First Drive: 2022 Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
Maruti Suzuki has revived the Grand Vitara name plate after a long time and the car is going to hit the roads soon. The compact SUV will be launched in both mild hybrid and strong hybrid versions and car&bike visited the company’s R&D facility in Rohtak, Haryana earlier this week to get a sneak peek of what the SUV offers. The facility has a total of 33 test tracks spread over 400 acres and we got a mix of highway as well as city driving conditions during this short period. So yes, we drove it in simulated environments and this review therefore is just about our first impressions of the car. A comprehensive review will follow soon.
New Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara is all set to launch in the market ahead of the festive season.
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Strong Hybrid First Impressions
We began with the strong hybrid model which will also be the more expensive and feature-rich version of the car once launched. It gets a 1.5-litre petrol engine developed by Toyota along with an electric motor. Individually, the engine develops 91 bhp and 122 Nm while the electric motor makes 79 bhp and 141 Nm. Combined power stands at 114 bhp on this strong hybrid model. Maruti Suzuki is also claiming that this is India's most fuel-efficient SUV which delivers 27.97 kmpl. An eCVT transmission does duty on this model.
Grand Vitara's strong hybrid power unit puts out a combined power of 114 bhp.
There’s a pure EV mode in which the drive begins and depending on the throttle inputs, the engine comes to life to provide additional power and acceleration. The acceleration itself is linear and for a CVT it’s up to the mark. The upshifts happen in a smooth manner provided you’re gentle with acceleration. You can’t be overly aggressive with the inputs, as above 3,500 rpm the engine noise starts to creep inside the cabin. The key to attaining a higher fuel efficiency then is driving in a patient and relaxed manner and this drivetrain does suit that kind of driving style better. So yes, maybe the enthusiast in you may not find this setup sporty enough. Crucial information is displayed on the all-digital instrument cluster as well as the touch screen to let the driver know about drive modes and battery charging status.
You can’t be overly aggressive with the throttle inputs, as above 3,500 rpm the engine noise starts to creep inside the cabin.
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Ride and Handling
Supple ride quality is certainly one of the highlights of the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara. The suspension works well, and the car was convincing enough even on some of the rough patches on which we got to drive. There’s good amount of travel here as was evident while crossing some speed breakers on the track. Another aspect that works in favour of the SUV is its high-speed stability. The road manners are impressive and even while turning at 120 kmph, the car inspires confidence. The steering wheel is light, and this hybrid comes across as a version that will adapt easily to both city as well highway requirements.
The Grand Vitara's suspension was convincing enough even on some of the rough patches on which we got to drive.
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Mild-Hybrid Powertrain First Impressions
The mild hybrid version on the other hand gets both 5-speed manual and 6-speed torque convertor, the same setup that was recently seen on the new-gen Brezza subcompact SUV. While the manual also gets the All-Grip all-wheel drive system with multiple modes, the latter comes with paddle shifters which are missing on the CVT. The new-gen 1.5-litre K-series dual jet petrol engine, is the same as in the Brezza, makes 102 bhp and 137 Nm. There’s ample low-end torque to help you make your manoeuvres, the paddle shifters do enhance the drive experience.
There’s ample low-end torque on the mild hybrid motor to help you make your manoeuvres.
The steering feels much tighter than the strong hybrid and feedback is better too resulting in a more enjoyable drive. We couldn’t really test the off-road prowess of the SUV, but it does get Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock modes. The all-wheel drive is permanently engaged in the lock mode. In Sport mode the 4WD engages automatically during acceleration and cornering while in the Snow mode 4WD engages early for optimum traction.
The All-Grip all-wheel drive versions gets four driving modes, including Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock.
We spoke at length about the design when the car was unveiled. The car has got a likeable face with a grille that tells you that this car is a part of Maruti Suzuki family. There’s enough on the face to help you differentiate this car from the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder, on which it is based. The grille isn’t as big in comparison but there’s a lot of chrome on it. Square shaped headlamps and LED DRLs with dot style elements make up for a nice face. The rear is more attractive with it’s a lightbar connecting good looking split LED lamps. The SUV gets a ground clearance of 210 mm.
The car has got a likeable face with a grille that tells you that this car is a part of Maruti Suzuki family.
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While both cars (strong and mild hybrid) look similar from outside Maruti Suzuki has made them look distinct from each other when it comes to the cabin. Features like Ventilated seats, heads up display, wireless charger and an all-digital instrument cluster will only be offered on the strong hybrid while the use of colours on the dash also differs in a pre-dominantly black cabin.
9-inch infotainment system, connected car tech, 360 view camera and panoramic sunroof are available with both the powertrains.
A 9-inch Smartplay pro plus infotainment system, connected car tech, 360 view camera and a panoramic sunroof will be provided across both models. Seats are nice and comfortable and offer good lumbar support, more so on the front row. On the 2nd row, there’s more than adequate knee room on offer. Maruti Suzuki is using the ‘+’ as a differentiator between the mild and strong hybrid models when it comes to nomenclature.
Expected Pricing, Launch And Rivals
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara could start at under Rs. 10 lakh when it hits the showrooms. The prices could go up to Rs. 15 lakh for the or the AWD variant. The Strong hybrid model with more features could end up being even more expensive. Once launched the Grand Vitara will take on the likes of Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta, MG Astor, Skoda Kushaq and VW Taigun in the market, apart from its cousin, the upcoming Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder. Stay tuned for a comprehensive review of the compact SUV and a comparison with its rivals after it is launched in the market in the month of September.