It’s been a number of years since I last drove a Suzuki vehicle – too long in fact. I’ve always been a fan of Suzuki vehicles because they are always well built and well equipped – and they typically cost a lot less than other Japanese vehicles. Many moons ago (1987) when I was a driving instructor I leased one, and my students absolutely loved it.
The second generation of Suzuki’s largest SUV – the XL7 – is a considerable departure for the company. Following the lead of other manufacturers, Suzuki has moved the XL7 up-market in both quality and size, putting it into the intermediate SUV category. Using a unibody design, it more resembles a luxury CUV (Cross-over Utility Vehicle), than a true SUV (the previous XL-7 was a rear-wheel-drive SUV on a truck chassis). The all-new XL7 is a front-wheel-drive vehicle that offers all-wheel drive, and a Suzuki-built 3.6-litre, 24-valve DOHC V-6 engine with variable valve timing (up from a 2.7 litre V-6 in the previous model).
The first look of the All-new 2007 Suzuki SX4 came in April of 2006 at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). It’s name SX4 stands for (S)port (X)-over for (4) seasons of weather and it’s one of those new compact sport X-over (cross-over) hatchbacks that have become more and more prevalent over the last year or two, and no doubt will continue to morph and appear in various incarnations in the months and years to come. These vehicles make sense in that they are much smaller than the traditional SUV, but completely different from the much-derided station wagon or mini-mini van that is a mainstay throughout Asia and Europe.
Attention Auto Manufacturers: If you cannot build an SUV that as a bare minimum beats the quality, fit and finish – and with the same safety and standard features of the Suzuki Grand Vitara – then you’re not doing it right! THIS is the new benchmark all other small and midsize SUV’s have to be judged against. I’ve driven quite a few SUV’s over the past couple of years, but the Grand Vitara really does stand out like no other.