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Motoring Section: The tantalising Suzuki Grand Vitara now in Zim

Grand Vitara is what you get when you combine the best of Suzuki and Toyota in a single well-specified package.

AS new vehicle prices climb, it is welcoming to see other, non-premium brands step up to fill the gaps with premium-feeling offerings at prices that are still manageable.

The fact that they are semi hybrids makes it even sweeter. The all-new Suzuki Grand Vitara (GV) takes the mini-SUV recipe and gives it its own spin.

Last week, CFAO Zimbabwe joined dealerships that have been bringing hybrid vehicles to Zimbabwe. In 2021, BYD Zimbabwe unveiled a full vehicle.

Late last year, Zimoco introduced two semi-hybrid vehicles, the Haval Jolion and Haval H6. When CFAO Zimbabwe introduced the all-new Grand Vitara (GV) at their show room in Emerald Hill, they became the third dealership that I know tohave provided new life into this dynamic market.

Invited visitors had the chance to view it, feel it, smell the interior, and just take in its beauty. The scent of a brand-new car, which is a combination of chemicals from numerous inside car components, is something I will never get over. Do we not all adore the scent of a brand-new car?

CFAO Zimbabwe’s aim was to employ green energy to reduce carbon emissions by launching a semi-hybrid vehicle.

Launch of the semi-hybrid GV is a step in the right direction toward lowering carbon emissions. So, while it is not completely hybrid, it does contribute to a drive for a greener planet.

Compared to the rest of the globe, Zimbabwe has lagged behind in the adoption of EVs, but this is a move in the right direction. My wish is for our government to set an example by acquiring more eco-friendly vehicles.  In Zimbabwe, the government is the biggest auto buyer. Additionally, they could offer duty, tax, and licensing exemptions and rebates for electric and hybrid vehicles.

In 2012, hybrid electric vehicles (EVs) were unveiled to the public in the world.  The rest of the third world, including Zimbabwe, is far behind. To be precise we are 10 years behind


The new GV's multi-level grille, extended three-point daytime running lamps at the top, jewel-effect headlamps below, and sculpted lower bumper at the bottom perfectly complement the most recent, in-vogue Japanese automotive design language.

The profile appears very boxy when viewed from the side, which is helpful when interior designers need to create space.

 With a narrow lighting strip that connects east and west through the centre S-emblem, the back end mimics the futuristic front in style.

The bottom margins have LEDs for the reverse and turn signals. While GL cars have painted alloy wheels, GLX models have attractive roof rails and alloy wheels.


The plain cabin of the previous Grand Vitara has been replaced by a more luxurious one in the current model. The new GV is clearly targeted at everyone, not just the bundu-bashing bunch, as evidenced by all the bells and whistles, like the sleek touchscreen (with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), chrome brightwork, and glossy piano black pieces.

It is interesting that only the Grand Vitara 1.5 Hybrid GLX 4x4's top trim level offers four-wheel drive. All other vehicles are front-wheel-driven. Keyless entry, keyless start/stop, power windows, automatic climate control, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with satellite controls, and a respectable stereo system come standard on all models. Between the rpm counter and the speedometer, a TFT display is the norm. The touchscreen on the GL model is 7 inches.

The larger, higher-resolution (9-inch) touchscreen found in GLX models gives you access to a 360-degree view of the car, which is helpful when parking in urban areas.

 In addition, GLX variants come with additional high-end features including a wireless charging tray for Qi-enabled phones, ambient lighting in the footwells, a second USB port in the back, a panoramic sunroof, and paddle shifters in the hybrid model.

The GLX model-specific imitation leather seats are velvety and comfortable, and row two has enough room for two average-sized adults to travel in comfort, with room for a child in the middle.

The boot is large enough to accommodate your overnight bags, photographic equipment, and possibly a small tent if you take it camping in Hwange National Park.

There is still enough area for other items. The available room and the GV's low loading lip, would be appreciated by families that need to bring a pram or stroller on board.


The new Grand Vitara line offers one engine in two flavors: the K15B (petrol), which is also found in the Jimny, and the new K15C with mild-hybrid electric propulsion, but it is very, very mild.

The hybrid variant has a power output of 76 kW and 137 Nm, which raises the question of why bother at all since the non-hybrid K15B is rated at 77 kW and 138 Nm. The 4WD system adds a substantial 125 kg, and this is likely to be reflected in your fuel bill, thus it seems as though its primary purpose is to assist you save fuel.

I eagerly await the invitation for my test drive so that I can inform you of its performance from a knowledgeable perspective.

Only the Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.5 GL and GLX manual variants feature a five-speed manual transmission, so if you choose one of the other automatic models in the lineup, be ready to live with a four-speed auto. I would spend my money on the 1.5 GL, because at US29900, it is a giveaway, and you can stir the gearbox yourself in order to extract every last kilowatt from the engine. Let’s take a look at the lineup and pricing below:

1.5 GL manual – US29900

1.5 GLX  4x2 auto - US33700

1.5 GLX 4x4 auto -US39900

The GV will compete against the Renault Duster 1.5d, Haval Jolion, Haval H6, Toyota Corolla Cross Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos and other models which will offer it some fierce competition, but the GV will easily prevail because it provides more value for your money.

My decision

Grand Vitara is what you get when you combine the best of Suzuki and Toyota in a single well-specified package.

The Grand Vitara is gorgeous, and I'm astonished by how many amenities it has - especially the base model, which is incredibly affordable.

With six airbags and a plethora of safety equipment, the Grand Vitara is highly safe and will be great for running errands in the city, transporting kids, or for long road trips. Slot it on your shopping list without fail for it is simply tantalising. Mind you, that boot will be ideal for your Kariba fishing equipment too.

Well done CFAO Zimbabwe!

  • andrew@muzamhindo.com



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