The Suzuki Vitara hybrid makes for a good value and very practical family car, being spacious and competitively-priced.

It’s also generously kitted-out, with even the entry-level version getting plenty of equipment.

The current model now benefits from mild-hybrid technology, which helps to keep running costs down.

Indeed, the 1.4-litre Boosterjet hybrid unit, which powered this SZ5 2W model, is a real gem in the way in which it strikes an excellent balance between performance and economy.

Craven Herald: The Suzuki Vitara

Over 50mpg is the official fuel consumption figure on the combined cycle, with emissions coming in at 128g/km – enough to please the more green-minded buyer.

Its power delivery is smooth and strong, with the engine feeling perfect for a car of this size.

The Vitara can reach 62mpg from a standing start in under 10 seconds, but feels slightly brisker than that in real world driving conditions.

Those figures make the Vitara quicker and more economical than several key rivals in the small SUV market.

The small battery and electric motor takes over from the combustion engine at lower speeds, keeping all the essentials going while you're stopped at traffic lights or in a queue, and also as you draw up and pull away on electric power, although only under 10mph.

Suzuki claim it provides a 20 per cent boost in terms of efficiency.

Craven Herald: The Suzuki Vitara

It all makes for a motor that's relaxing to drive around town, but the steering and handling is sharp enough to have a bit of fun when out on the B-roads.

The car's lighter weight, achieved through a higher-tech chassis, means the car feels nimble and eager to turn when cornering.

A relatively slick six-speed gearbox works well with the engine and allows you to extract decent performance through the lower gears.

With that in mind, it's one of the more engaging compact SUVs from a driving point of view.

Looks-wise, not a huge amount has changed in terms of styling, which is a good thing as it was already a smart-looking vehicle.

The Vitara's face is imposing thanks to a prominent grille, while LED lights are now standard across the range.

With any family vehicle, safety is a major consideration, so it's worth noting that the Vitara has a full five-star safety rating.

In terms of practicality, Suzuki has paid great attention to detail to making the everyday usability of this vehicle as easy as possible.

Craven Herald: The Vitara hybrid

The doors open up really wide to help you load items more easily, while the boot is cleverly designed, with no loading lip making it easy to slide luggage in. There's also a false floor that can be lifted up to give more storage space.

The seats also fold down into a 60-40 split to offer more space on the odd occasion when you need to transport bigger items.

There's a nice range of tech to aid driving, including a reversing camera to make parking easier, and active cruise control to help the driver enjoy a relaxing experience on the motorways.

Space-wise, six-foot tall adults will be fine in the back, although headroom is slightly restricted, while there are plenty of storage spaces throughout the cabin.

The interior is of decent quality, with some nicer materials dotted in and amongst the cheaper surfaces. For example, the upholstery has been upgraded, as has part of the top of the dash, to add an extra flourish to the cabin.

The panoramic sunroof on this high-spec SZ5 variant floods the cabin with light and enhances the ambience.

In the current climate, Suzuki has made a wise move by leaving the exterior design largely unchanged and diverting its investment to changes under the bonnet.

The electrification of the Vitara, albeit mild, has certainly increased its appeal.

The Lowdown

Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet Hybrid SZ5 2W

PRICE: £26,584

ECONOMY: 52.7mpg combined

PERFORMANCE: 118mph and 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds

ENGINE: 1.4 Boosterjet Hybrid SZ5 2W