The Suzuki Grand Vitara was redesigned in 2006. A unique combination of unibody and ladder-frame construction and rear- or 4-wheel drive (4WD) improved the Grand Vitara's road manners while preserving its reputation as a durable and capable off-roader. Changes for 2007 are minimal and include a standard tire-pressure-monitoring system and enhanced trip computer.
Compact, off-road-capable SUVs have been an integral part of Suzuki's lineup since the beginning-that being 1985, when they entered the U.S. market with the Samurai, an inexpensive but rugged 2-door 4x4. Three years later the Sidekick joined the lineup, first as a 2-door soft-top and later as a 4-door. Durable and inexpensive, the bigger Sidekick was a precursor of the mini-SUVs which would soon dominate the market, but it never achieved the popularity of more mainstream vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. Suzuki attempted to rectify this in 1999 by redesigning and renaming their mini SUV. The new Vitara was more substantial and more refined, plus it offered something new to the Suzuki lineup: a V-6-powered version-the Grand Vitara.
The Grand Vitara received its first major redesign in 2006. In place of the old vehicle's body-on-frame construction, the new Grand Vitara uses a load-bearing unibody with an integral ladder frame, which saves weight while preserving the durability necessary for serious off-roading. The Grand Vitara also retains its truck-like rear-wheel-drive layout and longitudinally-mounted, 185-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 engine. Rear-wheel-drive is standard; the optional full-time 4WD system features a transfer case with low range and a lockable center differential. The transfer case has a neutral range that allows the Grand Vitara to be towed with all four wheels on the ground, a benefit for RV owners.
The 5-seat Grand Vitara is available in base, XSport, and Luxury models. Anti-lock brakes, side curtain air bags, climate control, and a CD/MP3 player are standard on all Grand Vitaras. The XSport adds features such as an automatic transmission, a keyless start system, and a CD changer, while the Luxury trim gets heated leather seats, wood trim, and a sunroof. The Grand Vitara is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain protection.
The Suzuki Grand Vitara competes in the Compact Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) segment, which consists of 20 models. Buyers in this segment look for fuel economy, reliability, and comfort, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Honda CR-V (170,028 units sold), Ford Escape (157,395), and Toyota RAV4 (152,047). The Suzuki Grand Vitara sold 26,931 units in 2006, an increase of 212.3 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Compact CUV segment include the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chevrolet Equinox and HHR, Saturn Vue, and Scion xB. Joining the segment in 2007 are two Jeep models-the Compass and Patriot, and Kia Rondo.
|Base (M5)||5 speed manual||$19,379||185-hp / 2.7L 6-cyl||18/23|
|XSport (A5)||5 speed automatic||$21,699||185-hp / 2.7L 6-cyl||19/24|
|Luxury (A5)||5 speed automatic||$23,599||185-hp / 2.7L 6-cyl||19/24|