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Ken Walker with the Suzuki Grand Vitara

ROAD TEST:   Suzuki Grand Vitara  (2.4 manual)

by Ken Walker

6th May, 2009

Home > Road Tests > Suzuki

Suzuki’s Grand Vitara Wagon continues to be the 'mainstay' model for the marque. And I'm determined to find out just what makes it attractive to so many buyers. To begin with, it is a well finished package with flawless paint work, neat and functional interior with a lot of comfort. Another point that comes to mind is the ease of entry and egress, particularly from the front seats. The ride height and seating position makes this very easy for an average sized person to slip into or out off. A shoe horn or step ladder is certainly not required.

Currently, Suzuki have two body styles, either a 3 door or 5 door wagon, with a choice of 3 engines, a 1.9 litre diesel, a 2.4 litre petrol or a 2.7 V6 petrol. Two transmissions are offered, a 5 speed manual or a 4 speed automatic. The consumer has a choice of 8 colours for the 5 door body and 7 colours for the 3 door job. The trim and equipment level comes as “L” or ‘Prestige’. Buying the 3 door or diesel power plant, “L” is the only trim level available. Opt for the V6 power and the only trim available is ‘Prestige’.

The subject package of this road appraisal is a 2.4 litre 4 cylinder petrol engine with 5 speed manual transmission and the ‘L’ trim level. Recommended retail price for this unit is $30,490. Five alloy wheel rims add $1,000.00, whilst premium or metallic paint will add a further $475 to the price tag. Of course, there are then the usual statutory and dealer charges. For those buyers who opt for the 5 alloy wheels the rim size increases to 17” and the tyres are 225/65R17 in lieu of the 225/70R16 on the basic steel rims. Front fog lights fitted to the drive package are an optional extra.

A revvy little machine, it likes to rev hard, which is possibly a throw back to the Japanese brand's motorcycle engines. The 2.4 litre 4 cylinder VVT (Variable Valve Timing) engine develops 122 kW at 6,000 rpm. Maximum torque of 225 Nm arrives when the rev counter hits 4,000 rpm. At high revs this gem thrives and consumes between 8.9 & 9.9 litres/100 km (these figures provided by Suzuki Australia in accordance with ADR 81/01).

It was this heritage of good fuel economy and light weight that made the very first Australian Suzuki models a hit with beach fishermen/women amongst others.

Fuel tank capacity is 66 litres of unleaded petrol. Our package, on this occasion, weighed in at 1,605 kilogrammes (unladen). (copyright image)

With ground clearance of 200 mm entry/egress from all seating positions is very easy. This package is able to keep up with larger off-road vehicles over all terrain due to its ground clearance and it is fitted with a high/low range transfer case making it a "real" 4x4 vehicle. More than capable on the beach, in the mountains or the outback this is a wonderful machine that this consultant would take anywhere. Combine this ability with a tow capacity of 1,700 kilogrammes (with electric trailer brakes) which is sufficient for an off-road camper trailer, this is an escape vehicle to get away from it all. Unbraked towing is limited to 750 kg, which is the motor vehicle industry standard across most makes and models.

Driver comfort is not forgotten in the Suzuki Grand Vitara and the passengers are well catered for too. Tilt adjustable steering column, power steering with a leather covered steering wheel, cruise control, power windows on all 4 doors, climate control air conditioning system and remote central locking. The audio system contains a single disc in dash CD player, AM/FM radio which is MP3 compatible with remote audio controls on the steering wheel. The drivers’ seat is height adjustable.

Safety features are a big plus on the Suzuki Grand Vitara with such features as front, side and curtain airbags as standard equipment on all models. Also included are anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist system (BAS) and vehicle stability control. Ventilated disc brakes are fitted front and rear.

So why do people buy Suzuki Grand Vitara?

Well, it is my opinion that motorists that spend their hard earned cash on one of these beaut little off-roaders do so to get value for money, whilst having a fun vehicle that is a pleasure to drive with the capabilities to get away from it all on weekends and holidays. The fact that it is easy to get in and out of is also up there with the reasons to buy.

However, don’t take our word for it, get out and check Suzuki Grand Vitara for yourself!


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