Does hybridisation improve an already-great family SUV?

The immensely likeable and usable Suzuki Vitara is now a hybrid. However those that know, know that the Vitara is normally a surprisingly enjoyable drive, with good steering, decent dynamics and useful around town performance – plus it comes with an excellent manual gearbox. So should the alarm bells be ringing?

No because the handily-sized family SUV with proper space for five and their luggage, as well as off-roading ability, should you need it, comes with a mild-hybrid system featuring a 48V system and an extra battery pack, neatly hidden away and not impinging on any existing luggage space.

The 1.4-litre Boosterjet is mated to a six-speed manual. There’s 129bhp on offer, giving the front-wheel drive version a 0-62mph time of 9.5 seconds or 10.2 seconds for the AWD. It’s a fuel-sipper at over 45mpg – in fact it is said to be 15 percent more economical and 20 percent cleaner in terms of emissions.

Prices range from £22k-25k and the Vitara is very well specced for the money, with the range topping SZ5 as tested coming with adaptive cruise control, seven airbags and traffic sign recognition. Most importantly, it remains as satisfying to peddle as always and now with its added virtuousness it’s one of the no-brainers in this segment. Definitely put this on your shortlist for the next family SUV.

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