On a recent Grand Adventure Road trip to the land of the rising sun, Mpho Mahlangu found the recently launched Suzuki Grand Vitara to be a pleasant companion on the busy N4.
Setting off early on a Saturday morning from Johannesburg, myself and two colleagues each loaded up our range topping Grand Vitara GLX Hybrid Allgrip’s with our luggage and instantly, we were impressed by the boot capacity on offer. With a route carefully mapped out, we set off on what was to be an adventure to remember.
Our route saw us leaving the Suzuki Auto South Africa head office in Johannesburg to fill up the 45L fuel tanks in our Grand Vitaras. Noteworthy, the staff at the Engen filling station were quick to compliment our convoy of vehicles, with some even curious enough to ask questions such as the pricing of the Grand Vitara and what features it boasts.
With the tanks filled to the brim, tyre pressures and oil levels all checked too, as these are road trip essentials, we headed for the N12 to begin our road trip.
The N12 was fairly quiet thanks to our departing rather early, and before we knew it, we had covered over 120km, which at this point saw us arriving at our first comfort break. A quick stretch of the legs and restroom break later, and we hit the road once again. Shortly afterwards, we joined the N4 in Emalahleni, which would take us most of the way to our destination.
It is worth noting that the N4 offers some of the country’s most scenic views and I must say, every time I drive on the N4 to Mpumalanga, I’m always left in awe at how stunning our country is. The toll route is also maintained relatively well, making for peace of mind when travelling.
Our chariots are powered by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated mild hybrid engine which churns out 76kW and 137Nm of torque, with power sent to all four wheels via the AllGrip Select system. I’ll be the first to admit that I was initially sceptical of how our vehicles would fare, especially on the steep inclines that we’d encounter in some of the more mountainous parts of our drive.
I’m happy to report that they performed quite well in fact. Yes, some careful planning was required when approaching the inclines however if you get that right, then you have enough momentum to get through the inclines without any hassles.
Thanks to the mild-hybrid system, we returned fuel consumption figures which were beyond impressive, to say the least. The best figure I saw was 5.4L/100km, which we all agreed was quite commendable. Fuel consumption aside, another highlight of ours was the on and off-road comfort.
The roads we travelled on were as mentioned above, fairly well maintained however upon taking an unplanned detour which saw us taking on gravel roads, the Grand Vitara continued to impress. We found the AllGrip Select system somewhat handy in this instance.
Some of my other highlights, which I believe make road trips quite enjoyable, include the 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, a wireless charging pad, and a panoramic sunroof.
After more than 400km of driving, we arrived at Graskop Gorge for some epic activities lined up for us. Exciting activities at the popular destination include The Big Swing and ziplining. My two colleagues opted for the latter whereas I let my fear of heights get the better of me, thus leaving me to watch my colleagues have a blast from the sidelines.
With the sun setting on the land of the rising sun, we reflected on what was an epic grand adventure and just how good a companion the Grand Vitara was to each of us.
With a price tag of R529 900, the Grand Vitara GLX Hybrid AllGrip offers a lot of practicality and a comfortable driving experience. We departed back to the big smoke the following day having formed a special bond of our Grand Vitaras.