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Available Grand Vitara Models
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The 2000 Limited Edition Grand Vitara comes with leather seats, privacy glass, foglamps, a hard spare tire cover, an armrest, gold emblems and a special black-and-white paint scheme. The spare tire cover on regular Grand Vitaras features a new design. The '99 model's base trim levels JS and JS+ have been renamed JLS and JLS+. A CD changer is standard equipment on JLS+ and JLX+ models.
With a title that sounds more like a sprawling Spanish estate (or maybe a new, super-potency drug) than a mini-SUV, the Grand Vitara is Suzuki's bold entrant in the rapidly growing mini-SUV segment. Based off the four-door Suzuki Vitara, the big selling point about the Grand Vitara is its V6 engine. Most other mini-SUVs feature four-cylinder engines. Suzuki's 2.5-liter V6 makes 155 horsepower and 160 foot-pounds of torque. Harnessing those 155 horses is either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive is optional.
The interior offers several amenities not common in this class. These include two reading lights in addition to the main dome light, extended sun-block slats on the visors, plenty of small cargo bins for storing assorted doodads, and comfortable front seats covered in a soft cloth. The Grand Vitara also has a useful large, single door that swings open to access the rear cargo area. The rear seat, while on the small side, is reasonably comfortable for smaller adults.
There's also plenty of luxury with standard air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, keyless entry and daytime running lamps included on every Grand Vitara. Higher levels of trim offer 16-inch alloy wheels and antilock brakes.
Once moving, the Grand Vitara's V6 provides plenty of grunt. Its styling gets attention, especially when equipped with the 16-inch wheels. But the Suzuki is let down by long braking distances and a suspension that doesn't work as well as it should. The Grand Vitara is harsh over broken pavement, and that harshness doesn't seem to translate to substantial benefits off-highway.
The Grand Vitara does have plenty to offer consumers, however. Four-wheel-drive models come with a low-range transfer case, something many other mini SUVs don't have. The 2000 Limited Edition model should further the Grand Vitara's exclusivity. But the '99 Grand Vitara's trump card--V6 power--has recently been eclipsed by the V6 engines found in the new 2000 Ford Escape, Nissan Xterra, and Mazda Tribute.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.