Suzuki Vitara

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Suzuki Vitara
2016 Suzuki Vitara SZ5 Rugged 1.6.jpg
Manufacturer Suzuki
Body and chassis

The Suzuki Vitara is a series of SUV produced by Suzuki in four generations since 1988. The second and third generation models were known as the Suzuki Grand Vitara, with the fourth and current series eschewing the "Grand" prefix. In Japan and a number of other markets, all generations have used the name Suzuki Escudo.


The original series was designed to fill the slot above the Suzuki Jimny. The first generation was known as Suzuki Sidekick in the United States. The North American version was produced as a joint venture between Suzuki and General Motors known as CAMI. The Sidekick was sold in various badges such as the Geo Tracker ( Chevrolet Tracker beginning 1998 model year) in the United States, and as the GMC Tracker, Chevrolet Tracker , Asüna Sunrunner and Pontiac Sunrunner in Canada. It was also sold as the Santana 300 and 350 in Spain. In the Japanese market, it was also sold as the Mazda Proceed Levante.

The second generation was launched in 1998 under the "Grand Vitara" badge in most markets. It was accompanied by a still larger SUV known as the Suzuki XL-7 (known as Grand Escudo in Japan). The third generation was launched in 2005.

The fourth generation, released in 2015, reverted to the original name "Vitara" in most markets, but shifted from an off-road SUV towards a more road-oriented crossover style. It shares the platform and many components with the SX4 S-Cross, a compact crossover in a similar class. [1]

The choice of the name ”Vitara” was inspired by the English word “vital,” as in “vitality.” [2] While the "Escudo" name is derived from the "escudo", the monetary unit of Portugal before adoption of the Euro.

First generation (ET/TA; 1988)

First generation (ET/TA)
Suzuki Sidekick 2-door.jpg
Suzuki Sidekick 2-door resin top convertible (US; pre-facelift)
Also called
  • Suzuki Escudo (Japan/Indonesia)
  • Suzuki Sidekick (North America/Indonesia)
  • Mazda Proceed Levante (Japan)
  • Santana 300/350 (Europe/South America)
  • Chevrolet Tracker
  • (United States/Canada)
  • Geo Tracker (United States)
  • GMC Tracker (Canada)
  • Pontiac Sunrunner (Canada)
  • Asüna Sunrunner (Canada)
  • Wanli WLZ5020XLD (China)
    Guangtong GTQ5020XLZ (China)
  • Chevrolet Vitara (Ecuador/Colombia/Venezuela)
Production1988–1998 (continued to be produced in Indonesia until 2001 and Spain until 2006)
Model years 1989–1999
Body and chassis
Class Mini SUV
Body style
  • 2/3-door: 2,200 mm (86.6 in)
  • 5-door: 2,480 mm (97.6 in)
  • 2/3-door: 3,560–3,720 mm (140.2–146.5 in)
  • 5-door: 3,975–4,200 mm (156.5–165.4 in)
  • Regular model: 1,635–1,655 mm (64.4–65.2 in)
  • 5-door Nomade/Sport: 1,695 mm (66.7 in)
  • 2/3-door: 1,665–1,705 mm (65.6–67.1 in)
  • 5-door: 1,700–1,725 mm (66.9–67.9 in)
Curb weight
  • 2/3-door: 950–1,140 kg (2,094–2,513 lb)
  • 5-door: 1,170–1,420 kg (2,579–3,131 lb)
1992-1994 Suzuki Vitara (SE416C Type2) JX softtop 02.jpg
Suzuki Vitara JX 2-door soft top convertible (Australia; pre-facelift)
1998 Suzuki Vitara JX H 1.6 Front.jpg
Suzuki Vitara JX 3-door hardtop (UK; facelift)
1995 Suzuki Vitara (SE416W Type3) JX wagon (2015-06-18) 02.jpg
Suzuki Vitara JX 5-door (Australia; facelift)
Suzuki Sidekick Sport 5-door (US), also known as Escudo Nomade in Japan and Vitara V6 in other markets.
1997-1998 Suzuki Vitara (SV420) 2.0 V6 4WD 5-Door Wagon (11-07-2017) 03.jpg
Suzuki Vitara V6 5-door (Thailand), also known as Escudo Nomade in Japan and Sidekick Sport in North America.

Suzuki Escudo was first introduced in the Japanese domestic market in July 1988. North American Sidekick became available for model year 1989 as a 2-door convertible or hardtop. A fuel injected 80 hp (60 kW) 1.6-litre, 8-valve, four-cylinder Suzuki G16A engine was available on the JX and JLX. 1990 brought the deletion of the upscale JLX version. A carburetted version without a catalytic converter was available for some markets; this model produces 75 PS (55 kW) at 5250 rpm. [4]

In August 1990, the Japanese market received a 16-valve G16B engine with 100 PS (73.5 kW) as well as an optional 4-speed automatic. [4] At the same time, the commercial Van version was discontinued. Three months later a 5-door version with a lengthened wheelbase was introduced; it was sold as the "Escudo Nomade" in Japan. It was thought that the 5-door would overlap with the shorter 3-door in the market; instead, it appealed to a whole new segment and sales in the domestic Japanese market doubled as a result. [5] 1991 brought the introduction of rear anti-lock brakes. European deliveries of the five-door version began in the summer of 1991. [4]

Mazda Proceed Levante (Japan) Mazda Proceed Levante 001.JPG
Mazda Proceed Levante (Japan)

In December 1994, a 2.0 V6 (Suzuki's first six-cylinder) and a 2.0-litre Mazda-sourced turbodiesel were added; in return, Mazda got to sell the Escudo in the Japanese market as the Mazda Proceed Levante. A diesel option arrived in Europe in early 1996. In 1996 the Vitara received a facelift, which meant that the V6 was upsized to 2.5 litres while a 2.0-litre four-cylinder was slotted into the range. In Japan, the "Nomade" tag was dropped from the five-door Escudos. For the 1996 model year, Suzuki introduced the Suzuki X-90 which was mechanically identical to the Escudo/Vitara but had a much rounder body, a trunk, and removable T-bar roof. [6] The Suzuki X-90 disappeared from Suzuki's lineup after the 1998 model year. The Sport variant was replaced by the Grand Vitara in 1999.

Foreign markets

North America

When introduced in 1988, the Sidekick was available with three trim levels (JA, JX and JLX) and two engines (1.3-litre 8-valve Suzuki G13BA engine 64 hp (48 kW) and 1.6-litre 8-valve Suzuki G16A engine 80 hp (60 kW)). The 1.3-litre engine was only available in JA trim with 2-door convertible body style. [3] For the 1992 model year a 95 hp (71 kW), 1.6-litre, 16-valve Suzuki G16B engine was introduced to the United States. The original Sidekick was updated in 1996 with a new Sport version available with 120 hp (89 kW), 1.8-litre 16-valve four-cylinder Suzuki J18 engine. [7] The Sport also had dual airbags, two-tone paint and 16-inch alloy wheels. 1993 brought an update of the dash in conjunction with the exterior. There is also a very limited edition named Vitara Rossini which came in metallic pink with a cream leather interior, only 250 of this model were produced worldwide.


Suzuki Vitara Rebel 3-door hardtop (Australia) 1997 Suzuki Vitara (SE416V Type5) Rebel hardtop (2010-09-20).jpg
Suzuki Vitara Rebel 3-door hardtop (Australia)

In Australia, there were two models available. The Vitara JX and the Vitara JLX. The JLX offered powered windows and body-coloured bumpers. Both versions featured the 1.6-litre engine: G16A (carburettor) in the 2-door, G16B (SOHC EFI) in the 4-door, introduced 1992, 2-doors got G16B from 1994. In May 1997, Suzuki introduced the 1995 cc J20 2.0-litre 16-valve DOHC engine with both soft top and hardtop three-door models. This engine was rated at 97 kW (130 hp) at 6300 rpm. At the same time the 5-door models received the 1998 cc H20A 2.0-litre V6. Engine power rated for the five-door V6 models was at 100 kW (134 hp) at 6500 rpm. Some of the 1.6-litre variant for the 3-door models were named the Suzuki Vitara Rebel. Many paint or trim or sticker-variants appeared as marketing exercises during the model's run in Australia. All models in Australia were sold as four-wheel drives. Early 3-door automatics featured a 3-speed transmission, allegedly derived from a Peugeot unit, which was not as robust as the later Suzuki-built 4-speed electronic overdrive auto transmission. The rear diff on the 1st series Vitara was colloquially-known as "the Japanese 9-inch" as it was a very strong diff and hard to damage, even with oversized tyres. The front diffs were less strong, those with the aluminium-cased housing the weakest. The front diff with steel housing was not as widely available but is sought after by modifiers.


Suzuki Sidekick (front), Denpasar.jpg
Suzuki Sidekick (rear), Denpasar.jpg
Indonesian-built 1995–2001 Suzuki Sidekick 5-door

In Indonesia Suzuki only sold the 5-door model, first introduced as the Suzuki Vitara in August 1992. [8] Suzuki launched a two-wheel drive (rear wheel drive) version labelled the Suzuki Escudo in late 1993 to target the urban-driver market and to evade higher taxes on four-wheel-drive vehicles, while the four-wheel-drive Vitara with 1.6-litre 8-valve G16A carburettor engine remained available until May 1994. The Suzuki Escudo sales began in early 1994 as cheaper rear-wheel drive version of Vitara. In April 1995, Suzuki introduced the Sidekick, a lower specification version of the Escudo, as the entry level model. Indonesia is the only market in the world which received all three different names of the Escudo. Later, only 5-door models with the 1.6-litre petrol engine were offered, with no automatic transmission. In early 1995, the Vitara received a 1.6-litre 16-valve G16B engine with fuel-injection system and was marketed as Vitara EPI (Electronic Petrol Injection). However, due to the much higher price that the earlier Vitara, the Vitara EPI sold poorly, discontinued in late 1995 and was later considered a collector item due to its rarity. Also in 1995, the Escudo/Sidekick got a new interior and new front grille, another additional variant called Escudo Nomade with two-tone color also introduced later. In 1996, 1.6-litre 16-valve G16B engine was introduced for Escudo/Sidekick range, but still with carburettor. Another variant called Sidekick Drag One was introduced in 1997, this variant was placed between the basic Sidekick and Escudo. Escudo Nomade was axed around 1999, but other models continued to be available until 2001. [8]


2008 Santana 300 (3804596514).jpg
Santana 300 3-door hardtop (Spain)
2006 Santana 350 (3746804809).jpg
Santana 350 5-door (Spain)
1998 Suzuki Vitara 1.9TD Hardtop, front left (Portugal).jpg
Pre-facelift Suzuki Vitara 3-door hardtop with 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine (Portugal)
Suzuki Vitara restyling Italia 1999.jpg
Facelifted Suzuki Vitara 5-door with 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine (Italy)

The Vitara was an immediate success across Europe. Italy had enacted a law which allowed off-roaders to bypass EEC quotas on Japanese imports, allowing the Vitara to be sold there without limits. In 1988, however, Italy's Ministry of Foreign Commerce enacted a law requiring "at least one differential lock" for a vehicle to be considered an off-roader - a requirement not met by the Vitara. Thus, from 1 January 1989 the Vitara became subject to the quota in the Italian market as well, as it was now classified as a passenger car. [9] In early 1996 European markets began receiving a diesel model.

Santana Motor built these vehicles and sold them both as the Santana 300/350 and as the Suzuki Vitara, to circumvent the EEC quota on Japanese imports. The 300 and 350 have round headlights and taillights, and is the only version of the car to have fog lights fitted in the front bumper from factory. The Spanish-built Vitara models, on the other hand, look nearly identical to the Japanese-built models, sporting a Suzuki logo in the grille. Steel and paint quality is different between the Spanish and Japanese-built models, both commonly found throughout Europe. Therefore, the Spanish-built Vitaras and 300/350s are more prone to rusting in northern European climates than Japanese-built counterparts of the same age and mileage. In addition, these vehicles had less insulation than the Japanese ones since they were built for warmer climates. Some of these have also been exported to South America. Some of the notable differences between the Japanese and Spanish models are different wheels, different paint schemes and details, different side plastic trim, interior details on the Spanish ones in fake wood, and the VIN code letters.

In the United Kingdom, two additional body kit models were offered. Some two-door models were sold with an OEM body kit called Wideboy, which had wider wheel arches, sidesteps and 8 inch wide alloy wheels. The Fatboy was also a popular bodykit conversion, offered by the company Suzi Qs, located in Oldbury, Birmingham, UK. The Fatboy converted models had different trim levels, where most sported Cooper Cobra tires, 10 inch wide alloy wheels, different taillights integrated into the rear bumper, in addition to extra styling options like mud flaps, sidesteps, an A-shaped bullbar and auxiliary high beam lights.

The Suzuki Vitara Commercial was available in the UK. It was a Santana-built 3-door tintop Vitara panel van, with no rear windows. The Vitara Commercial had the JX 1.9 TD trim level, and sported a Peugeot XUD9 1.9-litre diesel engine. In 1999, the 1.9-litre diesel engine was replaced by more modern 2.0-litre DW10 HDi turbodiesel engine.

In Norway, a modified version of the 5-door version with a taller glass fibre roof were sold with green van registration plates to bypass some tax laws. These models had no rear seats and a grille separating the front seats and the rear compartment. In addition, these had longitudinal roof rails and special custom made, removable transverse roof bars. [10] Normal roof racks intended to be mounted in the raingutters do fit on the longitudinal rails, but do stand taller than normal raingutter mounted ones. Many of these were later converted to 5-seat passenger cars with normal white registration plates. [11] All Vitaras sold in Norway (and other Scandinavian countries) were modified to have the low beams automatically turn on with the engine running, similarly to DRLs on the CAMI versions of the car.

Another modified version of the 5-door was available in the Netherlands. It was a van similarly to the Norwegian one, but had a different glass fibre roof replacement.

Official production for this generation ended in 2006 with the end of the Santana 300/350.

Second generation (FT/GT; 1998)

Second generation (FT/GT)
99-01 Suzuki Grand Vitara.jpg
1997–2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara 5-door (US)
Also called
  • Chevrolet Tracker
  • Mazda Proceed Levante
  • Suzuki Escudo
    Suzuki Grand Vitara
  • Chevrolet Grand Vitara
Model years 1999–2005
Body and chassis
Body style
Related Suzuki XL-7
  • 3-door: 2,200 mm (86.6 in)
  • 5-door: 2,480 mm (97.6 in)
  • 3-door: 3,810 mm (150.0 in)
  • 5-door: 4,090–4,155 mm (161.0–163.6 in)
  • 3-door: 1,695 mm (66.7 in)
  • 5-door: 1,780–1,840 mm (70.1–72.4 in)
Height1,685–1,740 mm (66.3–68.5 in)
Curb weight 3-door:
  • 1,180–1,280 kg (2,601–2,822 lb)
  • 5-door: 1,260–1,460 kg (2,778–3,219 lb)
Suzuki Escudo 202.JPG
1997–2000 Suzuki Escudo 3-door (Japan)
Suzuki Grand Vitara rear 20080820.jpg
2000–2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2-door soft top convertible (Europe)

Suzuki announced the second generation model in November 1997. [12] Slightly larger, more expensive, and more powerful, it used a light-duty automobile-type rack-and-pinion steering box instead of the recirculating ball truck unit used in the first generation. The three-door version remained in the mini SUV class while the five-door version moved up to a compact SUV. In most international markets the name "Grand Vitara" was adopted. In many markets it was originally only available with larger (two litres and up) engines while the earlier Vitara was still available with smaller engines. In the United Kingdom, a 1.6-litre Grand Vitara (the GV1600) arrived in early 2001. [13]

Suzuki ESCUDO 5door V6-2.5 (LA-TD62W) front.jpg
Suzuki ESCUDO 5door V6-2.5 (LA-TD62W) rear.jpg
2000–2005 Suzuki Escudo 5-door (Japan)
Suzuki Escudo HELLY HANSEN Limited 4WD TL52W.JPG
Suzuki Escudo HELLY HANSEN Limited 4WD TL52W Rear.JPG
2003 Suzuki Escudo Helly Hansen Limited (Japan)
Mazda Proceed Levante 201.JPG
1997–2000 Mazda Proceed Levante (Japan)

The Vitara continued using Escudo name in Japan and Indonesia. Mazda also continued selling rebadged Escudo in Japan as Proceed Levante until 2000 when it was replaced by Mazda Tribute.

'02-'03 Suzuki Vitara Convertible.JPG
2000–2002 Suzuki Vitara 2-door soft top convertible (Canada)
'02-'03 Suzuki Vitara 4-Door.JPG
2002–2003 Suzuki Vitara 5-door (Canada)
2002 Suzuki Grand Vitara TD 2.0.jpg
2002–2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara TD 5-door (United Kingdom)
2004–2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara 5-door (US)

It received its facelift in 2000, 2002 and again in 2004. As of 2003, the smaller Suzuki Vitara has been withdrawn from the North American market. Sales were slow, with just 4,860 sold in 2004 for the United States. In Canada, sales were strong. All North American Vitaras were built at CAMI Automotive in Ingersoll, Ontario and in the Riverside facilities. The soft-top was only built in North America, with European export models assembled in Canada. The three-door wagon was brought in from Japan for European buyers and sold alongside the Canadian-made convertibles. [13] The 2001 model Suzuki Grand Vitara comes standard as a 2.0-litre 4WD vehicle in New Zealand.

Grand Escudo

Suzuki XL-7 (US) 01-03 Suzuki XL-7.jpg
Suzuki XL-7 (US)

In 1998, The Grand Escudo arrived, a longer, slightly larger, pricier and more powerful version of the regular five-door. The Japanese market Grand Escudo was sold in North America and Chile as the Suzuki XL-7. In Australia, Europe and India it was marketed as the Grand Vitara XL-7. In Indonesia, it was sold as Grand Escudo XL-7.

Chevrolet Tracker

Chevrolet Tracker (Mexico) 2006-08 Chevy Tracker.jpg
Chevrolet Tracker (Mexico)

A rebadged version was sold in North America by General Motors as the Chevrolet Tracker. The Tracker is sold in Latin America - excluding Mexico - as Chevrolet Grand Vitara. In Mexico, Grand Vitara and Tracker are different vehicles, sold by Suzuki and Chevrolet respectively. In Chile, the five-door Grand Vitara was known as Grand Nomade.

Third generation (JT; 2005)

Third generation (JT)
Suzuki Grand Vitara II front 20100513.jpg
Suzuki Grand Vitara (2005–2008)
Also called
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara
  • Suzuki Escudo
  • Suzuki Grand Nomade (Chile) [14]
  • Chevrolet Grand Vitara (Ecuador)
Production2005–2017 (extended production continues for some markets until 2019)
Body and chassis
Class Compact SUV
Body style 3 and 5-door SUV
  • 3-door: 2,440 mm (96.1 in)
  • 5-door: 2,640 mm (103.9 in)
  • 3-door: 3,950–4,005 mm (155.5–157.7 in)
  • 5-door: 4,390–4,500 mm (172.8–177.2 in)
Width1,810 mm (71.3 in)
Height1,695 mm (66.7 in)
Curb weight 1,420–1,710 kg (3,130.6–3,769.9 lb)
Successor Suzuki Across (Europe)
2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara (JB MY09) Prestige 5-door wagon (2010-10-01).jpg
5-door SUV
2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara (JB MY09) Urban 5-door wagon (2010-10-16).jpg

An all new redesigned Grand Vitara (called Escudo in Japan or Grand Nomade in Chile) was introduced for the 2005 model year. The third generation received significant changes over the outgoing model. The ladder-frame construction was replaced with unibody construction which featured a unique built-in ladder frame to improve stiffness and ground clearance while also reducing the floor height. [15] The outgoing model's front MacPherson strut suspension was retained while the rear solid axle was replaced with a fully independent multi-link suspension. [16] Depending on the market, engine options included a 1.6L inline four (125 hp), 2.0L inline four (156 hp), 2.7L V6 (185 hp) and a 1.9L Renault-sourced diesel engine (127 hp). [17] [16]

The engine and transmission are longitudinally mounted unlike most front-wheel drive based compact SUVs in its class. Engines are available with either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. The Grand Vitara is available in both rear-wheel drive only models (for the Australian market) or with a 4-mode all-wheel drive system. [18] [19]

3-door SUV Suzuki Grand Vitara rear 20070902.jpg
3-door SUV

The most widely available Escudo is the 5-door version, but a three-door version is also available in some markets such as in Japan, Australia, (parts of the) Middle East, New Zealand and (most of) South America. In some markets the three-door variant drops the "Grand" to be branded simply "Vitara". In some countries, including Chile the 5-door version is named "Grand Nomade".

A commonly held misconception is that the third generation Grand Vitara is related to the GM Theta platform. The two are completely unrelated and were developed separately by GM and Suzuki and share no components.

The 1.6 L M16A I4 (petrol) is available in the Base-spec 3-Door version in Japan, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Kuwait, Peru, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The Base-spec 5-Door also has this engine in El Salvador. This engine is only available in conjunction with a 5-Speed Manual.

The 2.0 L J20A I4 (petrol) is available in the Base-spec 3-Door form in Uruguay. The Base-spec 5-Door version also has this engine in Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Qatar, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal and Uruguay. This engine is only available with a 5-Speed Manual except for Bolivia and Qatar, where the 4×4 2.0 has a 4-Speed Automatic Transmission available. In Bangladesh, this is the only engine available (in conjunction with a 4-Speed Automatic and a 5-Door body).


Suzuki Grand Vitara (2008-2011) 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited 2 -- 05-12-2010.jpg
Suzuki Grand Vitara (2008–2011)
Suzuki Escudo Salomon Limited Suzuki ESCUDO 2.4 SALOMON Limited (CBA-TDA4W) front.jpg
Suzuki Escudo Salomon Limited

In the second half of 2008, the Suzuki Grand Vitara was given a facelift and two new engines. A Suzuki 2.4L inline four is offered producing 124 kW (169 PS; 166 hp) of power and 221 N⋅m (163 lb⋅ft) of torque. The previous 2.7L Suzuki V6 is replaced with a GM-sourced 3.2L V6. The V6 is only offered in the flagship prestige model which produces 172 kW (234 PS; 231 hp) of power and 289 N⋅m (213 lb⋅ft) of torque. Fuel economy has also been improved with the addition of VVT to both engines and the 1.9L Turbo-Diesel has also received some mechanical work improving its economy. Safety has also been improved with more air-bags and traction control being standard on all models. The four mode four-wheel-drive system is also available on all models. It features a lockable central differential along with low ratio gears. Subtle improvements were made on the exterior of the car such as indicators in the door mirrors and a more pronounced front grille and bumper. The interior also saw a lot of more aesthetically pleasing changes.

The 2.4 L J24B l4 (petrol) is available in all countries where it is sold (except for Bangladesh). It is also the only engine available in some markets. In Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Oman, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and the United Arab Emirates, this engine is only offered in conjunction with a 4-Speed Automatic or a 5-speed manual for India.


Suzuki Grand Vitara (2012-2019) Suzuki Grand Vitara (facelift, Jamaica).jpg
Suzuki Grand Vitara (2012–2019)

In the second quarter of 2012 for the 2013 model year, Suzuki unveiled a facelift Escudo with new wheels, a new grille and front lights. The V6 engine was discontinued from here on. Starting with this facelift, the Grand Vitara in Indonesia is now a rebadged Escudo, imported from Japan.


Suzuki officially discontinued the third generation Escudo in Japan in April 2017 (however it would continue in production for export). In Indonesia, the third generation Grand Vitara was discontinued in 2018. It was also no longer available in Europe, CIS countries and SE Asia. It was no longer listed on the Suzuki Philippines website, as of January 2019, indicating that it was no longer available. [20] In Iran, it was discontinued in July 2019 due to the shortage of CKD parts in Iran Khodro's facilities, low sales, and the political tensions and sanctions.

As of July 2019, the Grand Vitara was removed from the Suzuki Australia website and it had been withdrawn from sale, and in South Africa, it was officially discontinued in October 2019 with sales well into 2020.

Fourth generation (LY; 2015)

Fourth generation (LY)
2015 Suzuki Vitara (New Zealand).jpg
Suzuki Vitara (pre-facelift)
Also calledSuzuki Escudo (Japan)
Body and chassis
Class Subcompact crossover SUV
Body style 5-door SUV
Wheelbase 2,500 mm (98.4 in)
Length4,175 mm (164.4 in)
Width1,775 mm (69.9 in)
Height1,610 mm (63.4 in)
Curb weight 1,075–1,265 kg (2,370.0–2,788.8 lb)
Suzuki Vitara 1.6 Comfort+ (IV) - Heckansicht, 8. August 2015, Dusseldorf.jpg
Rear view (pre-facelift)
2015 Suzuki Vitara SZ5 Rugged Allgrip 1.6.jpg
Suzuki Vitara Rugged Pack
2018 Suzuki Vitara S Boosterjet Allgrip 1.4.jpg
Suzuki Vitara S
Suzuki Vitara - wnetrze (MSP16).jpg

The fourth generation Vitara was presented at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. [22] Its production (by Magyar Suzuki) parallels the third generation. The Vitara went on sale in Japan as the fourth generation Suzuki Escudo on 15 October 2015.

Unlike the previous generations, the all-new fourth generation model was changed from the traditional ladder frame SUV platform to a lightweight unibody platform, shared with Suzuki SX4 S-Cross. The engine position and layout also changed from longitudinal rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive layout to transverse front-wheel drive/all-wheel drive layout. It is now a subcompact crossover SUV, with 140 mm (5.5 in) shorter wheelbase, 325 mm (12.8 in) shorter body, 85 mm (3.3 in) lower and 35 mm (1.4 in) narrower than the previous generation Grand Vitara, making the Vitara easier to drive on narrow roads and tight parking spaces. [23] [24] This new generation of Grand Vitara features a 5-speed manual transmission for the 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 6-speed manual transmission for the 1.6-litre diesel engine. A 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is also available for the 1.6-litre petrol engine. [25] It has a luggage space of 375 l (VDA), expanding to 1160 l with rear seats folded. [26]

Suzuki released a special version of the fourth generation Suzuki Vitara called the Vitara S or Vitara Sport in some markets. The Vitara S features a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine "Boosterjet", which delivers 103 kW (138 hp; 140 PS) and 220 N⋅m (162 lb⋅ft), 20 percent more power and 40 percent more torque over the standard 1.6-litre petrol engine. The engine, shared with the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross facelift 2017, is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission as standard. It was first available in 4WD "Allgrip" only until summer 2016 and after that again since 2017; starting with autumn 2016 the 2WD system is available for the S variant. The Vitara S also comes with several cosmetic changes over other Vitara trim levels including leather/suede sports seats with red stitching, aluminum sports pedals, red LED headlamp surrounds, distinctive five-slotted grille and black alloy wheels.

2019 facelift

Suzuki unveiled a renewed version of the Vitara at the 2018 Paris Motor Show [27] [28] in milestone of its 30th anniversary in 2018. [29] [30] Changes include a heightened front bumper to give space for the millimeter-wave radar at the front. The conventional digital multi-information display was replaced with a 4.2" colour LCD MID. Like the Jimny and Swift, Suzuki Safety Support was also adopted for the model which includes a collision avoidance system (Dual Sensor Brake Support) and a traffic sign recognition function.

Starting from 2020, all engine for European market Vitara was replaced by a new Euro 6d compliant 1.4-litre Boosterjet petrol engine with mild hybrid technology.

Limited and special editions

In August 2018, Changan Suzuki launched a special edition Vitara called "Stars Edition" for Chinese market. It comes with rose gold colored body, headlights, interior and new grille design. It is only available with 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and paired with 6-speed manual transmission. [31]

A limited edition called "Vitara Katana" was introduced for Italian market in November 2019. This limited edition Vitara pays tribute to the new Suzuki Katana 1000 sport bike. It is based on the 1.0-litre Boosterjet model with manual transmission and can be ordered with front-wheel drive, or with the renowned Suzuki AllGrip all-wheel drive sistem. [32] Austrian market also received similar limited edition in September 2020, but based on the 1.4-litre Boosterjet hybrid AllGrip model. [33] [34] Both available in Metallic Silver or Black colors and limited to 100 units.

A limited edition was made specifically for Mexico named "Cristal" in October 2019. It is only limited to 290 units. [35]

In Japan, a special edition for Escudo called "S Limited" was announced in November 2020. [36] This special edition has similar concept like the Chinese market Vitara Stars Edition, but with brown colored headlights, interior, wheels and silver stainless steel pedal. [37]

Limited edition of Vitara Hybrid called "Style" with Urban Pack accessories and an extended 5-year or 150.000 km warranty was announced in April 2021 for Czech Republic. It is limited only to 200 units. [38]


Calendar YearEurope [39] China [40] Mexico
201981,8603,7176,632 [41]
202043,7271034,681 [42]


Euro NCAP 2015 Suzuki Vitara [43]
Euro NCAP Safety RatingStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg
Adult Occupant89%
Child Occupant85%
Safety Assists75%
ANCAP 2015 Suzuki Vitara [44]
ANCAP Safety RatingStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg
Frontal Offset14.79/16
Side Impact16.00/16
Whiplash ProtectionGood
Pedestrian ProtectionGood
Seat Belt Reminders3.0/3
Overall Score35.79/37
Rating Year/Datestamp:2015
AirbagsDual Frontal, Side, Head, Knee


The V6 Escudo, which between 1996-2000 finished runner-up at Pikes Peak three times and won at Queenstown three times. Suzuki Escudo.jpg
The V6 Escudo, which between 1996–2000 finished runner-up at Pikes Peak three times and won at Queenstown three times.

In 1994, Suzuki built a twin-engined Escudo to compete in hillclimbing. It featured two heavily modified turbocharged 1.6-litre G16B (with G13B DOHC cylinder head) inline-four engines – one at the front driving the front wheels and one at the rear driving the rear wheels – with a combined power output of 900 PS (662 kW; 888 hp). The car had a curb weight of 900 kg (1,984 lb). [45] Driven by Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima, it finished fifth overall at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1994 and won the event outright in 1995, making Tajima the first Japanese driver to win the event. [46]

For 1996, Suzuki produced a new Escudo for hillclimbing which had a single twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre H20A V6 engine with a power output of 600 PS (441 kW; 592 hp) and 70 kg⋅m (686 N⋅m; 506 lb⋅ft) of torque for the prototype version, [47] the racing version has higher power output, produces 800 PS (588 kW; 789 hp) and 80 kg⋅m (785 N⋅m; 579 lb⋅ft). [48] [49] In 1997, Suzuki upgraded the Escudo with a bigger 2.5-litre H25A V6 engine with a power output of 995 PS (981 hp; 732 kW) at 8100 rpm and 95 kg⋅m (932 N⋅m; 687 lb⋅ft). [50] It had four-wheel drive and weighed 800 kg (1,764 lb). [50] For 1998, the engine was replaced by twin-turbocharged 2.7-litre H27A V6 engine with the same 995 PS (981 hp; 732 kW) power ot put as the previous 2.5-litre engine. [51] Again, driven by Nobuhiro Tajima, it finished second overall at Pikes Peak in 1996, 1998 and 1999, and won the Queenstown Gold Rush International Hill Climb outright in 1998, 1999 and 2000. [46]

This hill climb version of the Escudo is most famous for its appearance in the Gran Turismo video game series, starting with the second main instalment in 1999.

A newer Escudo went on to win at Pikes Peak in 2006 and at Queenstown in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. [46]

Suzuki Grand Vitara Transsyberia 2007.jpg
Suzuki Grand Vitara Transsyberia 2007 rear.jpg
2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara Transsyberia rally car

Suzuki Vitara also participated in numerous cross country rally events around the world since the first generation, such as Dakar Rally, Australasian Safari, Asia Cross Country Rally and Transsyberia rally. [52]

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