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It used to be that US buyers could regularly choose 2- or 3-door (if they were closed-roof models) small SUVs if they felt that's what suited their needs. They included the Samurai, and later, the Sidekick from Suzuki, the Isuzu Rodeo, and the Toyota RAV4, just to name a few. Today, our market's loaded with small SUVs, but they're all on longer wheelbases and sport four doors and a rear hatch, just like their larger brethren.

In other markets, you can still get the smaller SUVs from some manufacturers, however. We like the 3-door Suzuki Grand Vitara quite a bit. It keeps the Vitara's good looks, but compresses them into a short, buggy-like package. This week, Suzuki UK announced the availability of a diesel version of the small Grand Vitara, which to us seems like a seriously versatile little machine. A 4x4 sized like a commuter car that manages 38.2 mpg on the combined cycle definitely has some appeal. Keep in mind that the Brits generally use imperial gallons in their ratings. If that's indeed the case here, we'd be lower - around 32 mpg (thanks to Brian in the comments for correcting me). Still pretty nice. If you were given the option, would you choose something like this over one of the current misers (i.e. Fit, Yaris, Prius)?

Press release after the jump.

[Source: Suzuki UK]
Related GallerySuzuki Grand Vitara 3-door


PRESS RELEASE:
3-DOOR DIESEL MODEL JOINS SUZUKI'S GRAND VITARA LINE-UP

Customers opting for a diesel powered Suzuki Grand Vitara have until now been restricted in their choice to the larger 5-door bodystyle, but a new 3-door model joins the range from April, priced at a competitive £14,999 on-the-road.

Unlike its petrol-engined 3-door sibling, which is essentially a 'soft roader', the new 1.9 DDiS Grand Vitara adopts the drivetrain of the manual transmission 5-door models and supplements permanent four-wheel drive with a centre differential lock and a low range to ensure serious and outstanding off road capability. It can therefore tackle tough, muddy off-road conditions with ease, while the system's four different modes are easily selected via a dash-mounted rotary switch.

Power output from the Renault-supplied intercooled and turbocharged engine is 129 PS, and a hefty 221 lb ft (300 Nm) of torque peaking at 2000 rpm delivers reassuring ability in both on and off-road driving situations. Such output doesn't penalise fuel economy either, and the 1.9 DDiS 3 door Grand Vitara achieves 38.2 mpg on the combined cycle, while carbon dioxide emissions are 195 g/km.

In line with other Grand Vitara models, equipment levels are generous, and include climate control air conditioning, front electric windows, an integrated radio/CD player with steering wheel mounted audio controls, tinted glass, tilt adjustable steering, reclining rear seats, heated and folding door mirrors, immobiliser, alloys and front fogs. Outstanding safety credentials include front, side and curtain airbags for front seat occupants, plus curtain airbags in the rear.

Thanks to a unique lightweight monocoque body combined with a stiff, built-in ladder frame, rigidity matches the most traditional of off roaders. In contrast to the 5-door model's understated elegance, the 3-door with its 'crouched' muscular form projects a more sporty persona. A relatively long wheelbase has permitted a roomy cabin with front and rear legroom comparable to that of models from a higher segment.

The 1.9 DDiS 3-door joins a line-up comprising 1.6-litre VVT and VVT+ 3-door manual models; 2.0-litre 16v 5-door manual and automatic models; and 1.9 DDiS 5-door manual model.

MODEL GRAND VITARA DIESEL M/T 3 DR


TRANSMISSION

Manual

DIMENSIONS

Overall length

mm

4405

Overall width

mm

1810

Overall height

mm

1695

Wheelbase

mm

2440

Front track

mm

1540

Rear track

mm

1570

Ground clearance

mm

200

Turning circle

m

10.2

Boot capacity rear seatbacks raised

litres

184 (VDA method)

Boot capacity rear seatbacks lowered

litres

516 (VDA method)

WEIGHTS

Kerb weight

kg

1570

Gross vehicle weight

kg

1870

Braked trailer weight

kg

1600

Unbraked trailer weight

kg

550

Gross train weight

kg

1870

Nose weight

kg

85

ENGINE

Type 1.9 F9Q

Compression ignition, four stroke

Cylinders

4 in line

Fuel distribution

High pressure common rail direct injection

Piston displacement

1870

Bore x stroke

mm

80.0 x 93.0

Compression ratio

17.0.1

Max. power

kW @ rpm

95 @ 3750 rpm

Max. torque

Nm @ rpm

300 @ 2000 rpm

EMISSIONS / FUEL CONSUMPTION

CO2 (Combined)

g/km

195

Urban

mpg

31.4

Extra urban

mpg

43.5

Combined

mpg

38.2

Fuel tank capacity

litres

55L

TRANSMISSION

Type

Mechanical, 5 speed synchromesh

1st gear ratio

3.854

2nd gear ratio

2.135

3rd gear ratio

1.411

4th gear ratio

1.000

5th gear ratio

0.784

Reverse ratio

3.854

Transfer ratio

LOW=1.970, HIGH=1.000

Final gear ratio

4.300

Maximum speed

mph

105

0-62 mph

sec

12.6

0-100 km/h

sec

12.8

CHASSIS

Steering

Hybrid, mechanical rack & pinion (POWER STEERING)

Front suspension

MacPherson strut and coil spring

Rear suspension

Multi Link/ Coil Spring

Front brakes

Diagonal split, servo assisted ventilated discs, ABS

Rear brakes

Drum, leading and trailing

Tyres

225/65R17S or (spare225/70/16S)

Wheel size

16 x 6J or (spare 16 x 6.5J )