I've got a love-hate relationship with the Suzuki Vitara and it's tearing me apart.
It was the car I dreamt of owning in my youth because it was affordable, versatile and, let's face it, looks like Barbie's beach-trailing SUV – in the right colours. Now, it seems to have lost all of those factors (although I'm not so worried about looking like a doll anymore), but is it for the best?
Our Vitara is the S ALLGRIP so retains the go-anywhere credentials of the older generations but with more pretty trims that make you second guess whether you'd want to take it anywhere remotely uneven. It's a test we'll get to, albeit tentatively.
The versatility-factor is one I've certainly been putting to the test this month. With drives around the country and an intensive weekend of moving house, it's been busy.
On the outside the Vitara looks compact but on the inside it feels spacious. In fact, it feels too big for the road in some situations. As much as I like the stealth-look of our Suzuki, with black wheels to match the bodywork, it's broad stance on the road feels like I could scratch those pristine alloys at any moment.
It certainly stood out on the last day before I officially moved out of my house, when I took the remainder of my junk to the local car boot sale. Unlike the over five-year old cars surrounding me, I could feel the envy for the Vitara.
The soft-roader height made the boot the ideal seat for a seller, such as myself. The black out windows are also ideal for hiding my precious (basically worthless) stock.
And during the move itself, it managed three full car loads of my belongings. That won't mean too much, but I'm a woman in her mid-twenties so there were a lot of shoes. The rear seats fold with a 60-40 split at the push of a button, which meant I could adapt the space to suit what I was moving – including a six-foot set of shelves.
It might not be the fun SUV I dreamt of when I was younger, but it's certainly got its place in my life these days.
Article written by Rebecca Chaplin