WHILE Suzuki’s Jimny is all-new, the just-released Vitara Series II is little more than a mild makeover of its popular little SUV.

However, the Vitara range has been trimmed and prices have gone slightly north, although the two turbo models have been given more safety gear.

The good-looking and respected vehicle now comes in a choice of just three: a normally aspirated 1.6-litre front-wheel drive with 6-speed manual or auto transmission, an auto-only front-wheel drive Turbo and an auto-only Turbo AllGrip – Suzi-speak for all wheel drive.

There’s no diesel option.

All get a front sliding arm rest, soft touch dash and an improved 4.2-inch colour display in the dashboard cluster.  

The successful mechanicals of the previous model have all been retained.

The base Vitara has a 88kW/156Nm motor, while the turbo editions are powered by a 103kW/220Nm 1.4-litre.

They cost $22,490 for the 6-speed manual and the auto option adds $2000. That’s an increase of $500.

The Turbo autos are up by $1000 to $29,990 for the front-wheel driver and the All-Grip is $33,990.

Standard on the turbo models is a suite of safety upgrades, including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, weaving alert, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

In the base models, drivers will have to use their own faculties to avoid flattening pedestrians who choose to ignore vehicular traffic and have a look in the more than adequate mirrors to see what’s alongside, or behind.

Turbo variants also have premium suede-covered seats with geometric patterns and the AllGrip jobbie has hill descent control and a panoramic sunroof.

Vitaras come in a considerable choice of colours and colour combinations, though all but Cool White incurs another dip into the Visacard.

For an extra $500 buyers can have Silky Silver Metallic or Cosmic Black Pearl Metallic, but if you opt for a two-tone, you’ll get hit for $1250.

Still, they look jolly good in two tone: a black roof with the body in Bright Red, Atlantis Turquoise Pearl, Savannah Ivory, Galactic Grey or Solar Yellow.

Some of the latter come with not just a black roof, but a Cosmic Black Pearl Metallic one.

The new Vitara comes with a 5-star safety rating and Suzuki’s 5 year capped price service warranty program — and in a first for the brand, roadside assist.

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Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.