Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Review - Mild Hybrid, Strong Hybrid, AWD Driven

The first play from the market leader in the highly competitive compact SUV space. The Grand Vitara drives in with mild and strong hybrid options, and has the choice of manual, auto and even an all-wheel drive. Siddharth has tested all of them in this review.

By Siddharth Vinayak Patankar


12 mins read


Published on September 18, 2022

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  • The new Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara enters the hotly contested compact SUV space.
  • It will be offered with both the mild-hybrid and strong hybrid powertrains.
  • It adores Suzuki's latest crafted futurism design language and is loaded with new tech and features.

Udaipur has a good combination of natural beauty and a variety of roads, Very well suited to the latest SUV in town - the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara (yes, it is quite the mouthful, isn't it?). It is Maruti Suzuki's almost first foray into a larger SUV, with the return of the Grand Vitara nameplate to India. While India did get the second and third gen Grand Vitara, that model line was since discontinued here, while the rest of the world still has the fourth gen (now simply called Vitara). What we now get is India-specific and is a joint project with Toyota that gives us the Grand Vitara and the Toyota Urban Cruiser HyRyder. So yes, the two models are essentially twins. And so both models will have the same variant offerings. There's a mild/smart hybrid petrol with auto or manual 2WD (two-wheel-drive), and a manual AWD (all-wheel-drive). And then there's the strong hybrid CVT with 2WD only.

Design48 2022 09 18 T04 07 46 400 Z

Crafted futurism is the name for the new design language at Suzuki, and you see it globally on many models. It arrived in India for the first time with the Baleno and now the Grand Vitara is the first SUV to get it. It is a nice bold face, and the design is characterised by it. And it also provides a good separation from the styling that you see on the Toyota Urban Cruiser HyRyder. The latter looks more urban chic, while the Grand Vitara is very butch, and has a muscular look up front.59 2022 09 18 T04 09 11 156 Z

The face has a split or stacked look, with the new look daytime running lights or DRLs up top, and the headlamp lower down in a square housing. Even the grille is stacked, and glossy piano black and metal elements. I have to say it is very contemporary and smart. Now there are differences between the two drivetrain types. The smart hybrid has regular shiny chrome on the grille, a light matte silver skid plate, black roof rails, and matte black plastic cladding around the wheel arches, and headlamp housing.61 2022 09 18 T04 09 51 752 Z

On the strong hybrid it is a darker smoked chrome, a slightly metallic plastic grey finish on the skid plate, satin steel finish roof rails, and that glossy piano black treatment on the headlamp housing as well as the side cladding. At the back the car looks even more modern and slick. The width is enhanced optically by the taillights and the car's name. The bulging vertical stack on the bottom corners is a bit unconventional. But that is where the indicators and reverse lights sit. The Grand Vitara comes across as visually bigger than rivals, including the HyRyder!

Variants, Trims, and Colour Options50 2022 09 18 T04 10 17 884 Z

The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara has all the petrol mild/strong hybrid variants with the gearbox options I mentioned already. And these will be available in 6 trims. The strong hybrid gets only the absolutely loaded Zeta+ and Alphas+ trims, while on the smart hybrid, there are four - namely Sigma, Delta, Zeta, and Alpha. My test cars are the Grand Vitara Alpha (smart hybrid) and Alpha+ (strong hybrid) - which are the top end trims respectively. And by the way, on the lower two trims, that is Sigma and Delta, you only get 17" steel wheels, but the rest have same size alloys as standard. There are 6 colours - red, silver, white, grey, blue, and brown. Three of these (red, white, and silver) are to be available with a two-tone black roof as an option. The updated (and very attractive) Nexa Blue is available across the range, but the solid red is only on the lower variants. The brown cannot be had at the entry end, and the two-tone is on the Zeta+, Alpha and Alpha+ trims only.

ModelMaruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
Length4345 mm
Width1795 mm
Height1645 mm
Wheelbase2600 mm

Engines and Transmissions18 2022 09 18 T04 12 20 756 Z

The Smart Hybrid variants have the 1.5 K15C engine with 101 bhp and 137 Nm of torque. The transmission is either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed auto. The car's AWD variant gets manual only. The mild hybrid uses a small 12 volt 6-Ah lithium-ion battery that supplements the performance and efficiency. A small battery symbol comes up on the instrument cluster, when the regeneration kicks in to charge the battery. It enhances fuel efficiency 6 -7 per cent and gives you a little bit of power boost occasionally. It is the same system that cars like the Ciaz have had for a while.28 2022 09 18 T04 13 48 577 Z

The little screen that you have in the middle of the instruments that's quite nicely done. It's got some new functionality besides the trip computer and power or torque display that have been there since the previous Baleno. It now adds a view of the energy flow from the engine to the motor or the battery. You get to see all of that and that's a nice touch. The only thing that irritates me is why the toggle control is still a tall push stalk inside the instrument cluster and not a little button on the steering wheel, as it should be.

Performance: Smart Hybrid51 2022 09 18 T04 14 41 580 Z

In the long run I reckon the smart hybrid will play the mainstay role for volumes on the Grand Vitara. And so to me this is the variant that should have been exciting, really standing over the competition. Performance is acceptable, but it's not the car that's going to set your pulse racing. To me that is a bit of a miss because you do have a segment that has a lot of performers, including the many turbo options. And that is why I really wonder, at least as an option, if not as standard - why hasn't Suzuki brought us its 1.4 Boosterjet engine even now.69 2022 09 18 T04 15 33 404 Z

Well, it is obvious Maruti has played it safe - going for efficiency and decent cruising rather than exhilaration of any kind. The boosterjet would have set the cat amongst the pigeons And that engine is available with the smart hybrid system in Europe and many other markets anyway. Productionising it here with the scale of not just the Grand Vitara, but the Toyota model as well - not to forget the new Brezza - would have also given the company economies of scale. Sadly we don't always get the best of Suzuki - despite being its biggest business worldwide.64 2022 09 18 T04 15 52 446 Z

So, it's very comfortable. It's very pleasant to drive you will find that the operation is very smooth. The automatic works quite nicely. But as I was saying earlier, the punch is missing and so you know, it's also been tuned so heavily towards mileage. There the company does have some good claims. On the manual you have 21.1 kmpl as the claimed mileage, on the automatic it's 20.5 kmpl, and on the all-wheel drive manual it drops to 19.3. But I think that there was such a focus on getting those numbers that yes, of course the car's performance does some what it comes across as underpowered. When you're in automatic mode or drive mode, you find that it is very reluctant to downshift.1000 2022 09 18 T10 03 04 918 Z

Thankfully there are paddle shifters and so I have been downshifting a lot. And you can of course put it one down straight into M or manual mode and control or manipulate the gears only manually as well. Okay so it does just about fine, but will not excite on sheer performance. What about ride and handling?

ModelMaruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
Displacement1462 cc
Power Output101 bhp at 6000 rpm
Peak Torque136.8 Nm at 4400 rpm
Transmission6MT / 6 AT

Ride and Handling70 2022 09 18 T04 16 28 836 Z

My test car had tyres slightly overfilled, making the ride a bit skittish and bouncy. But that said, the overall suspension feel is not as stiff or planted as I'd have liked. The ride quality is hard but not stiff, and even the steering is not as precise as I'd like. On the whole handling and the overall dynamics are a lot better than previous Suzuki cars. The hardness of the ride quality is nicely compensated by very comfortable and well-designed seats. It's even a well-placed seat in terms of not just its ergonomics but also its position so you get that nice SUV feel when you're driving. And that along with the fact that this is an adjustable steering both for reach and height. I think makes it a very comfortable driving position and lends itself to longer drives.

Performance - Strong Hybrid65 2022 09 18 T04 16 51 479 Z

Now I am switching to the strong hybrid. Here you get the TNGA 1.5 litre engine, and it works in conjunction with a 177.6 V lithium-ion battery. The hybrid system's combined output is obviously more powerful than on the mild hybrid, and give you 114 bhp and 122 nm, and the car uses an eCVT transmission. There is no manual here, nor is there an AWD. There are also no paddle shifters on this one because it's the eCVT and that little extra sense of control goes away.45 2022 09 18 T10 03 54 956 Z

Now, overall, the whole performance still feels a little bit lazy and it's not about being a fire starter. But it is very refined. It is very comfortable. Overall the performance is so similar to the strong hybrid on the Toyota HyRyder, that I would urge you to go read that review to get more detailed sense of the strong hybrid's performance! You can go up to 25 kms on pure EV mode. The on-board battery recharges through the vehicle's regeneration and engine power.

Steering & Handling on the Strong Hybrid75 2022 09 18 T09 58 12 118 Z

The steering in the handling feel also are a little bit better on the full hybrid, I have to say that just comes across as a more refined and a more mature car than the mild hybrid does. Of course it is the pricing that's going to make all the difference in terms of what eventually gets more volumes. And you know Maruti will want to push its car because the smart hybrid is its own system while of course everything here in terms of the hybrid part. of the system is a carry-over from Toyota. 78 2022 09 18 T09 59 01 628 Z

Claimed mileage is superb, at fic almost 28 kilometres to the litre which makes it very attractive from the point of view of how much petrol it saves. But it is also the more powerful very obviously so of the twins. While the smart hybrid has one challenger in the form of the MG Hector mild hybrid, the strong hybrid will really compete with the diesels.

ModelMaruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
Displacement1490 cc
Power Output114 bhp at 5500 rpm
Peak Torque122 Nm at 4400 - 4800 rpm

Cabin and Comfort39 2022 09 18 T04 17 51 158 Z

The car's interior is once again a lot like on the HyRyder - in terms of sense of space, and features. The seats have decent under thigh support at the rear, and do have a slight inbuilt recline possible. A drop-down armrest with cupholders, and a three-point seatbelt for all passengers is always good. Two USB points back here (one USB A and one USB C port) are also good to have. On the smart hybrid side, things get more basic as you go down the trims of course.1 2022 09 18 T10 03 36 958 Z

In the front too, the seats are very comfy, and you get a whole host of features buyers will expect. This includes a large touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto integration, and over 40 connected car features. On the strong hybrid, the instrument cluster is all digital, and has a nice graphic interface. Front seat ventilation, the pano sunroof, and quilted leatherette seats are some of the features that you will get only at the top end.

Off-Road Capability12 2022 09 18 T04 18 28 220 Z

One thing left to do - and that is test the car's off-roading skills. Since it is the first Suzuki mass model with AWD in India. Now the whole idea of being at a Maruti Suzuki drive event and doing off road testing or all-wheel drive testing - that is a first in all these years that I have been testing cars! The system is called allgrip, and Suzuki offers this on many cars globally - it is the first time it has been brought to India. The allgrip system has the snow, sport, and auto modes. You can also lock torque distribution to all four wheels. Leaving it in auto is pretty good, though the sport mode on the road can also be fun. Whether it is hill hold assist, hill descent, good departure and approach angles or the ride height. This is not a hard core off-roader, but it will do a fair bit. The experience is enhanced by the 210 mm ground clearance on the Grand Vitara. And remember, that the allgrip is only available on the manual 1.5 smart hybrid. So it's not available on the automatic and it's not on the full hybrid system either.67 2022 09 18 T04 19 53 302 Z

The AWD will likely not have as much demand, and both brands know it. Which is why there will not be too many trims on that one. Toyota is yet to announce prices for most of its smart hybrid variants but has done so for the top Alpha trim and the strong hybrids too. Expect Maruti to stay a bit aggressive at the entry end and be similar on the higher side with the strong hybrid. I expect the smart drive Grand Vitara Sigma trim to start at Rs. 11 lakh ex-showroom and the Alpha to top off at just under Rs. 17 lakh. The strong hybrid will have just two variants which I reckon would be priced between Rs. 17-18.5 lakh.

Toyota Urban Cruiser HyRyder

NeoDrive (Mild Hybrid)e-Drive (Strong) Hybrid
V AT Rs. 17.09 lakhS e-Drive Rs 15.11 lakh
G e-Drive Rs 17.49 lakh
V e-Drive Rs 18.99 lakh
ex-showroom Delhi

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara

Smart (Mild) HybridIntelligent Electric (Strong) Hybrid
Zeta Rs
AlphaRs 11-16.90 lakhZeta+
Alpha+Rs 17-18.5 lakh
expected prices, ex-showroom

Last Updated on September 18, 2022

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