Ever since its launch in 1988, the various generations of the Suzuki Vitara have earned high acclaim for their stylish designs, compact and easy to manage dimensions, good on-road performance and genuine off-road ability.

Over the years, the Vitara has evolved through changes in body size, engine technology, safety systems and chassis development.

The new Suzuki Vitara is available in petrol engine guise only, but transmission choices consist of a five-speed manual, six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic – depending on the model chosen.

There are two petrol (Boosterjet) engine options – a 1.0-litre, and a 1.4-litre, with annual road tax costing €270 and €280 respectively.

Thanks to Suzuki’s new Boosterjet technology, both engines offer low emissions and greatly enhanced fuel economy.

The 1.0-litre petrol engine comes with 110bhp and 160Nm of torque, making this car so much fun to drive.

This eager engine goes hand-in-hand with a chassis that is equally enjoyable. Body control is excellent and engine responses are fluid and natural, giving the new Vitara a sporty and dynamic character.

The 1.4-litre engine comes with 139bhp and 220Nm of torque – figures which represent a 17% increase over the 1.6-litre engine it replaced back in 2015.

Available in up to 11 different colours (single-tone and two-tone paint) the new Vitara stands 1.61M tall, 4.175M long and 1.775M wide, and will fit comfortably into any car parking space, while turning heads with its stylish good looks.

Thanks to these well thought-out proportions, the new Vitara looks great from every angle and offers excellent head and leg room inside too.

The quality of the materials used in the cabin is impressive, while the infotainment system in my test car provided satellite navigation, Bluetooth, radio functions and images from the standard reverse camera all on one centrally located touch screen.

There are three trim levels available in the new Suzuki Vitara – SZ4, SZ-T, and SZ5, with even the entry-level SZ4 model equipped with a dizzying range of features.

These include 16” alloy wheels, engine stop/start, chrome front grille, LED daytime running lights, cruise control with speed limiter, CD/radio/USB port, Bluetooth, auto climate control and a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel and much, much more.

My review car was a Suzuki Vitara SZ5 1.4-litre Boosterjet AllGrip, 6-speed manual, and was finished in ever-popular Atlantis Turquoise metallic paint (a €370 cost option).

With 140bhp and 220Nm of torque available, its sweet-revving engine is a perfect match for the Vitara’s breadth of talents – both on, and off-road.

Fuel consumption as low as 5.5l/100km (51.3mpg) is possible on a combined driving cycle, while annual road tax for this all-wheel-drive edition of the Vitara is just €280.

Suzuki’s terrific ALLGRIP (4WD) system has four driver-selectable modes for safe, enjoyable driving on diverse surfaces.

The system has a ‘feed-forward function’ that allocates torque to the rear wheels before any slippage can occur.

The four modes are auto, sport, snow and lock, and the system provides the reassurance of four-wheel-drive safety and stability, with the low running costs of a two-wheel-drive.

The new Suzuki Vitara is very competitively priced, with the SZ4 model priced from just €20,995, SZ-T priced from €22,995, and SZ5 available from €26,495 (all prices are quoted ex-delivery).