As I was young, in my point of view, diesel cars where fully dedicated to older peoples or those that have no understanding or passion for cars. The automatic gearboxes were belonging to the same groups too. In other words, those were components to not be found in any of my cars. Those where the '90.
Once I got older, technology advanced, I became more flexible in many areas, including cars components.
So cars that I owned in last decade where all diesel and latest of them automatic.Reasons are many. Diesel engine is a choice because of economy and torque on low rev, helping me to reach my home that is uphill, even during winter period when I'm too lazy to clean the snow. Automatic gearbox, because, I became quite lazy and enjoying sometimes doing nothing (driving related) meanwhile driving.
That said, we could say that the cars nowadays would be classified by small, medium, large and some deviation here and there based on how much computing power is available on board. So not.
Outside the Suzuki Vitara looked nice, I really like the look from any angle. Obviously it is my opinion and taste and that could be easy debated by anybody. Big car, still driving it around did not felt that big. I was able to drive it with no drama in Athens/Greece during rush hours that are lasting 24/7, on all kind of small and narrow streets where are cars parked everywhere in all kind of positions, but also easy to handle it in traffic where motorcycles and other cars where surrounding you from everywhere with not much pre-warning.
Once you step in a Suzuki Vitara and start driving, the utopia about all of cars to be the same is gone. Inside, quite cheap, I mean you feel cheap, you feel that you had money for the size but not for the content. Kind of a big house but you run thin on gold once you reach the stage when furniture would be brought in and instead of going to the big furniture shops to get some new stuff, you start checking the flea market. I mean it. The whole interior is looking that was build from components found on flea market. There is not much consistency in anything.
The most luxurious feel is on the steering wheel. Indeed the materials are quite ok, feeling is good but keep your hands there, everything else when you touch goes downhill and then when you think that can't go worse, it goes.
Starting the engine is basic stuff, but you noticed immediately that start moving require some concentration and effort from you but also from the engine. Not sure why (most probably power/weight/torque ration is quite low), but you really need to give some gas to avoid stalling your engine. Unusual for a diesel. I'm used that all diesel cars start moving once clutch is released without a need to touch the gas pedal, well, not this one. I got the reminder on every second stop in the first day till it got in my muscles the reflex to push the gas once releasing the clutch. Traffic participants where not that happy on my frozen moments. I could hear them singing using their horns.
Pleased to notice that my car had the RBS (Radar Break Support) but I was not pleased later on. Setting the cruise control on was quite a challenge. In fact even now, after driving the car four days, I can't tell exactly what is the procedure. First of all the "collision" warning system have two buttons on the left side, that you can select when do you want the collision warning to be activated. Options are "near" and "far" well, wish you luck to guess what that actually means. I'm not really looking forward on reading the manual on all cars that I'm renting. I'm never reading any car manual at all, except when a bulb is broken and then I need to know the exact type for the spare one. So setting it up was one challenge but then challenge to understand when is active and when not was another scary exercise. Car decided to not accelerate following the car in front with no obvious reason but then also decided to not break when the car in front was breaking with no obvious reason. So overall was quite a scary experience and after one day of trying I just gave up.
Then the "start-stop" eco feature. This is one of the most stupid feature added to any car in the modern times. The most annoying and dangerous one. I would not go in details why in this article as I will focus on the feature available in this particular car.
So basically it was working absolutely random. Could not figure out the logic. Sometimes the engine was starting when pressing the clutch once. Sometimes you need to press the clutch twice to start the engine. Sometimes the engine just refused to start. Then restarting it with the ignition key was always ending with a set of yellow warning lights on the dashboard and in the central panel showing between other "not so easy to identify symbols" also airbags as disabled. To get things to normal was require to stop and restart the engine. Really, really annoying and I could not find how to disable the "start-stop" feature by just looking in menus and searching for a on-off switch.
Stereo, got some fancy touch screen stuff on the dashboard, well, turn out to be as any touchscreen not so easy to use. Volume is in the left side of the touchscreen, kind of a vertical narrow bar that have a "+" on top and a "-" on the bottom. There is no way to use it unless you hold your hand steady by other components of the dashboard and only then push the signs to do the action. I still think that classic volume knob on the dashboard is the best solution as that is providing a place to hold your hand steady meanwhile car is bouncing around and in the same tame you afford to turn the know according to your needs.
Then you lock your doors. Then you can't unlock them unless you push the unlock button. In other words if you locked the doors, engaging the handle of any door will not release the lock. Wondering on the behavior of such implementation on a crash. Driver must be alive and kicking to press the lock release button on the door before anybody can actually get out from the car using the doors.
For a car that have a high driving position, you would expect to sit quite comfortable, and that would be the case if they would not run out of gold before finishing it inside. So chairs have limited adjusting possibilities and no lumbar adjustments so for an old guy like me, that have back problems, it was quite a burden to sit on that chair even for short period of times, under 60 minutes at a time.
On the plus side, quite nice ride once you manage to get the car moving. Goes to highway cruising speed quite ok, not noisy, move you along in a comfortable manner.
As a conclusion, the car is looking that is not yet finished, almost there. They finished the outside but run out of money or time once they reached the inside and then just went quick to some nearby shop and got whatever they could found that might fit in the available space.
About buying one? Well, I don't really like big raw stakes. Smaller ones, but well done would do better.