Overview & Reviews
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.
Used Suzuki Grand Vitara Models
The present second-generation Suzuki Grand Vitara debuted for the 2006 model year with one engine -- a 2.7-liter V6 that was capable of 185 hp. Changes were minimal until 2009, when a comprehensive midcycle update brought about the current four-cylinder engine and a much more powerful 3.2-liter V6. The V6 was available on XSport and Luxury trims and made 230 hp and 213 lb-ft of torque. Other changes included some redesigned interior controls and a new grille and front bumper design. Unfortunately, the V6 was discontinued after 2010, but finding a used example from its two years on the market would be a good idea. The Ultimate Adventure Edition was unavailable prior to 2012.
The first-generation Suzuki Grand Vitara debuted for the 1999 model year and lasted through 2005. It served as a replacement for the Sidekick, Suzuki's previous compact SUV. There was also a "regular" Vitara -- the difference between the two was that the Grand Vitara came with a V6 engine and more standard equipment and was available as a four-door body style only.
In its first year, the Grand Vitara was the only small SUV for the U.S. market equipped with a V6 engine. Upon release, this 2.5-liter V6 made 155 hp. Other distinct design elements included a trucklike chassis and low-range gearing on four-wheel-drive models. The main trim levels were either two-wheel-drive JS or four-wheel-drive JLX. There were also "plus" versions that came standard with antilock brakes and alloy wheels. In 2000, a plush Limited model was released that featured, among other luxuries, leather seating. In 2002 the V6 gained 10 more hp, and in 2003 Suzuki simplified the trim levels to be known simply as 2WD and 4WD.
Though many of its specs looked good on paper, this Suzuki Grand Vitara's shortcomings quickly became apparent in editorial reviews. The V6's output lagged behind many competitors' four-cylinder engines; ride quality was poor over rough pavement; and the interior was short on comfort and space. For the most part, shoppers interested in a used SUV should look elsewhere.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 388.00
First year of new Grand Vitara - 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By Tim - December 30 - 7:06 am
The Grand Vitara is a well done, real 4 wheel drive SUV at a reasonable price. Suzuki was not prepared for release of this new model though. Its service techs have not been trained on repairs, and parts are not available for many weeks if needed.
Not a piece of junk! - 2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By 07GVXS - December 9 - 2:03 pm
For the money you spend for a Suzuki GV it is not a bad vehicle. However because of its tendency to depreciate I would not buy one brand new. I bought my 2007 GV Xsport 2wd. barely used with 13000 mi. last year. The problem with the rear tires wearing was resolved with a rear end alignment. Seems the factory misaligned many of these models. The new tires seem to last longer once this is corrected. In my opinion most of the MPG ratings for this vehicle are pessimistic. I get around 20 MPG in city and 23 on Hwy. However this diminishes greatly if you exceed 70MPH on Hwy. The interior plastics are cheap and scratch easy but the engine and trans. seem to be very reliable and that's what counts.
Very good until - 2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By Lizzie - December 8 - 9:23 pm
Love this little SUV that we bought used. Do not have to climb up and in, nor have to lower oneself in - a boost for those of us w/ creaky knees. Zippy, 4WD when it suited us (birding) quick and easy. But the AC has died and the estimate is just under $1000.00! In So AZ can't live w/out AC so we will have to trade it in on... what?
Can't Beat the Price! - 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By Soto - November 29 - 6:06 am
The Grand Vitara is a great SUV for the price. I got mine very cheap and love the drive. It has decent gas mileage. Its mileage it a lot better than my other SUV! I have no complains.
Fun, Sporty Reliable V6 5-spd=grt value! - 2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By jazzbabe2 - November 22 - 2:00 am
26000K down the road, and I would highly recommend this SUV. Before buying, I compared it to Mazda, Honda, & Toyota - offered in 4 Cyc SUVs built on car frames, at a higher price + w/o power incl. The GV is built on a truck frame w/shift on the fly 4-wheel drive, + power options incl! I added after market extras and the car looks sporty. Fun to drive, it has exc interior passenger space + headroom, quality comfortable seats, good cargo space, + handles well in snow. No problems in 26,000+ miles + don't anticipate any problems ahead. I live in Boston yet drive to the Fitchburg dealer because their cust. serv. is unsurpassed!
Nice Little Sport Ute - 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By Joe M. - October 31 - 2:30 pm
I haven't owned it for long, but my 2006 Grand Vitara Luxury AWD seems like a keeper. Made entirely in Japan, the quality seems a cut above the problematic British built Honda Civic Si I got rid of to buy it. It's not fast, but I had a comfy, drama-free drive home from the dealership during a snowstorm with the seat heaters on and knew I had made the right decision. Everything has an expensive feel; plenty of little storage cubbies, and secure handling for a light truck make this a nice package that WAY undercuts the competition in price. My advice: buy one now while Suzuki is carving out a niche in the North American marketplace and pricing them so aggresively.
Not as Advertised - 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By Bob - October 14 - 10:00 am
When I purchased the Grand Vitara Limited V6, the salesman advised me that the premium audio system was XM ready and had an interactive IPOD device to show songs, etc. on the screen. When I got it home, I discovered that neither was included, and that the "premium" stereo system sounded like an old transistor radio even at low volume. I am disappointed in this feature of the otherwise nice vehicle. I wish I would have known this ahead of time because this is an extremely important function to me, especially since that is why I purchased the Limited Edition in the first place.
Love it - 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By CraigB - October 9 - 5:03 am
We traded my wife's Murano for the GV, she wanted something smaller. We spent 3 months researching every small SUV on the market. Test drive and features sold us. This is a great suv and a great value. Handeling is marvelous, and the ride is solid. Could use a tad more power. Smart key took some getting used to, but love it now. Everything about this little truck rocks. I want to drive it, and leave my Lincoln in the garage!
POG - 2002 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By cherylkf - October 2 - 10:00 am
Piece of garbage. Leaks transmission fluid, burns oil, a/c is on all the time, rattles so badly it sounds like it's going to come appart like one of those cartoon cars. It started all of this at 18,000 miles. And, I have taken care of it...regular maintenance, etc.
suv - 2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara
By xandu - September 30 - 10:00 am
great little suv great in snow and mud on road and off great on the hwy and city