It seems like Suzuki – probably along with quite a few other manufacturers – are feeling the pain from the bargain of the year that is the $29,990, AWD Subaru Impreza.

Still, one way to get back in the game is to fight fire with fire, so Suzuki have released a new limited edition model, the 2WD Vitara SE, priced at $29,990.

It’s not quite as well kitted out as the Impreza, but it’s a good start and you do get that extra height of an SUV at least – if that’s what you need.

One benefit of the Vitara over the Impreza is the transmission – you get a decent 6-speed auto; a huge improvement over the Impreza’s Achilles’ Heel, the CVT automatic.

Unfortunately, you don’t get Suzuki’s jewel of a motor, the 1.4-turbo. The SE is fitted with the standard 86Kw 1.6-litre motor. Such a shame, as that would have really blown the Impreza’s socks off.

To differentiate the SE from the base JLX model, there are black daytime running lamp bezels, black body side mouldings and a rear upper spoiler. The Vitara SE is available in red, silver or white, all with a black roof paint finish at no extra cost.

Other changes over the JLX include 17-inch diameter aluminium alloy wheels, privacy glass for the rear and rear side windows, front fog lamps, cruise control with speed limiter, satellite navigation, reversing camera, climate control air conditioning, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and paddle shifters for the automatic transmission.

The end result? You might be better off stumping up another $4k and going straight to the 1.4 turbo Vitara, or having a closer look at the Impreza. Still, if you love Suzukis and have $30K to spend, this does seem like a well-priced model. Worth a look.

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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