Full 2007 Suzuki XL7 Review
What's New for 2007
The Suzuki XL7 has been redesigned for 2007. Compared to last year's model, the new one is larger, roomier, more comfortable and more powerful.
Introduced in 2001, the original Suzuki XL7 seven-passenger SUV was compact in dimensions and geared for people who didn't want the hassles and expense of a midsize and full-size sport-utility but still needed the option of third-row seating. Unfortunately, its truck-based design, claustrophobic second- and third-row seats, poor-quality interior pieces and lack of side-impact airbags soon relegated it to bit-player status among a growing and increasingly refined field of compact and midsize contenders.
Suzuki is making amends in 2007 with a completely redesigned second-generation XL7. Ten inches longer and 2 inches wider than before, it's the largest Suzuki SUV ever. Naturally, it's meant primarily for the North American market. In fact, much of its underlying mechanicals are based on a modified version of GM's midsize crossover SUV platform that's used for vehicles such as the Chevrolet Equinox.
The 2007 XL7's unibody structure helps to provide a carlike ride and better handling reflexes. With a new rack-and-pinion steering system and a four-wheel independent suspension (with load-leveling rear shocks on seven-passenger models), the XL7 has newfound comfort, confidence and capability when matched up against other leading midsize sport-utility vehicles. Some XL7 shoppers might be dismayed to learn that the new model lacks the previous one's off-road capability, but the new on-road bias is much more in line with typical buyer needs. Additionally, the '07 XL7's 252-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is a welcome replacement for the previous model's anemic 2.7-liter V6.
Overall, the new 2007 Suzuki XL7 is much improved and more competitive in just about every way. We think value-conscious shoppers will certainly want to give it consideration as an alternative to vehicles like the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-9. That said, there are a few notable drawbacks, such as tight shoulder room and interior materials that don't quite meet the high standards set by other competitors. These issues become even more apparent when the XL7 is loaded up with options and its lead in value diminishes. If you're going to buy a Suzuki XL7, we'd advise you to stick with the base trim level for maximum value.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Suzuki XL7 is a well-equipped five- or seven-passenger midsize crossover SUV. Five-passenger XL7s are offered in base and Luxury trim levels, while seven-passenger models come in base, Luxury and Limited versions. Buyers have a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive on all trim levels. Included on the base trim is a long list of standard features, including 16-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, automatic climate control, a six-speaker CD stereo, cruise control and full power accessories. Seven-seat base models also feature a load-leveling rear suspension, under-floor cargo storage and rear air-conditioning with separate controls. The upscale Luxury trim level adds 17-inch wheels, leather seating, wood-grain accents, a power driver seat, heated front seats and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Both five- and seven-passenger Luxury models are eligible for an optional sunroof, but only the seven-passenger version can be equipped with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. For the XL7 Limited, Suzuki adds the DVD entertainment system, a selection of exterior trim upgrades, keyless startup and a premium audio system with satellite radio. The Limited's Platinum Touring Package replaces the entertainment system with the sunroof but adds a navigation system and special wheels.
Powertrains and Performance
The all-new Suzuki XL7 is motivated by a General Motors-derived 3.6-liter V6 producing 252 hp and 243 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. Suzuki says zero to 60 mph takes fewer than 8 seconds and EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway for front-wheel-drive models and 17/23 for AWD XL7s. For those with toys to haul around, the XL7 has a 3,500-pound tow capacity.
The XL7's available all-wheel-drive system uses an electronically controlled rear differential that engages those wheels immediately when slippery conditions are encountered up front. While it can handle snow and ice and gentle dirt trails just fine, venturing far off the beaten path to rocky outcroppings is now best left to more focused off-road vehicles.
The 2007 Suzuki XL7 is equipped with antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control with a rollover sensor. Additional safety features include side curtain airbags (for all three rows on seven-passenger XL7s) and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2007 XL7 is the largest, most comfortable Suzuki SUV ever built and offers a spacious, functional interior. The overall design looks modern, but the quality and fit and finish of some interior pieces is a little iffy. When it comes to head- and legroom, the XL7 measures within an inch of the Honda Pilot in all three rows. Shoulder room is a different story, however, as it's narrower than that of most other midsize crossovers. The 60/40 split-folding middle-row seats also tumble and fold, and the optional 50/50 split-folding third-row seat can be folded flat into the floor for additional cargo-carrying room; a fold-flat front-passenger seat enables the XL7 to carry longer items with ease. With the rear seats lowered, the vehicle has a maximum cargo capacity of 95.2 cubic feet.
Although the 2007 Suzuki XL7's new V6 engine is significantly larger and more powerful than the engine in the previous-generation XL7, it also returns fuel economy equal to or better than its predecessor. On the highway, the XL7 delivers a quiet and comfortable ride, but soft suspension settings result in cornering performance that's hardly sporty. This won't be a problem for the majority of buyers, but if you do want a family SUV with a more athletic demeanor, you could always look at the CX-9 and Nissan Murano.