About me and my lifestyle.
I run FOXY Lady Drivers Club and know a bit about cars.
I live in rural Sussex, need a car to get most places and like to visit family in Newcastle upon Tyne when I can.
My current choice of car.
I chose a Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ-T which is a very different driving experience to the BMW Series 1 I previously drove.
How important is my car to me and why?
The last bus to Steyning from Brighton on a Sunday night, for example, gets back 6.30pm-ish to give you an example. You couldn’t have much of a social life, assuming you wanted to get home of a night. My car is my independence, a taxi service for stranded others and a means to visit and keep in touch with distant family and friends.
Why I bought a Suzuki Vitara.
I’d had two BMWs – the second after the first one had been in a bad car accident and I was convinced I’d have been more seriously injured if it hadn’t been a BMW. But the Series 1 wasn’t good on visibility (I’m 5’ 4” and the car seemed better suited for my 6’ tall husband) and it wasn’t a comfortable journey up to Newcastle – it was too firm a ride for me.
Knowing that there are often better value cars on offer than the one we’re used to driving, I’d had Suzuki recommended to me, enjoyed a test drive, they’ve been good to the Club and we have exceptional affinity new car deals for Club members.
So a £3,000 discount off a well spec’d £17,000-ish car wasn’t to be sniffed at. I also didn’t want to haggle and I definitely didn’t want to have to suffer snooty dealer service levels so I chose a FOXY Lady Approved car dealer as in Worthing Suzuki, and gave Brett a challenging brief ie this is what I want and I’d like it within two weeks please…
He came up with the goods with a smile.
What features do I most (and least) like about the Suzuki Vitara?
I particularly like the onboard space and the high vision, compared to the 1 Series. Surprisingly it isn’t much wider than the BMW so I don’t need two parking spaces like some SUV drivers seem to. I had specified a reversing camera and a Sat Nav which came with the SZ-T version.
The reversing camera is great but the Sat Nav is taking some getting used to – I’m a creature of habit so I’m using my trusted Garmin alongside but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of Suzuki’s version after a while (?).
What’s the Suzuki Vitara like to drive?
The Suzuki Vitara isn’t as zippy or exciting a drive as my BMWs were, perhaps, but it’s a steady and reliable performer all the same. It handles corners well and improved visibility means I can see further, drive more safely and feel more in control. All in all, I think that’s more important than zippy-ness.
Is the Vitara a comfortable car with good visibility?
I’ve mentioned visibility before, which is SO important for me and reassuringly good on the Vitara. Of course you still have to remember the blind spot and check when overtaking/changing lanes but apart from that – and when parking in particular – you get excellent reverse vision of the kerb allowing me to line up/check parking space lines accurately.
As far as comfort is concerned it’s much more comfortable than my previous BMWs and elderly relatives find it easier to get into (and out of) than the low slung BMWs they had to fall into and be hauled out of previously…
Is it value for money when it comes to everyday motoring?
It was a great deal for starters – after 3 months membership, all Club members get fantastic affinity car buying deals (the same as mine) from Suzuki car dealers across the UK.
As far as insurance was concerned we have a multiple car policy which made adding the Vitara very reasonable indeed – the theory being that you can’t be driving all your cars all the time so the risk per car is lower. My husband is a classic Citroen fanatic so we have a 2CV in the garage and his daily drive of choice is a 1970s Citroen GS.
I have also bought a special servicing plan allowing me to save and stagger maintenance and servicing costs per month.
So all in all the Vitara is really good value for money as I see it.
PS: Writing this has reminded me that the Club has a discounted GAP Insurance scheme with FOXY Lady Approved ALA Insurance – so there’s money to be saved there too.
How important are car safety features to me?
Most women expect their cars to be safe nowadays but some are safer than others. The Suzuki Vitara is one of Europe’s safest cars as confirmed by its maximum 5-star ratings in Euro NCAP tests.
Mine has seven airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners and belt force limiters. I also like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to help me steer safely during sudden manouevres.
I write a lot about Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and how I’d like this to be a minimum safety standard on all cars in future. It allows your car to sense others in front and stop you getting too close. Did you know that 75% of all collisions occur at speeds less than 25mph in so called ‘City’ driving environments?
How reliable has my Vitara been?
In the trade, Suzuki has a remarkable reputation for reliability and fares better than many more-familiar brand names. A Suzuki dealer recently told me ‘they just don’t break’ and I believe him. And let’s face it, would I risk my reputation buying or recommending a car that wasn’t reliable? Trust me, that’s not at all likely!
My honest marks out of 10 for the Suzuki Vitara.
No car is perfect but this is a lot better than most! It’s early days, but reviewing this car for my lifestyle and as value-for-money, I’d give it 8.5 out of 10. Which is very good for me. And if I can get to grip with the onboard Sat Nav system and some of the unused (as yet) technology maybe I’ll up this in future.
MD of FOXY Lady Drivers Club