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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

The Suzuki Vitara is a series of SUVs 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. It was also sold as the Santana 300 and 350 in Spain and 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 Latin word “vita,” as in English word “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 years1989–1999
Body and chassis
ClassMini 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)
Suzuki Vitara JX 2-door soft top convertible (Australia; pre-facelift)
Suzuki Vitara JX 3-door hardtop (UK; facelift)
Suzuki Vitara JX 5-door (Australia; facelift)

The 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]

Suzuki Vitara with longer bumpers, wheel arches, side body mouldings, bigger grille and powered by V6 engine. This model is known as Escudo V6 in Japan, Sidekick Sport in North America or Vitara V6/TD elsewhere.
Japanese market only Mazda Proceed Levante, adopted the V6-engined styling for both 3 and 5-door body and 4-cylinder models.

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 Proceed Levante with V6 models styling. 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-litre while a 2.0-litre four-cylinder was slotted into the range. In Japan, the "Nomade" tag was dropped from the five-door Escudos in October 1996. Also 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

1996–1998 model of North American Suzuki Sidekick 5-door
1996–1998 model of North American Suzuki Sidekick 5-door

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.


Suzuki Vitara Rebel 3-door hardtop (Australia)
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.


Facelifted Indonesian-built Suzuki Sidekick with different grille and taillights.

In Indonesia Suzuki only sold the 5-door model, first introduced as the Vitara in August 1992.[8] Suzuki launched a two-wheel drive (rear wheel drive) version labelled as the 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 Vitra. 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, new front grille, taillights and 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]


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 300 3-door hardtop (Spain)
Santana 350 5-door (Spain)

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.

Pre-facelift Suzuki Vitara 3-door hardtop with 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine (Portugal)
Facelifted Suzuki Vitara 5-door with 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine (Italy)

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.

Vitara Philippe Cousteaux Limited Edition (Germany)

There is also a very limited edition named Vitara Philippe Cousteaux which came in metallic pink or cyan with cream leather interior, wooden steering wheel, new wheels, bullbar and several other changes.[12] Only 500 of this model were produced for European market. There are also similar limited editions for British market, but called Rossini (pink) and Verdi (cyan) with different wheels.[13][14] These limited editions are only available in 2-door body style with a 1.6-litre 8-valve petrol engine.


This generation was not sold in China, however there were two versions of this car sold illegally as Wanli WLZ5020XLD and Guangtong GTQ5020XLZ.[15][16] During the 1990s, the government of Guandong province created a loophole by allowing grey market goods importer companies to bring the car as knock-down kit to be assembled in China and avoiding the 60-80% import tax for full car.[17] The China government only allows manufacturers to assemble the cars in China with at least 60% local components via official 50:50 joint venture. However, the government of Guangdong province allowed these importers to import cars without tires, mirror and door handles and then reassemble these cars in Guandong and cut the import tax only to 25%.[15] These companies then making business agreement to get the license from the government approved local car manufacturers for using their brands for selling these Vitaras.[17]

This was barely concealed smuggling and led the government to arresting more than 200 government, customs and law enforcement officials in the southern Guangdong area around Zhanjiang on September 8, 1998. This affair was known as "9898 smuggling case", the largest mainland smuggling racket of the last 50 years. The state's lost revenue was estimated around ¥30 billion from the illegal import of thousands of tonnes of crude oil, steel, cars and other manufactured goods.[18]

Second generation (FT/GT; 1998)

Second generation (FT/GT)
99-01 Suzuki Grand Vitara.jpg
1998–2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara 5-door (US)
Also called
Model years1999–2005
Body and chassis
Body style
RelatedSuzuki 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 weight3-door:
  • 1,180–1,280 kg (2,601–2,822 lb)
  • 5-door: 1,260–1,460 kg (2,778–3,219 lb)
1997–2000 Suzuki Escudo 3-door (Japan)
2000–2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2-door soft top convertible (Europe)

Suzuki announced the second generation model in November 1997.[19] 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.[20]

2000–2005 Suzuki Escudo 5-door (Japan)
2003 Suzuki Escudo Helly Hansen Limited (Japan)
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.

2000–2002 Suzuki Vitara 2-door soft top convertible (Canada)
2002–2003 Suzuki Vitara 5-door (Canada)
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 facility. The soft-top was only built in North America. The 3/5-door wagon was brought in from Japan for European buyers and sold alongside the Canadian-made convertibles.[20] The 2001 model Suzuki Grand Vitara comes standard as a 2.0-litre 4WD vehicle in New Zealand.

This generation was also assembled in Argentina by General Motors in Alvear, Santa Fe from 2000 to 2005 along with the Chevrolet version for several countries in South American market.[21]

Grand Escudo

Suzuki XL-7 (US)
Suzuki XL-7 (US)

In 1998, the Grand Escudo was released, a longer 7-seater, 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.

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)[22]
  • Chevrolet Grand Vitara SZ (Ecuador)
Production2005–2017 (extended production continued for some markets until 2019)
Body and chassis
ClassCompact SUV
Body style3 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 weight1,420–1,710 kg (3,130.6–3,769.9 lb)
SuccessorSuzuki Across (Europe)

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.[23] The outgoing model's front MacPherson strut suspension was retained while the rear solid axle was replaced with a fully independent multi-link suspension.[24] 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).[25][24]

3-door SUV
5-door SUV
The "H27A" 2.7L V6 petrol engine

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.[26][27]

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, São Tomé and Príncipe, 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)
Suzuki Grand Vitara (2008–2011)
Suzuki Escudo Salomon Limited
Suzuki Escudo Salomon Limited
A version without mounted spare tire for selected markets
A version without mounted spare tire for selected markets

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 African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Oman, São Tomé and Príncipe, 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.

In 2010, a version without mounted spare tyre was released for selected markets such as Japan, North America and Europe.[28]


Suzuki Grand Vitara (2012–2019)
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 Southeast Asia. It was no longer listed on the Suzuki Philippines website, as of January 2019, indicating that it was no longer available.[29] 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)
ProductionMarch 2015 – present
DesignerKosei Iwasaki, Toshinobu Ishida, Kanae Ito, Kazuhisa Takayanagi and Yoshitaka Uchiyama[30]
Body and chassis
ClassSubcompact crossover SUV
Body style5-door SUV
PlatformGlobal C platform
Electric motor
Hybrid drivetrain
BatteryLithium Ion
Wheelbase2,500 mm (98.4 in)
Length4,175 mm (164.4 in)
Width1,775 mm (69.9 in)
Height1,610 mm (63.4 in)
Curb weight1,075–1,338 kg (2,370.0–2,949.8 lb)

The fourth generation Vitara was presented first as "iV-4 concept" at 65th IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013.[31] The production model was unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.[32] Its production (by Magyar Suzuki) started in March 2015[33] and parallels with the third generation in Japan until 2019. The Vitara went on sale in Japan as the fourth generation Suzuki Escudo on 15 October 2015.[34]

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 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.[35][36] This new generation of 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.[37][38] It has a luggage space of 375-litre, expanding to 710-litre with rear seats folded (VDA method).

Suzuki released a special version of the fourth generation Vitara called the Vitara S or Vitara Sport in some markets. The Vitara S features a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine "K14C Boosterjet", which delivers 140 PS (103 kW; 138 bhp) 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 2017 SX4 S-Cross facelift, is paired to a 6-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.

In April 2016, a new twin clutch automated manual transmission with hydraulically controlled clutch and gear change called TCSS (Twin Clutch System by Suzuki) was added to the line up in Europe. It is only available for the Fiat-powered 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine with all-wheel drive configuration.[39]


Suzuki unveiled a renewed version of the Vitara at the 2018 Paris Motor Show[40] in milestone of its 30th anniversary in 2018.[41] 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 (called Dual Sensor Brake Support by Suzuki) and a traffic sign recognition function. The "M16A" 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine is also replaced with a new "K10C Boosterjet" 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine in Europe.[42][43]

Starting from March 2020,[44] all engine for European market Vitara was replaced by a new Euro 6d compliant "K14D Boosterjet" 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a 48V mild hybrid technology, coupled to a belt-driven Integrated Starter Generator (ISG), which delivers 129 PS (95 kW; 127 bhp) and 235 N⋅m (173 lb⋅ft). The ISG electric motor produces 14 PS (10 kW; 14 bhp) and 53 N⋅m (39 lb⋅ft).

In January 2022, Suzuki silently released a 140V strong hybrid variant of Vitara in selected countries in Europe such as Hungary, France, Poland and The Netherlands,[45][46] other European countries such as United Kingdom and Ireland received this model in March.[47] The Escudo made a comeback to Japanese market in April after the temporary discontinuation in September 2021 and will be only available with full hybrid model.[48][49] It is powered with a new dual injector 1.5-litre petrol engine called "K15C Dualjet", the reworked version of "K15B" engine that seen in Jimny Sierra or Ertiga. The engine is combined with a Motor Generator Unit (MGU) electric motor, which produces 33 PS (24 kW; 33 bhp) and 60 N⋅m (44 lb⋅ft). The combined power of the petrol engine and the electric motor is 115 PS (85 kW; 113 bhp).[46] This hybrid model is only available with a 6-speed automated manual (dubbed as Auto Gear Shift (AGS) by Suzuki) and available for both front-wheel and all-wheel drive configuration. Due to the placement of battery pack in the boot, as a result, the capacity is decreased to 289-litre and 569-litre when rear seats folded.

Limited and special editions

In August 2018, Changan Suzuki launched a special edition Vitara called "Star Edition (星耀版)" 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.[50][51]

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.[52] Austrian market also received similar limited edition in September 2020, but based on the 1.4-litre Boosterjet hybrid AllGrip model.[53][54] 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.[55]

In Japan, a special edition for Escudo called "S Limited" was announced in November 2020.[56] 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.[57]

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.[58]


Calendar Year Europe[59] China[60] Mexico Australia
2015 43,247 4,450
2016 73,099 41,175
2017 72,301 27,305
2018 67,801 13,222
2019 81,860 3,717 6,632[61] 5,253[62]
2020 43,727 103 4,681[63] 4,332[64]
2021 57,436 3,513[65] 3,742[66]


Euro NCAP 2015 Suzuki Vitara[67]
Euro NCAP Safety Rating
Adult Occupant 89%
Child Occupant 85%
Pedestrian 76%
Safety Assists 75%
ANCAP 2015 Suzuki Vitara[68]
ANCAP Safety Rating
Frontal Offset 14.79/16
Side Impact 16.00/16
Pole 2/2
Whiplash Protection Good
Pedestrian Protection Good
ESC Standard
Seat Belt Reminders 3.0/3
Overall Score 35.79/37
Rating Year/Datestamp: 2015
Airbags Dual Frontal, Side, Head, Knee


The V6 Escudo, which between 1996 and 2000 finished runner-up at Pikes Peak three times and won at Queenstown three times.
The V6 Escudo, which between 1996 and 2000 finished runner-up at Pikes Peak three times and won at Queenstown three times.
Suzuki Vitaras at the 1990 Paris Dakar
Suzuki Vitaras at the 1990 Paris Dakar

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).[69] 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.[70]

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,[71] the racing version has higher power output, produces 800 PS (588 kW; 789 hp) and 80 kg⋅m (785 N⋅m; 579 lb⋅ft).[72][73] 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).[74] It had four-wheel drive and weighed 800 kg (1,764 lb).[74] 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 output as the previous 2.5-litre engine.[75] 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.[70]

A newer Escudo went on to win at Pikes Peak in 2006 and at Queenstown in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.[70]

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.[76]

General Motors version

Geo Tracker 2-door soft top convertible (US)
Geo Tracker 2-door soft top convertible (US)
Chevrolet Tracker 5-door (Mexico)
Chevrolet Tracker 5-door (Mexico)

A rebadged version was sold in North America by General Motors as the Chevrolet Tracker for the first two generations. In Latin America - (excluding Mexico and several other countries), it was marketed as Chevrolet Vitara (first generation 3-door) or Chevrolet Grand Vitara (second generation 5-door). The first generation was also sold with various General Motors' brands in North America such as the Geo Tracker and the Canadian market exclusive Asüna Sunrunner, GMC Tracker and Pontiac Sunrunner.

The last General Motors branded Vitara was the third generation model for Ecuadorian market called Chevrolet Grand Vitara SZ. Even though the car was sold and distributed through Chevrolet, it was marketed with Suzuki badge. The "SZ" suffix was added because the previous generation Chevrolet Grand Vitara was still available in the country until 2016.


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External links

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