the world of B-Segment SUVs in 2015.
7 years have passed and Maruti Suzuki is back with the Grand Vitara and is looking to knock Hyundai's Creta off its perch with the help of fellow Japanese carmaker Toyota.
So can the all-new Grand Vitara revive an iconic Suzuki nameplate in India or is it too focused on fuel savings to do much else? Is the new Grand Vitara too much like its badge-swapped Toyota sibling or has Maruti Suzuki done enough to make it stand out from Hyryder? These were the questions we set out to answer when we took to the streets of Udaipur in the all-new Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara...
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Exterior Design - Bold, Blocky & Distinct
While the Grand Vitara and the Hyryder may be siblings born under different badges, Maruti has made the effort to ensure its new flagship SUV looks different from its Toyota sibling.
At the front, the LED daytime running lights and indicators are connected by chunky strips of chrome to the Suzuki badge sitting at the top of the large grille that also features chrome surrounds. The LED projector headlamps sit lower on the front bumper on opposite sides of the grille. The lower section of the front bumper features a faux skid plate finished in grey atop which sits a small air intake.
Black cladding can be seen on the edges of the front bumper and this continues around the sides of the new Grand Vitara to the rear bumper where they meet up with the faux skid plate element. Most versions of the new Maruti Grand Vitara ride on 17-inch dual-tone precision-cut alloy wheels which look quite nice. The Sigma & Delta versions of the new Grand Vitara ride on 17-inch steel wheels with full wheel caps. The sides of the new Grand Vitara feature some rather chunky wheel arches and a blackened section on the C pillar that give the illusion of a floating roof.
The rear section of the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara also features a split lighting setup with the LED brake lights connected to the Suzuki logo in the centre underneath which you can find the Grand Vitara badging. The rear bumper also features sets of vertically stacked lights on either edge which house the other essential lights.
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Interiors - Dual Tone Differences
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara's interiors are offered in two different themes that depend on the powertrain option chosen by the customer. For the owners of the mild hybrid powertrain Grand Vitara, there is a Black and Bordeaux theme for the interior with added silver accents. Buyers of the strong hybrid version of the new Maruti Grand Vitara get an all-black interior with Champagne gold accents.
Maruti Suzuki has used soft-touch materials on many surfaces inside the Grand Vitara's cabin including the multi-layer dash, which gives it a very premium feel. However, the quality of the hard plastics used could have been a lot better. The ventilated front seats are a welcome addition for our crazy summers and the faux leather upholstery looks and feels quite premium as well.
The multi-layered dashboard is dominated by the 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system that wirelessly supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The display also can be used to access the Grand Vitara's connected car suite that adds over 40+ connected car features which users can access through the Suzuki connect app.
Below the infotainment screen sit the controls for the HVAC system, a 12V socket, the USB ports for connectivity and the wireless phone charging tray.
Depending on the model chosen you'll find either the rotary drive mode selector for the all-wheel drive model or the buttons for the strong hybrid model beside the gearbox of the new Vitara.
Other options on the Grand Vitara include a panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, a heads up display and a 360-degree camera for easier parking.
The new Grand Vitara also comes with an array of safety tech including 6 airbags, ESP, Hill Hold Assist, all wheel disc brakes, Hill Descent Control, and TPMS among others.
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Specs & Dimensions
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara is offered with two powertrain options - a 1.-5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with mild hybrid assistance and a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine strong hybrid setup.
The 1.5-litre mild hybrid setup is seen on a host of other Maruti cars including the smaller Brezza and remains untouched under the bonnet of the new Grand Vitara. The engine produces 101.6bhp and 117Nm of peak torque. The engine is offered with the choice of either a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters or a 5-speed manual that can be paired with the Suzuki All-Grip all-wheel drive system. The FWD manual delivers a claimed 21.1km/l, the AWD manual offers up 19.38km/l while the automatic ekes out 20.58km/l (all figures as per ARAI).
The 1.5-litre three-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine and strong hybrid setup is from Toyota. The engine produces 91.1bhp and 122Nm of peak torque. The motor produces 79bhp and 141Nm of peak torque. However, combined system power is capped at 114bhp. The strong hybrid setup is paired to a eCVT gearbox that sends power to the front wheels. The strong hybrid Grand Vitara delivers a class leading mileage of 27.97km/l (ARAI).
The new Suzuki Grand Vitara is 4,345mm long, 1,795mm wide and 1,645mm tall. The wheelbase of the new Grand Vitara is 2,600mm long and weighs between 1,150 and 1,295 kilos (kerb weight).
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara sports McPherson struts at the front and a Torsion beam setup at the rear with disc brakes providing the required stopping power. The front disc brakes are ventilated while the ones at the rear are solid units. The 17-inch wheels are shod with 215/6 - R17 tyres.
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Driving Impressions - A Mix Of Fun, Japanese Wizardry & Bland Boredom
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara is a mix of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde but in this case, Mr Hyde would bore rather than gore you to death except for one specific case.
Let's first talk about the Dr Jekyll side of the Grand Vitara, better known as the models with Toyota's strong hybrid setup. The strong hybrid setup is the same as the one found on the Toyota Hyryder and we found the same Japanese science/magic happening under the bonnet. In EV mode, the silence is all encompassing while Normal and Eco modes offer a lazy throttle response as the powertrain looks to sip every drop of precious petrol. Power mode provides an extra bit off oomph with a sharper response from the loud pedal.
The battery regen mode allows for single pedal driving and is for the soulless lot that plague our streets that do not derive any pleasure from driving. The CVT gearbox continues to work around in the background and looks to ensure that you drive in a laid back mode with its 'seamless' shifts.
Now let's tackle the boring Mr Hyde side of this Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. The K15C engine under the bonnet of the mild hybrid version sports the same mileage obsessive tune as the other cars in Maruti's lineup. This means that you feel a lack of power when you put your press the loud pedal on the go. The gearbox works as intended shifting through the gears rather smoothly.
However, all that lack of power doesn't seem to matter if you've chosen the Grand Vitara with Suzuki's All-Grip all-wheel drive setup. This is not some watered-down version of Suzuki's rather famous all-wheel-drive system and it allows the Grand Vitara to traverse terrain that it should have no right to cross.
There are four modes for the all-grip setup - Snow, Auto Lock and Sport. Snow mode is for the really low grip surfaces and we tested it by driving the Grand Vitara over a block of ice. In this mode, power is sent to the wheel with the most grip and it works rather nicely.
Sport mode is best suited for a bit of spirited driving as it allows the engine to send more torque to the wheels at rather gentle throttle levels for better acceleration. Power is sent to the rear wheels if and only if the need arises.
Auto mode in essence is a mostly two-wheel drive setup with power only being sent to the rear wheels when grip levels at the front are lower than expected. Lock mode ensures that the All-Grip all-wheel drive system is always active and power is equally split between the front and rear axles. We tested this mode in slush pits and the Grand Vitara just made its way through the mud without no problems at all.
The suspension setup on the new Maruti Grand Vitara is tuned to be on the softer side. This means a plush ride at slower speeds but bad vibes sometimes do enter the cabin if you travel over bad roads at higher speeds. The soft setup also leads to quite a bit of body roll, however, you can still carry good levels of speed into corners as the chassis deals with the rolling motion quite nicely.
The brakes on the Grand Vitara from Maruti Suzuki are a bit of a mixed bag. The pedal that operates the all-disc setup is quite easy to operate and doesn't have much travel but the initial bite from those metal plates could have been a whole lot better. However, once the brakes get to work, they feel quite progressive. The regen braking with the strong hybrid version aids that model's stopping performance.
Thoughts About The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara is a mix of typical Marutiness with added Toyota & Suzuki magic thrown in. While we feel Maruti Suzuki may have missed a beat with the mild hybrid setup; the All-Grip and Strong Hybrid versions along with the crazy mileage figures will ensure that people will flock into the cabin of the Grand Vitara. However, all that will depend on the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara's price tag...