New Suzuki Grand Vitara Review

2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited 4dr SUV Exterior

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The Suzuki Grand Vitara is a small SUV that attempts to deliver the often mutually exclusive attributes of off-road ability and on-road comfort. In its first generation, the Grand Vitara featured a trucklike chassis, V6 power and low-range gearing. The current model is similar, but features a body structure that blends car and truck chassis designs.

Due to a variety of shortcomings, the original Grand Vitara did not achieve a great deal of success in the U.S. marketplace. The current model is greatly improved, however, and even if it lacks the refinement of its many compact SUV competitors, its rough-and-tumble nature makes it a good choice for those who like to escape the urban grind with adventures into the great outdoors.

Current Suzuki Grand Vitara
The Suzuki Grand Vitara has seating for five passengers, a long list of standard features and available four-wheel drive with low-range gearing.

There are four styles available for the Suzuki Grand Vitara: Base, Premium, Ultimate Adventure Edition and Limited. Even base and Premium models are pretty well equipped with features like automatic climate control, full power accessories, a removable Garmin navigation unit and side curtain airbags. The Ultimate Adventure Edition gets a few items that'll come in handy out in the wilderness like heated front seats, water-resistant upholstery and foglights, while the Limited gets luxurious upgrades like leather seating, keyless ignition/entry and a premium sound system. Bluetooth is optional on all but the base Grand Vitara.

Every Suzuki Grand Vitara is powered by a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder that produces 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on base models, while all other versions get a four-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the lineup, but Premium models can also be had with a four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case. Limited models are offered with a four-mode 4WD system (4H, 4H Lock, 4L Lock and N) that allows the Grand Vitara to be flat-towed behind an RV without adding miles to the odometer.

Like most other compact SUVs, the Grand Vitara features a carlike unibody chassis for improved body rigidity, handling and safety. Suzuki has attempted to differentiate it, however, by incorporating a ladder frame design into the unibody structure. The company says this enhances the vehicle's off-road and towing abilities. In editorial reviews, this Suzuki SUV has earned favorable commentary for its long list of standard features, attractive price and above-average abilities when taken off-pavement. Its slow acceleration, unimpressive fuel economy and general lack of refinement, however, make it less appealing than other compact crossovers.

Read the most recent 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Suzuki Grand Vitara page.

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