1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara Review
Pros & Cons
- By far the most powerful engine in its class.
- Offers less front and rear legroom than a CR-V.
Edmunds' Expert Review
In creating the Grand Vitara, Suzuki has raised the bar by offering a standard V6 engine in the mini sport-ute class. This all-new, 2.5-liter V6 makes 155 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque. Even more impressive is that this maximum torque figure is reached at a relatively low 4,000 rpm, providing drivers with plenty of go-power even under real-world conditions. Harnessing those 155 horses is either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.
A monster engine isn't all that the Grand Vitara has to offer. Suzuki wanted to take expectations in the small sport-utility segment to the next level. This meant including a long list of standard features like air conditioning, power windows, keyless entry and daytime running lights.
Styling is another area where the Grand Vitara has gone its own way. The use of flush-surface design techniques has reduced the variance between windows and body panels to almost nil, cutting wind noise and creating a dramatic look. A chrome grille, body-side cladding, and an available two-tone paint scheme accent the overall wedge shape of the Grand Vitara.
Underneath the skin is an all-new chassis featuring a steel ladder box frame. A five-link coil spring suspension in back and independent MacPherson strut coil springs up front are designed to deal with on- or off-road activity. Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is standard, as are 16-inch wheels with 235/65R-16 all-season tires.
The Grand Vitara is available in either two- or four-wheel drive configurations, each with two trim levels. Upgraded models (JS+ and JLX+) come standard with ABS and alloy wheels.
The enthusiasm with which Suzuki has re-entered the mini-SUV class shows how serious the company is about attracting customers. With the only six-cylinder currently available to cute-ute buyers, the strategy will probably work.