Suzuki was somewhat ahead of the curve when they introduced the space-conscious Vitara SUV in the late 80s.
The rugged lightweight four wheeler has become a darling among the middle class families of Europe and Russia, who found its manageable size and reliability to be an excellent combination for their compact —or in case of Eastern Europe, nonexistent— roads.
Besides winning over families, the Vitara also enjoyed considerable success in desert rally racing, forming a strong cult following among enthusiasts.
The Vitara Brezza we are reviewing today is the city-focused sibling of the cult classic Vitara. The bright, quirky five-seat "Wicked SUV'' is a contender in the same class as the MG ZS, Haval H2 and Mahindra XUV 300. All of these are becoming increasingly common on the streets of Dhaka city.
Suzuki describes the Vitara as the 'Wicked SUV' with their official slogan being 'Unleash the power to be wicked'. Is it wicked enough?
Outwardly, the Brezza looks like an enlarged Swift with an SUV themed body kit. According to Suzuki staff, this is because both cars are based on the same platform. That should be promising as the Swift is immensely fun to drive.
Although front-wheel-drive, the Brezza features both front and rear plastic skid plates as well as cladding over the rocker panels. The front crash bumper is designed to mimic the look of a "bull bar" found on dedicated off-road trucks.
The D-pillar incorporates the "floating roof" design element, although the black roof of our dual tone press car made it very hard to spot. The entire car sits a respectable 198 mm off the ground and runs on some sharp 16-inch alloy wheels.
The silver Suzuki badge is placed prominently on the front of the car, flanked by dual-chamber LED projector headlamps with integrated DRLs. Two recessed LED fog lamps are located under the headlamps, with LED tail lamps rounding out the rear.
The entire combination gives the car a more beefier appearance as well as some underbody protection on unpaved roads. The end result is eye-catching and interesting, as evident by multiple people who approached us to enquire about the car.
The Brezza's interior lacks visual flair but is well made and equipped with some very practical features and amenities. Most of it is covered in durable textured plastic, while the seats are upholstered in two types of cloth materials and are firm but comfortable. The driver gets special treatment, as both the steering wheel and the adjustable centre armrest are finished in genuine leather.
The automated climate control lacks rear vents but is capable of rapidly cooling the car without them. There is an additional adjustable AC vent inside the top glove compartment, which redirects some of the AC's cool air inside to keep your Snickers bars from melting.
In terms of storage, the car has plenty; there are two glove compartments, cup holders for both front and rear passengers, door pockets on all four doors and a deep centre console. A folded grocery bag hook can also be found at the rear of the driver seat, which has a maximum capacity of 3kg. Go weekend grocery shopping all the way out of the city with ease.
The 7-inch infotainment system runs Suzuki's own proprietary system but supports both Apple CarPay and Android Auto. The audio system is a four-speaker setup backed up by two tweeters and is more than enough for a car of this size.
For illumination, front seat passengers get their own map lights while a single centre cabin dome light is available for rear occupants. There is also a small light inside the car's cargo bay, located on the right rear fender.
There is a USB port and a 12-volt socket at the bottom of the center stack for charging devices, as well as an additional 12-volt socket in the cargo area.
The driving experience
Being a family-focused car, the Brezza's designers emphasised ride comfort. The coil spring front, torsion bar rear suspension setup is well suited for city traffic, though can be a bit wallowy on corners at high speed.
The steering wheel is light and comfortable, though the turning radius felt a bit wide for a car in this segment.
The 1.5 naturally aspirated engine runs smooth but is a little reluctant on the initial push. It doesn't want to jerk the passengers with sudden movements. Things get rapid over 3000 RPM with a good amount of power and torque being available at mid-range.
The 4AT gearbox provides linear power at mid range but there is a noticeable kickdown between first and second gear. Does it kill the mood? Some say this prevents the car from feeling too sterile.
The brake engagement of the Brezza starts off soft and gradually ramps up to a steady grip. The process takes a bit getting used to but results in smooth, gliding braking. So far, the Brezza aims at delivering a cushy ride whether accelerating or decelerating.
Beside the ride quality, Brezza comes with a number of automated features such as speed sensing door locks, smart headlamps, and rain sensing wipers. We got to experience the latter firsthand, thanks to the absolute downpour that occurred as we were wrapping up our photoshoot. This proved another thing: you can go to Bashundhara in the rain and survive. This car has ample ground clearance to survive all our speed breakers and some intermediate flooding.
To sum up
The Suzuki Vitara Brezza retains some of the style and excitement of a sporty hatchback while incorporating many of the practical elements of a family van. All the while looking like a crossover which is all the rage in Bangladesh now.
If you are a young family looking for a quirky, affordable, and youthful car, the Brezza is designed with you in mind. Be it an office trip or a picnic in the countryside, the Vitara has the right tools to ensure you have a good time.