The return of the Vitara

Suzuki PH pulls out all stops to give the 2018 Vitara a fabulous welcome back


At the Vitara launch, from left, are Suzuki Philippines (SPH) managing director and treasurer Norminio Mojica, Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) Asia automobile department general manager Shigeo Takezawa, SPH president Hiroshi Suzuki, SPH general manager for automobile Shuzo Hoshikura, SMC global automobile planning department general manager Nobutaka Suzuki, and SPH assistant general manager Cecil Capacete

The Vitara (not to be confused with the Grand Vitara) was the first four-wheel Suzuki motor vehicle, along with the Samurai, to be sold in the Philippines, starting in 1994.

Phased out in 2004, the Vitara returned to Manila last week in its newest iteration, with Suzuki Philippines, Inc. pulling out all stops and sparing no expense to give it a fabulous welcome back.

High-ranking Suzuki Motor Corporation executives led by Asia automobile department general manager Shigeo Takezawa jetted in from Japan, and together with Suzuki PH top brass headed by president Hiroshi Suzuki, welcomed guests to the event.


A songstress sang ultra-modern pop music, an athletic dancing group with body-clad blinking lights danced, buffet tables loaded with delicious edibles beckoned, champagne bottles popped, and confetti poured from the ceiling of the Metrotent Convention Center in Pasig City, while outside, Typhoon Salome dumped sheets of rain but failed to dampen the festivities.

The launch extravaganza manifested Suzuki PH’s confidence that it was rolling out a winner sure to grab market share in the lucrative, hotly contested subcompact SUV segment.

Its confidence is premised on the global reputation that Suzuki has earned over the years as a manufacturer of small, fuel-efficient, sporty and affordable cars, as well as powerful motorcycles and outboard motors.

Target: millennials

The 2018 Vitara, unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show, targets millennials by appealing to their penchant for individuality and value for money.

As Suzuki PH automobile division general manager Shuzo Hoshikura pointed out, the new Vitara has the longest and widest dimensions in its class with the best turning radius performance, and allows drivers to express their individuality and personalize their vehicles with its wide array of colors and packages.

“Millennials can look forward to a safe, comfortable, and optimum driving experience that for many years Filipinos have anticipated with the next-generation Vitara,” he said.

Offered in GL or GLX trim, the front wheel drive, 5-seat top-end Vitara GLX is available in three eye-catching two-tone colors—horizon orange metallic, Atlantis turquoise pearl, and bright red 5 metallic.

Meanwhile, the GL variant comes in one-tone Atlantis turquoise pearl metallic, cosmic black pearl metallic, galactic gray metallic, silky silver metallic 2, and cool white pearl.

Trapezoidal lines

Units of both variants in their various colors were displayed inside the Metrotent during the launch, looking handsome and strong with trapezoidal lines toward the ground, a sleek aerodynamic roof, flared fenders, and a character crease on the sides flowing from front to rear.

Incidentally, the new Vitara sold here is manufactured in a European country, not in Asia. Suzuki Motor, the ninth largest automaker in the world, has offices and production facilities in over 23 countries, distribution outlets in 133 countries, and employs a total of 45,000 worldwide.

The question foremost in the minds of the guests at the launch was the fourth generation Vitara’s retail price.

The immediate answer given in the press kit: P1.048 million for the GLX and P983,000 for the GL+. The price of the entry-level GL will be announced when it becomes available locally.


At those very competitive prices, buyers get as standard equipment Suzuki’s M16A 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers 115 hp and peak torque of 156 Nm at 4,400 rpm with a newly developed 6-speed automatic transmission.

Targetting the millennial, the Vitara includes enhanced safety features and superior fuel efficiency.

Also standard are disc brakes front and rear, automatic air con, active cruise control with speed limiter, paddle shifters, audio steering control, offline navigation, USB socket, audio and hands-free Bluetooth, parking sensors (rear only for the GL+), tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, electromagnetic tailgate opener, front fog lamps, dual front airbags, Isofix child seat anchorages, ABS with EBD, electronic stability program, hill hold control, brake assist, pedal release system, remote control door locks, keyless push start system, and roof rails.

In both variants, cargo space increases from 375 to 710 liters when the 60/40 rear seats are folded, or the luggage board is lowered and the dividers on both sides of the luggage area are removed.

In addition to the standard equipment, the GLX has side airbags in front, left and right curtain airbags, LED projector headlights with blue colored projector cover, LED daytime running lights, automatic wipers and lights, automatic dimming rear view mirror, reverse camera, double sliding panoramic sunroof, Android infotainment with 10-inch touchscreen (the GL+ has Wince infotainment with 7-inch touchscreen), 6 speakers, (the GL+ has 4), Wi-Fi, MirrorLink function, a combination of leather and suede-type seat fabric, and 17-inch polished alloy wheels (the GL+ has 16-inch alloy wheels).

Enjoying the ride

In terms of safety features alone, the 2018 Suzuki Vitara GLX enjoys an edge over similarly priced competitors equipped with less.

As Suzuki Motor Corporation global automobile planning department general manager Nobutaka Suzuki noted at the launch, “The Vitara is designed with enhanced safety features and superior fuel efficiency. Backed by all these features, we are hopeful that the new Vitara will appeal to the Philippine market, especially among millennials.”

At the end of the program, Suzuki Motor Corporation-Asia automobile department general manager Shigeo Takezawa congratulated Suzuki PH for successfully bringing in the new Vitara.

“May the launch of the new Vitara inspire you to show the same level of commitment and dedication to share with more Filipinos the Suzuki Way of Life,” Takazawa said, toasting Suzuki PH while raising his glass of champagne.

“We have high hopes that the addition of the new Vitara to the Suzuki Philippines’ lineup of vehicles will drive more sales and increase customer satisfaction,” he added.

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