There is a new model Vitara out – the Sport – which is a limited edition model, with just 100 units for sale in New Zealand.

This is what Fred Alvrez from Drive Life had to say after he took a Vitara Sport from Brendan Foot Supersite out for a road test.

The Big News here is that finally the Vitara gets a decent engine to go with its reputation. Gone is the old 1.6 litre normally aspirated engine (that the standard Vitara still runs); in its place is a jewel of a 1.4 turbo. Gone is the CVT – in its place is a decent 6-speed automatic transmission.

2016 Suzuki Vitara Sport - Drive Life Review Brendan Foot SupersiteFirst Impressions

The Sport throws itself out there as being different – and bold. A sure sign of this is the colour choice: Bright Red or Cosmic Black – and that’s it. No grey or silver! A big gamble by Suzuki, but good on them.

Our test car in Bright Red looked fantastic and stood out amongst all the other cars on the road. Does it look good, though? For me personally, it was a bit too busy in places, but I still give it credit for being different. There are many small SUVs for sale that could belong to any brand.

The Vitara sure seems a bit more grown up now, and along with that comes a pretty decent amount of interior space. In the front, passenger and driver are well taken care of for space, with the width of the cabin almost luxurious.

Rear seat passengers too are well looked after, with an abundance of rear leg room, for the size of the car. Added to that is a large boot, which has some good extra features.

I was quite surprised that our test car was only 2WD, it really has a ‘get off road’ look about the Vitara Sport. Hey if you like you can stump out just $3k and get the AWD model. Both come with skid plates front and rear for those adventurous types.

The Sport 2WD model retails at $34,990 with the AWD model at $37,990. There isn’t a huge equipment list for that price, but the engine and transmission make up for it. Still, there’s plenty of nice goodies, like a 7” touchscreen display, SD card and USB input for the audio system, reversing camera, front and rear sonar, a leather steering wheel, LED headlamps, 7 airbags, keyless entry with push-button start, Hill Hold Assist, auto wipers and lights, DRLs, alloy brake and accelerator pedals, cruise control (with speed limiter) and climate AC.

As for the mechanicals, as mentioned the 1.6 is gone in the Sport model, and a 1.4 Direct Injection turbo is fitted, with 20% more power and 40% more torque than the 1.6. There wasn’t anything really wrong with the 1.6, but it certainly got a bit thrashy when being pushed along. The new engine pumps out 103kw at 5,500rpm compared to just 86Kw for the existing model and 220nm at 4,000rpm (1.6 is 156 @ 4,400rpm).

We’ve said it again and again. It’s all about the drivetrain and the driving experience that makes the car special, not the goodies it might come with. This is so true with the Vitara Sport.

2016 Suzuki Vitara Sport - Drive Life Review Brendan Foot Supersite

What’s it like to live with?

The Sport is a no-effort, perky little runabout that also does great work on the motorway. Instant acceleration from that 1.4 makes around town driving a breeze. The steering is almost too light around town, but does load up nicely once you get some speed on. The reversing camera is super-clear, adding to the way in which the Sport lends itself nicely to shopping and everyday life. One problem I found was that the A and B pillars are quite fat – especially the A pillar. I expect this helps with safety, but it does hinder your visibility.

My time with the Sport was a solid 50/50 mix of around town and motorway driving, and it was the motorway driving that surprised me most. For a 1.4, it is extremely quiet and never thrashy, like the 1.6 can be. Suzuki have done a brilliant job with this engine, it is a gem. Acceleration at any speed on the motorway is effortless, and that 6-speed auto does its job exactly as it should.

This car can really move, surprising many drivers away from the lights and onto the motorway.

Around town too it’s very quiet and unobtrusive – in fact sometimes, I thought the engine had the feature where they turn themselves off at the lights to save gas – it really is so smooth, even at idle.

One thing to keep in mind, you are going to need to fill up with 95 octane petrol for the turbo model. Stated combined fuel economy with the turbo Vitara is 5.9 L/100km which is barely just below the 1.6 at 6.0, and guess what I got? Exactly 5.9. For the available performance of that motor (which I have to say, I did use) this is good result.

I did find though that the Sport can get a bit jittery on bumpy corners. You had to be aware on a 100km/h bend that any bumps may see the car moving sideways a bit. It’s not bad, but certainly noticeable. Otherwise cornering isn’t any real drama – sure, there’s a bit of body roll and that’s to be expected, but this isn’t trying to be a sedan or sports car. The Sport is fitted with 17” gloss black alloy wheels and 215/55 tyres.

2016 Suzuki Vitara Sport - Drive Life Review Brendan Foot Supersite

The brakes on the Sport are another excellent feature – great feel and nicely progressive. They pull up very quickly when the lights turn orange, even at motorway speeds. Simply no fuss.

On the inside, as surprise for me in the Sport was the analogue clock – a welcome feature. Centre-top of dashboard and though it had a funny sort of old-fashioned look to it, still much nicer than a digital readout.

It’s funny how little things can mean a lot, like the analogue clock. The Sport has some of the clearest instruments I’ve seen for a while. Superbly clear and legible, and nothing unnecessary added to the speedo or rev counter. Top marks, Suzuki,

There are lots of hard plastics in the interior of the Sport, but they are nicely done and the mix of cloth and leather is really impressive. The interior of the Sport is one area where any passengers will remark on just how nice it is.

While the interior of the Sport is mostly black, this is broken up with red stitching around the leather steering wheel and seats, and the red is carried over to the vents and clock. Just that splash of colour helps with what could be just a dark interior.

After a few cars in a row with badly-designed steering wheel controls, the Vitara shows how it’s done. Straight forward controls for the audio and cruise control, nothing complicated and easy to use while you are driving, as steering wheel controls should be.

Speaking of the audio system, don’t get your hopes up for a high-quality experience. It does the job just fine, but is no Bose system. It’s all about that Bass will get the doors vibrating.

The central 7” touchscreen display is another feature that’s nicely done. It’s split into 4 segments – Navigation, Audio, Phone and lastly one separate one for Apple CarPlay for SmartPhones.

Touching on any of the four segments sees it take over the screen, a simple touch of the Home button gets it back to the main screen. Dead easy. I used the SatNav on occasion, and it works very well although it’s a real shame that the SatNav directions aren’t displayed in between the speedo and rev counter, where there is already a multi-function display.

Syncing my phone with the car’s Bluetooth was easy as well and I appreciated that incoming texts can be read out by the SatNav voice by pressing a button on the car’s touchscreen.

For the Apple CarPlay system to work, you need an iPhone and must plug it in via the Apple cable – it won’t work on Bluetooth. Apple CarPlay allows you to drive your phone via the display.

Cruise control on the Sport is not radar controlled, but still does the job. It’s a shame it doesn’t give you the speed you have cruise control set at in the display, but that does still seems to be a rare (but welcome) feature of any car under $50K at the moment. Actually you can’t even get the road speed to read out in the display either – it only gives you average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption and range to empty. A real shame Suzuki haven’t taken more advantage here.

The boot in the Sport is very spacious. It also has a second floor system, so you can put wet items or ones you want to keep away from prying eyes, well away. There is a parcel tray of course, but this second storage area is extremely usable. It can be widened as well by removing some plastic pieces on the sides of the car. The actual load area is low, wide and tall. Ideal for everyday use and perfectly fitting with the SUV mind-set.

2016 Suzuki Vitara Sport - Drive Life Review Brendan Foot Supersite

What do we think?

This is a great little car. The problem is, there’s lots of great little cars in this segment.

I think if Suzuki can get people in to drive the Vitara Sport they will be sold on this car. Quick, quiet and economical – three wins right there.

I rate the Sport as 4–Chevron car. I suggest if you are looking at a smaller-SUV, you should add the Sport to your list quickly, before these 100 units are gone.

Thanks to Fred Alvrez and Drive Life for this review. The full review with more images can be read on their website

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Greytown Weekend & Getaway Car Competition Terms & Conditions, 1 Nov 2021 to 20 February 2022

Win your choice of new car from Brendan Foot Supersite’s selection to take for a night for two at The White Swan Hotel in Greytown!

1. Promotion Description
The Promotion involves registrants and official volunteers for the 2022 Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays who are 25 years or older selecting a vehicle from a competition page on the Brendan Foot Supersite website. Before the 2022 Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays event on 20 February 2022 ten lucky people will win for their personal use a prize consisting of:

Their chosen vehicle to be used in conjunction with a one night stay in a Deluxe suite plus breakfast for two at The White Swan Hotel in Greytown.

The winners will be selected randomly after registration has closed.
The winners will be contacted by the Promoter using the contact details provided in that entrant’s registration. If the Promoter is unable to contact any winner, or that winner does not respond to the Promoter’s contact within 24 hours of the draw, then that winner forfeits the Prize and the Promoter will draw another winner to a total of ten prizes.

2. Terms and Conditions
By registering for this Promotion you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

3. Registration
a) You must have registered for the 2022 Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays, or signed up to be an official volunteer for the event.
b) The Registration Period closes 4pm on 19 February 2022.
c) Register via during the Promotion Period and complete the registration form. Entry details must be the same as provided for Round the Bays registration.
d) You must be 25 years or older.
e) By registering for the Promotion you will go into the draw to win the vehicle selected on the Getaway Car page, and a night for two at The White Swan Hotel Deluxe suite, plus breakfast for two.
f) Only one entry for the Greytown Weekend & Getaway Car competition per 2022 Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays registration, or per official volunteer.
g) A 2022 Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays Family Registration qualifies for one entry in the Greytown Weekend & Getaway Car Competition.

4. Prize
Choose Your Get-Away Car and night for two at The White Swan Hotel
Each of the ten winners of the Greytown Weekend & Getaway Car Competition will have for their personal use:
Their chosen vehicle to be used in conjunction with a one night stay in a Deluxe suite plus breakfast for two at The White Swan Hotel in Greytown, to be taken before 1 December 2022.
The accommodation is subject to availability and is to be booked directly with The White Swan.
The winner will need to contact Brendan Foot Supersite two weeks in advance of the date the vehicle is required. The vehicle is to be collected from Brendan Foot Supersite on the day of the accommodation booking and returned the day after. The vehicle collection and return are to be at agreed times and these will be within Brendan Foot Supersite’s opening hours.
Any other costs or charges associated with the vehicle or accommodation use are the responsibility of the prize winner, NOT Brendan Foot Supersite.
In the case that their chosen vehicle is not available the winner will be contacted and offered other choice/s. Specification and vehicle colour will be subject to availability.
The winner will be required to have a full New Zealand Driver’s Licence which is current and correct with no impairments pending, and sign a Loan Vehicle Agreement which outlines conditions covering vehicle driver responsibilities, damage, insurance excess of $3,000, fines and regular maintenance.
Brendan Foot Supersite will have the right to inspect the vehicle at their request during the loan period.
Any damage must be reported to Brendan Foot Supersite as soon as possible after the damage occurred. Reasonable wear and tear of the vehicle will be accepted. Any excess wear and tear may be subject to charges to return the vehicle to a suitable state.
No modification or maintenance of the vehicle is permitted.

5. General
a) This Promotion is not open to employees of the Promoter, Nuku Ora, and their families, its related companies, agents and affiliates.
b) The winner is responsible for all additional costs in excess of the prize value.
c) The prize is not redeemable for cash.
d) The Promoter’s decision on all matters is final and no correspondence or discussion will be entered into.
e) You agree that if you participate in the Promotion, your name and photograph or any footage from the Promotion may be used for publicity purposes in all media by the Promoter, without remuneration.
f) To the extent permitted by law, the Promoter and Nuku Ora and any other person or party associated with this Promotion shall not be liable to you in respect of any loss, damage or injury whatsoever (including, but not limited to, any direct, indirect, and/or consequential loss or damage), including personal injury suffered as a result of, or arising in connection with, the Promotion or winning (or not winning) the prize.
g) The winner may designate someone else to accept the prize on their behalf only with prior approval from the Promoter. If the winner is unable or unwilling to accept the prize, the Promoter may choose an alternate winner.
h) The Promoter is committed to protecting your privacy. The Promoter will collect and use your details for the purposes of running this Promotion and in accordance with these terms and conditions. The Promoter may also use your details to send you marketing and promotional material. You can access and request correction of your personal information, or unsubscribe from any further communication by contacting the Promoter on 04 587 0005 or sending a message to You can also unsubscribe from any Brendan Foot Supersite emails at the bottom of the message. If you unsubscribe you won’t be contacted by The Promoter again.
i) These terms and conditions are governed by New Zealand law and any dispute arising out of or in connection with them will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts.
j) Brendan Foot Supersite is the promoter of this Promotion and may modify these terms and conditions at any time without notice. The Promoter reserves the right to cancel, suspend or change the Promotion or any element of the Promotion for any reason, including any cancellation, suspension or change necessitated by any event outside of Promoter’s control.