Recognized by Edmunds.com among its "Top Ten Most Affordable SUVs," and given Consumer Guide's "Best Buy" nod, the Grand Vitara continues to surprise and delight its owner base with its balance of genuine off-road capability, on-road composure and day-in, day-out livability. The vehicle's surprising off-road performance is matched by a reinforced-for-RWD unibody chassis having more in common with luxury SUVs than the car-based "soft roaders" more typically found at the Grand Vitara's price point. Key chassis features include a stiff structure, incorporating both a unit body and integral ladder frame; four-wheel independent suspension; and four-wheel disc brakes. In its unique combination of off-road credibility and on-road comfort, the Grand Vitara successfully straddles the gap between weekday commuters and weekend adventurers.
For the 2010 Grand Vitara, the many advancements and enhancements introduced last year continue, including a new fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine and substantially more powerful V6, delivering better fuel economy than the engine it replaced in 2009.
The Grand Vitara maintains its classic SUV posture with an aggressive stance, short (and off-road friendly) front and rear overhangs and generous greenhouse. Interior enhancements - so well received last year - also continue for the 2010 model year, along with the addition of a fully integrated standard navigation system, making the Grand Vitara the least expensive SUV with this notable convenience feature. As with all retail 2010 Suzuki automobiles and light trucks, the Grand Vitara is backed by America's #1 Warranty: a 100,000-mile/seven-year, fully transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty.
Performance and Functionality
The Suzuki-developed 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 166 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. of torque, delivering EPA fuel economy estimates of up to 19 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway. Available for Grand Vitara XSport and Luxury models is a smooth 3.2-liter V6 engine with 230 horsepower and 213 lb.-ft. of torque. The V6 features variable valve timing for both the intake and exhaust camshafts, and both Grand Vitara engines use a zero-maintenance timing chain in place of a belt.
The Grand Vitara's four-cylinder engine can be teamed to a standard five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 is matched to a standard five-speed automatic transmission. To custom-tailor their adventure, customers can choose among RWD models, Single-Mode four-wheel drive or 4-Mode full-time four-wheel drive, a traction system unlike anything else offered in the segment. An Electronic Stability Program (ESP(R)) is standard for all Grand Vitara models, along with a rollover sensor for the standard side curtain airbags. Enhancing the Grand Vitara's performance on any road - or off-road - is a heavy-duty structure underpinned by ladder frame reinforcement. Bringing it all to a stop are standard four-wheel disc brakes.
Suzuki 4-Mode four-wheel drive offers the best of both worlds; aided by a retuned suspension in 2009, it is exceptionally capable off-road but remains civilized on the asphalt. There, drivers can leave the dash-mounted transfer case switch in 4H and the electronically controlled on-demand four-wheel-drive system will apply traction to the front wheels only as needed, optimizing economy while also maximizing traction. When traveling off-road, or for low-speed power and traction, drivers can turn the switch to high-range 4H Lock or low-range 4L Lock to engage the center differential lock. The V6 models with Four-Mode full-time four-wheel drive also feature Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control, which improve driver control and can enhance driving safety on steep slopes.
For RV owners, a Grand Vitara equipped with an automatic transmission or with the 4-Mode full-time four-wheel-drive system can also be flat-towed. Switching the transfer case control into the neutral position helps minimize driveline wear and prevent non-driving miles from accumulating on the odometer.
Built Like a Brute
The Suzuki Grand Vitara continues Suzuki's 40-year heritage of building compact but rugged SUV-type vehicles, including a rugged little model named "Brute." The current Grand Vitara has proven its durability in some of the toughest markets around the world. Key to the Grand Vitara's go-anywhere capability is its unibody construction with integrated ladder frame, rear-drive-based driveline and four-wheel independent suspension.
Typically, only luxury SUVs offer this premium architecture combination. This type of construction yields the strength and capability sought in large SUVs, while providing the balance, on-road agility and ride quality expected in a modern compact SUV.
Also separating the Grand Vitara from the "high wagons" in the segment is the availability of a 4-Mode full time four-wheel-drive system with two-speed transfer case. This hardware, combined with its rugged body construction, steep approach and departure angles, and 7.9 inches of ground clearance (4WD models), enables the Grand Vitara to keep going when the pavement turns to trail. In addition, the Grand Vitara's 3,000-lb. towing capacity (with V6) is double that of many car-based models and enough to haul light recreational trailers, boats, ATVs or motorcycles.
Beyond offering a strong-yet-weight-optimized structure, the unibody with built-in ladder frame contributes to excellent collision protection in the Grand Vitara. The reinforced cabin offers the added safety of head-impact protection pad and front and rear side-impact door beams.
Active safety (the ability to 'actively' avoid an accident) technology in every Grand Vitara includes an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution, a tire pressure monitoring system and ESP with traction control. ESP helps ensure vehicle stability when cornering, during emergency maneuvers and when driving on slippery road surfaces. Taking input from a variety of sensors, ESP has the ability to apply individual brakes at each wheel and reduce engine torque to help the driver maintain the desired line of travel.
Standard passive safety features in every Grand Vitara model include driver and front passenger seat-mounted side-impact airbag supplemental restraint systems (SRS), an advanced dual-stage front airbag SRS, an advanced weight-sensing front passenger airbag SRS and front and rear side-curtain airbags networked with a rollover sensor. The three-point driver and front passenger seat belts feature pretensioners and shoulder height adjustment. Each rear seating position is equipped with a three-point seatbelt and a headrest. Also provided is a rear child-seat LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children).
The Grand Vitara's safety engineering also reflects Suzuki's attention to pedestrian safety. The front end and the bumper integrate energy-absorbing materials to help reduce the possibility of serious leg injuries if a pedestrian is struck. The hood is also designed to absorb some of the impact and help protect against serious head injuries. These factors helped the 2009 Grand Vitara earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) highest rating of "good" in its most recent frontal crash protection test. In combination, these active and passive safety features make Grand Vitara one of the best-equipped compact SUVs with respect to safety.
The Look and Function of a Suzuki
To simplify and improve the driver experience, and consistent with Suzuki's philosophy of enabling people to travel light and live fully, Suzuki offers easy-to-use features that add useful, real-world functionality to each vehicle. The Grand Vitara demonstrates its Suzuki sensibility with its simple, uncluttered design. Form follows function, with styling that does not compromise visibility, as it does in many crossover-type SUVs. Handsome good looks are part of the mix, too, along with SUV necessities, including short overhangs - to maximize approach and departure angles - and roof rails. Exterior mirrors, door handles and bumpers are all color keyed.
The compact exterior footprint contains a roomy, comfortable and versatile cabin to take people and cargo on daily trips or extraordinary voyages. The Grand Vitara offers comfortable seating for five, including reclining rear seats, and 24.4 cu.-ft. of storage space with the rear seats up. Cargo space expands to 68.9 cu.-ft. with the 60/40 split-folding seatbacks folded. High-quality materials and attention to fit and finish should help make a driver accustomed to a large luxury SUV feel at home. Controls are easy to access and use, which anyone used to driving a large luxury SUV will find refreshing.
Four Trim Lines, Two Engines, Three Drivelines
The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara four-cylinder model is offered in four trim levels: Base, Premium, XSport and Limited. The base model is RWD only, but its list of standard equipment is far from basic and includes: a navigation system; air conditioning with automatic climate control and micron air filtration system; trip computer; power windows, mirrors and door locks; remote keyless entry; tilt steering wheel; automatic on/off headlamps; four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/XM Satellite Radio(R)-compatible audio system; and 16-inch steel wheels.
The Premium model (four-cylinder only) adds an available four-speed automatic transmission, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with illuminated audio and cruise control switches, privacy glass, full-size spare tire cover, cargo cover, hands-free calling, Bluetooth with onscreen text display, and, when equipped with the optional Single-Mode four-wheel drive, heated exterior mirrors.
The XSport, available with RWD or Four-Mode four-wheel drive, adds function and luxury features, including MSN Real-Time Traffic, weather, movie times, power tilt-and-slide sunroof, the SmartPass(TM) keyless entry and start system, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, roof rack rails and fog lamps. With the V6, XSport 4WD also gains Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, eight-speaker audio system with subwoofer and center channel speaker, and door-mounted courtesy lights. In addition, the XSport deletes the full-size spare tire cover and replaces the standard steel spare wheel with a handsome matching alloy for a strong SUV image.
The top-of-the-line Limited builds on the XSport equipment and adds leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, black wood grain trim accents and full-size spare tire cover (with steel spare). With the V6, the Grand Vitara Luxury trim line also receives 18-inch alloy wheels and a HomeLink(R) wireless control system. In all Grand Vitara models, standard and optional audio systems are XM Satellite Radio(R)-capable, and an accessory iPod(R) interface is available. A connected iPod(R) works seamlessly through the radio or the steering-wheel-integrated controls, with playlists and track information appearing on the audio display.