KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 7/5/2012
Over the years, the Suzuki Equator has gone up in price but not so much in popularity. While the truck is a spiritual twin to the Nissan Frontier, the Suzuki name badge and the lack of widespread recognition of the company even having automotive products have not done the Equator any favors. Although this may be the case, the 2012 Suzuki Equator is still an aesthetically altered Frontier, which makes it decent competition for others in its class, including the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma. The Equator is also backed by one of the best warranties in the business and, while that might not mean a lot to some buyers, it does offer peace of mind.
You'll Like This Car If...
Those in the market for a truck to haul their toys can find a lot of bang for their buck in the Suzuki Equator as it shares its platform with the much-lauded Nissan Frontier but at a lower price point and it comes with Suzuki's transferable 7-year/100,000-mile warranty.
You May Not Like This Car If...
While the 2012 Suzuki Equator is a good truck to consider, another big consideration is the general shortage of Suzuki dealerships in many areas. The warranty may be one of the best on the market, but those needing immediate warranty attention might be stuck with an out-of-pocket expense due to the scarcity of Suzuki dealers.
What's New for 2012
Not much has changed for the 2012 model year as the Equator has three new colors, larger headrests and the RMZ trim level is no longer available with navigation.
The 2012 Suzuki Equator is a truck pretty much like any other in its class. Buyers can expect an extremely stiff chassis structure that's amazingly capable, but also rather heavy for its size segment. The suspension, brakes and steering get the job done with little to disappoint, but we prefer the driving attributes of the RMZ-4 off-road version to those of the base RWD models. Compared to other trucks in its class, the Equator has a more solid feel than the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado, so those looking for a rough and rugged truck to haul their other two- and four-wheeled toys can put the Equator towards the top of their shopping lists.
The RMZ moniker is taken from Suzuki's motorcycle line in an attempt to garner some interest from the motocross crowd with the addition of a "4" to indicate the 4WD capability. And capable it is, as the skid plates, Bilstein shocks, locking differential and off-road tires make driving in the dirt and other off-road terrain an easy task.
ADJUSTABLE TIE-DOWN SYSTEM
The adjustable tie-down system employs five special "C" cross-section rails mounted in the bed and removable utility cleats that slide into the channels, providing a wide range of attachment points for securing cargo.
The 2012 Suzuki Equator's interior is simple, but effective. The dash layout is quite basic, with buttons and knobs that are easily operated, even with gloved hands. Cabin space is generous in both the Extended and Crew Cab versions, which should suit a variety of passengers of all shapes and sizes and, while leather interior is not offered, the cloth interior is soft and comes in your favorite color – just as long as it's black.
The Suzuki Equator has not changed much since its introduction in 2009. It looks almost identical to the Frontier from the side view, but the front and rear are genuine Suzuki, with a large front grille, prominent fenders and husky bumpers. That said, there's nothing significantly new here – only the basic, honest representation you want from a work or play truck. In its aggressive 4X4 RMZ-4 version this is a perfectly reasonable vehicle for your off-road pursuits.
Notable Standard Equipment
Both 2012 Suzuki Equator Extended Cab and Crew Cab models feature flip-up rear seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat and removable storage boxes located beneath the rear seats. Beyond that, the base Extended Cab is appropriately spartan. Opt for the Premium, Sport or RMZ-4 packages and power mirrors, door locks, and windows, air conditioning and a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system are all standard. The Crew Cab is better equipped, but its base MSRP is several thousand dollars higher. Standard safety equipment in both version is comprehensive, with ABS braking, tire-pressure monitoring system and both front-seat side-impact airbags and curtain airbags for front and rear outboard passengers.
Notable Optional Equipment
Most options are tied to the trim levels: Premium, Sport and RMZ-4. Opt for the RMZ-4 with Sport upgrades and you'll enjoy the benefits of Vehicle Dynamic Control, Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control. Inside, the Sport package on the RMZ-4 adds a 380-watt 8-speaker high-performance Rockford Fosgate audio with subwoofer, an auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth capacity. And, while there's little or no aftermarket support specific to the Equator, there is a plentiful number of aftermarket options for the Frontier and many, if not most, of those items should fit.
Under the Hood
The 2012 Suzuki Equator is available with two engine choices: A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and a 4.0-liter V6. The 2.5 liter offers only a 2-mpg increase over the V6, which isn't much in the way of fuel savings, particularly since the V6 offers much greater performance. The 4.0 liter, on the other hand, is smooth and responsive and delivers the capability to tow over 6,000 pounds.
152 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
171 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/23 mpg (manual), 17/22 mpg (automatic)
261 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
281 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 mpg (2WD), 15/19 mpg (4WD)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base 2012 Suzuki Equator Extended Cab version with the 4-cylinder engine starts under $19,000. A moderately-equipped Sport trim with a V6 and 4WD is around $27,000 and the RMZ-4 trim level will be right around $30,000. Be sure to check out the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com to make sure you get the best deal on your Equator. As for residual values, we expect the Suzuki Equator hold values slightly below the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, but higher than those of the Chevrolet Colorado.