SUZUKI has introduced a change to the steering tune of its recently released Vitara, in response to criticism from some sides of the motoring media including Wheels.
Implemented in all MY16 LY models manufactured in Japan from September last year, the modifications aim to improve the linearity and feel of the electric power steering system in the recently launched small SUV.
“We provided feedback to Japan last year, and have since been advised that slight steering adjustments have been put in place,” according to Suzuki Australia spokesperson Ruth John.
The company added that most vehicles delivered in Australia since the Vitara surfaced last August will have had the software revision, and will include the recently released 1.4-litre turbo S as well as the entry-level 1.6-litre naturally aspirated variants.
Meanwhile, a manual gearbox version the S Turbo may join the six-speed automatic in Australia in the not-too-distant future, but only if Suzuki determines that consumer demand for it exists. Currently, the base Suzuki Vitara RT-S 1.6 from $21,990 is the only Vitara with a clutch pedal available, but that only accounts a fraction of overall volume.
“Of current Vitara sales, the manual is only making up about 10 percent,” Ms John said. “So as we're hoping to hit 200-plus Turbo sales per month, it means that it would only be around 20 manuals – and when you take into account all the vehicle colour complexity, it's just not feasible at this stage.
“That said, manual is certainly on our radar, so if we do more than expected sales, we'll certainly review the option of bringing in a manual.”
According to Suzuki Australia General Manager Automobiles, Andrew Moore, the new S Turbo’s job is to put the Vitara on small SUV map.
“The challenge now for Suzuki is to build awareness of Vitara, to ensure that we’re on the shopping list for those considering a compact SUV,” he said. “I strongly believe that if more Mazda CX-3 or Honda HR-V customers had experienced the Vitara, there would have been many different purchase outcomes.”
In the first three months of this year, 1079 Vitaras have been registered in Australia, putting it in eighth place behind the best-selling Mazda CX-3 (4527), Mitsubishi ASX (4429), Nissan Qashqai (3238), Honda HR-V (3027), Subaru XV (2070), Holden Trax (1682), and Volkswagen Tiguan (1158).
Click here to read the full review on the Suzuki Vitara.