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Suzuki XL-7 road test

by Stephen Walker

12th March, 2004

Home > Road Tests > Suzuki

Quick quiz!

I say Suzuki, what do you say?

No doubt thoughts of Stockman and Sierra spring to mind. But the can-do company from Japan is much more than small 4WD's. Sure there's been Vitara as well. Now there's Grand Vitara, too. But the future holds an ever expanding range of versatile vehicles for this small, yet progressive manufacturer.

Those who visited the Suzuki stand at the 2004 Melbourne Motor Show got a glimpse of the future when they viewed the beautiful Suzuki Concept S2. This small 2-seater, with a retracting roof, has a powerful 1.6 litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine which is matched to a 6-speed sequential gearbox. There was the sporty Liana GS 1.8 VVT on display, too. Clearly, Suzuki is moving into the future with products which reflect 'personality' and which maintain the Suzuki standard of engineering excellence. This background was proven by those old LJ50's and LJ80's that just kept going and going!

But the subject of this article is the big Suzuki ..... the XL-7. The seven means 7-seater. This large Suzuki is a 4WD wagon powered by a 2.7 litre V6, with a choice of 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmissions. The test "car" had the automatic option. As we did hundreds of kilometres in Melbourne city and suburban traffic conditions, the auto proved to be a delightful proposition. Off-road, the transmission still did it's job properly. You can exercise control over it when the need exists.

Driving in the city is an absolute delight. There's almost unlimited vision all-round due to the panoramic seating. This is an appreciated aspect, as you are mighty comfortable on-board this slightly-larger than compact sized 4WD wagon and the view just comes to you! The control of the car is easy, as it's manners are perfect. We could not fault it's manners at all! It has adequate performance, not brisk, but nicely tuned for reasonable performance and good fuel economy. It's an ideal combination. If you must hear the engine sing, just get the rev's up over the 3,000 mark and you'll be happy! Sound proofing is fine, we were always able to hear each other and we were always able to hear the radio as we motored along, during our 4 days with the car.

Off-road the big Suzuki is a real pleasure. Our off-roading was of the mild variety, as we did no swamp-swimming or boulder-bashing, we simply went bush and enjoyed the excellent manners of the Suzuki in the small mountains south of Angelsea, Victoria. The tracks were rutted, although not particularly steep. But be assured a 4WD was needed to traverse the park. There's was never any suggestion that the Suzuki wasn't at home in this environment. In fact, I recommend this park for light-duty 4WD'ing as you get some real 4WD experience and fantastic views over and beyond Split Point lighthouse.

Last year the XL-7 received a make-over, so it's up to date styling projects the right image. Colour-coded bumpers and modern headlights all feature as a requirement of today's cars. The alloy wheels are quite attractive and add that finishing touch which makes an owner happy.

Price .... there's XL-7 and there's XL-7 Limited, both are available with manual or auto transmission. The price range is between $36,990* and $$41,890*. The unit tested is the XL-7 Limited with auto, which is priced at $41,890*. Immediately, you can see this is good value. Just check the features and compare the price and it's easy to see that this Suzuki has just what many folks want in their new 4WD.

Features include dual-range 4WD, ABS, remote keyless entry, dual front airbags, power windows and mirrors, CD stereo, alloy wheels and that something special which was appreciated by rear seat passengers ..... dual air conditioning with climate control!

Additionally, the Limited is treated to a leather interior package, a rear spoiler and a glass sunroof.

Another highlight of this car, is the excellent entry and egress. Everyone on-board felt it was easy to get in and out of this vehicle. No-one said "climb" in relation to it's entry and egress position.

There's one thing which you do not get with a Suzuki. That's an expensive advertising programme! What you get is good value, a well thought out product which reflects a strong committment to design and engineering excellence. Functionality is purpose built into a Suzuki!

In a final word or two, I must say that driving a Suzuki XL-7 is about as good as it gets when you're seeking a family car, an off-roader and a station wagon all in one unit. With good fuel economy, more than reasonable power, proper sizing (not too big, not too small), this car has so much going for it. Great value, excellent drivability and wonderful manners. We can say no more!

NOTE: * RRP (recommended retail price) excludes options, dealer delivery fees and the various statutory charges. Additionally, all prices, fees, charges and specifications are always subject to change without notice.

More Suzuki News ..... here.

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