Offering the true SUV credentials for which Suzuki has become renowned but with an even more luxurious specification, the Grand Vitara X-EC 5-door is a new special edition of the company’s compact SUV with either 2.0-litre petrol or 1.9-litre diesel power.

The impressively equipped X-EC can be readily identified by its unique Azure Grey Pearl metallic paintwork, silver roof rails and exclusive 17 inch 10-spoke alloy wheels. Further distinguishing touches include silver front bonnet trim, black side mouldings and, of course, X-EC badging.

Keyless entry and start means there’s no fumbling for keys, and once inside an air of luxury is provided by a leather-trimmed steering wheel and Alcantara upholstery. Cruise control and Trafficmaster’s Smartnav navigation system contribute to a relaxed driving experience, and when the preference is for some fresh air, then the X-EC is equipped with an electric sunroof.

That’s on top of an already extensive specification that includes automatic climate control, MP3-audio compatibility, reclining rear seats, front fogs, steering-wheel audio controls, heated electric door mirrors and six airbags.

The Smartnav navigation and congestion avoidance system takes live traffic information from Trafficmaster’s 7,500-strong sensor network and guides drivers around jams and delays to get them from A to B in the shortest possible time.

The package includes a 12 month navigation subscription with live traffic information, plus a one month free trial subscription to Trafficmaster Safe Speed – an in-car alert system which flags up speed limits around fixed safety cameras – and a one-month free trial subscription to Stolen Vehicle Tracking.

The 140 PS 2.0-litre petrol engined Grand Vitara XE-C is priced at £16,999 on-the-road in manual form – automatic transmission is available for an extra £1,000 – while the 129 PS intercooled and turbocharged 1.9 DDiS 5-speed manual model retails at £18,499 OTR.

Combined cycle fuel consumption is 32.1 mpg for the 2.0-litre model (automatic 31.0 mpg), while the 1.9 DDiS is capable of 37.2 mpg. CO2 emissions are 208, 217 and 195 g/km respectively.

The Grand Vitara offers exceptional refinement, with all-wheel independent suspension ensuring a smooth and responsive on-road ride. Yet with its permanently engaged four-wheel drive system, a locking centre differential and low range, it possesses serious off-road capability and the unique monocoque body with ‘built-in ladder frame’ provides exceptional rigidity and toughness.

The relatively long wheelbase which effectively ‘pushes’ the front wheels forwards ensures a spacious cabin with legroom comparable to models from a higher segment and a capacious luggage area able to swallow 758 litres.