A 2007 Grand Vitara XSport with 4WD will run you about $22,899.
For a company that started out as a weaving loom manufacturer back in 1909, they sure have been able to remain diversified. Suzuki's Grand Vitara keeps pace with the ever-changing trendy CUV market with a V6 engine as its standard offering to the public. Produced since 1999, it replaced the Suzuki Sidekick.
Additions to the 2007 Grand Vitara model include a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and a trip computer upgrade, which now provides the driver with cumulative average fuel economy numbers as well as the estimated number of miles that can be driven before refueling.
I drove a 2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara 4WD XSport 5-speed automatic transmission with a 185-horsepower 2.7-liter V6 engine. Total vehicle cost is $22,899. Estimated gas mileage is 19-mpg city and 23-mpg highway driving.
NOT JUST SOME CROSSOVER
It has one of the few V6 engines in the compact/crossover utility vehicle (CUV) market.
The Grand Vitara has a stylish shape as well as handsome head and taillights. With a total length of 176 inches, it follows the cue to be bigger than most in its segment, meaning it has lost that early-CUV stoutness.
The standard 2.7-liter, 24-valve DOHC engine delivers 185-horsepower, 184 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm, and is Suzuki's first V6 engine ever offered. The Grand Vitara has a tow rating of 3,000 pounds, which limits the vehicle to light recreational boats, personal watercraft or off-road vehicles such as motorcycles and ATVs.
Despite what some other critics are citing about the Grand Vitara riding rough, this character flaw did not cross my mind during my week-long test drive. It accelerated to high speeds nicely with little drag or jerks in transmission shifts, and performed well on uneven surfaces. It zipped solidly.
If the Grand Vitara could talk, it would say it doesn't want to be just another crossover wimp. Take some of the clearance and turning radius, for example. With a ground clearance of 7.9 inches, a 29-degree approach angle along with a 26-degree depart angle, and ramp break-over angle of 19 degrees, the Grand Vitara can handle various off-road situations, even while towing.
The build features a lightweight unibody construction with a built-in ladder frame; four-wheel independent suspension; vented front disc brakes and rear drum brakes; and power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. A five-speed manual transmission comes as standard equipment, but an electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission is available. Side curtain air bags, climate control, and a CD/MP3 player are standard.
It's a true compact SUV, wanting to be more useful than some urban prize.
When it comes to trims, the 5-passenger Grand Vitara is available in XSport, Luxury, or a simple base model.
The Grand Vitara is pretty thorough on the standard features. The list includes: air conditioning with automatic climate control and micron air-filtration system, cruise control, digital clock with outside temperature, fuel consumption indicator and adjustable center armrest with internal storage.
The XSport that I drove adds the following to the list of standard features: electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission, SmartPass keyless entry and start system, six-disc in-dash CD changer with seven speakers, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, fog lamps, privacy glass, hard spare tire cover and roof rails.
The Luxury trim brings heated leather seats, wood trim, and a sunroof. That would have been nice, and I recommend the upgrade as it opens the interior space up a bit. I didn't much like the fact power seats are not offered in any package. That's the one major, modern interior attribute missing.
There is also a need for better lighting on the center consol control system for night driving. Overall, the Grand Vitara is on the low-end of technology. No Bluetooth, no navigation system. Keyless remote is convenient, although the concept takes some getting used to: one must keep a rather bulky remote key fob in one's pocket the entire time.
It has decent cargo space, as you can see from the picture I was able to fit a custom-made planter box rather nicely. But as with most CUVs, there is just not enough rear legroom.
SOLID LITTLE NUMBER
The Grand Vitara I drove offered the Four-Mode full-time 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case. The interior-mounted switch to engage the center differential lock is convenient. The Four-Mode system allows for towing with all four wheels on the ground with the transfer case switched in the neutral position. The alternative offered is a rear-wheel drive system.
On those smaller costal back roads with steep grades, it did just fine hugging gravel and dirt during sharp turns and upward acceleration. It’s a small sized SUV with an extremely tight turning radius and a solid feel. I was digging the car and digging the price.
USEFUL VS. URBAN
The Grand Vitara has generous cargo space. Here it fit a planter box perfectly.
In today's crossover market, you get either a vehicle that closely mimics a car or one that is more capable for minor off-road situations; the latter describes the Grand Vitara. For what constitutes a CUV, this vehicle measures up. The proof is in the V6 where others in its class mostly stick to just a 4-cyclinder.
It felt durable; at least more so than a lot of other crossovers I have driven. It beats the Honda CR-V in performance. Although I love the new style of the 2007 CR-V and have driven it, I would have to say after driving the Grand Vitara, I am now torn. It's a true compact SUV, wanting to be more useful than urban. Ultimately, I was surprised by the vehicle's performance. In the end, I was sorry to see it go.
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