Cons: "Near the end of its life, gas effeciency was poor."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This has been an extremely reliable vehicle. I will miss it. I never thought that I would ever find a less expensive SUV to replace my previous car which was a 1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo. I bought it in 2000 and until recently only had minor problems. However, it is now 13 yrs old, the engine is smoking and the rear diff is going out."
Pros: "Plenty of standard luxury features. Trouble free."
Cons: "Gas mileage could be better."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought mine used with about 5K miles on it. Was looking for a small SUV, and this offered the most for the money. If you will be driving in snow, you definitely want the 4WD, as the combination of short wheelbase and rear wheel drive makes for a lot of fishtailing in icy conditions. Nudge the transfer case selector into 4WDhigh, and there is an amazing transformation- the truck just becomes totally sure-footed and handles in a predictable manner. In 8 years of driving, my truck needed an expensive battery cable replaced- the cost was about $600 for the cable and installation. Other than that one repair, I have changed oil and fluids regularly, and recharged the A/C once. This truck has been completely trouble free aside from the battery cable for the entire 8 years. I wish gas mileage was better, as the truck only gets about 17MPG. But this is a genuine truck with a ladder frame and 4WD, so it is heavier than most small SUV's. Grand Vitara's come pretty loaded with standard accessories. You get climate control, PW,PL, tilt wheel, cruise control, dual heated side view mirrors, and a small subwoofer under the drivers seat for the stereo all standard. There are very few vehicles that offer this much for the money."
"Purchased my 2003 4WD with 5K miles late in 2004. Was looking for a low mileage RAV4 or CRV, but dealers wanted too much money for them. Got this almost new truck for about $9000 less than the sticker price, largely due to low consumer demand as compared to the Honda and Toyota. Turned out to be a great buying decision.
This is a real truck with a ladder frame, not a more carlike unibody frame. The ladder frame offers a firmer ride, but is less prone to flexing and twisting when the going gets tougher off-road. It also has real 4WD with a transfer case,as compared to most vehicles that give you AWD. The advantage here is to select the amount of traction assist you need. I use 4WD high when traveling in snowy conditions on the road, and have the ability to select 4WD low for tough off-road challenges. If you live in an area that sees much snow, do not cheap out and get a 2WD Grand Vitara. When in 2WD, this is a rear wheel drive vehicle- again more like a truck than a car, but the short wheelbase makes it a "tail wagger" when the roads are slick. Shifting into 4WD during these conditions offers an immediate and dramatic improvement in control and handling. If you want to cut some nice doughnuts and fishtails, find an empty parking lot, select 2WD and spin to your heart's content!
I have now owned this truck for about five years and it has 44K miles. It has needed no major repairs of any kind, although the AC quit working. Not in a rush to fix this, as we have had a cool summer in the Midwest, and my typical commute is pretty short- just 4 miles to work when I don't ride my bicycle. I have replaced the front brake pads once, and just purchased new tires. Nothing else in the way of maintenance besides oil changes. If you get a 4WD, change the transfer case oil every 20 to 30K miles, and it should stay bulletproof.
The V6 is not a super powerful engine, but is enough to get the job done. Others are claiming about 23 mpg from their GV's, but I typically see about 18 around town.
I added a trailer hitch about a year ago and sometimes pull a small utility trailer with my GV. The total weight of trailer and payload has probably not been more than 1800 lbs, and the truck has no complaints about the added workload. If you intend to tow anything heavier, get a transmission cooler installed and you will be okay for towing almost anything!
Although I thought I wanted a Honda or Toyota, the experience with my GV has been all positive. I will not hesitate to buy another, but at 8K miles a year they may quit making 'em before I am ready for a new one. I would certainly recommend this truck to a friend."
"This is my 2nd Grand Vitara- I have not had ANY problems with either- Great for a working single Moms with small kids or one big one- I love that I have a car and a truck in one- If I need to carry something big- i just put the seats down- I do not need to ask to barrow a guys truck- yeepy!
I went camping for a week with three adults- Very tight- but we did it! Thanks to the luggage rack and you can put one side down in back seat for longer items-
I had a Range Rover in between the two- My payment was 2x more and the mileage sucked! I like having the extra money to do things. It handles great in the snow and mt. grades- Too small for guys and its too girlie-"
"I bought my '03 Grand Vitara in February '04 with 15,000 miles on it and I now have 58,000 miles on it. It drives just as quiet and smooth as the day I bought it. I had Suzuki dirt bikes as a kid but was skeptical of a car made by Suzuki. It's been a huge surprise and it cost me $20,000 less than my Grand Cherokee Limited (transmission went on that...I do not recommend Jeep!). I've never done anything to Suzuki but add gas, change the oil, and switch the stock tires (bad in snow) to Goodyear Triple Treds. Since I've had the Triple Tred all-season tires on it, I haven't had any problems in the snow and I live in Upstate NY just north of Albany. My wife has a 2008 Toyota RAV4 which drives a little better than my Suzuki but cost more than twice as much."
Pros: "Fun to drive, great value, cute as a button"
Cons: "Acceleration isn't strong with 2.5V engine."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"For a reliable, fun and cute little SUV, the Suzuki Grand Vitara is hard to beat. I bought mine two years ago with 99,500 miles and now I have 126,000 miles on her, and she's still going strong. There were a number of things I needed to do around the 100k mileage mark (new tires, new brakes, new battery, clutch repair) but nothing too bad or unexpected with such high mileage. I've got the two-wheel drive version with the smaller engine, so I'm not setting any land speed records but she drives very well through city streets and can handle speeds of 65-70 mph on the highway. There isn't as much horsepower as I would like, but it is a concession I happily make to have such a reliable and well-running SUV. With the rear seats folded down, there is plenty of room for my two large Golden Retrievers to lay down and relax with room to spare. A big thumbs up on my little Suzuki! I plan to keep her until her final breath, which is hopefully many years away. She's just a great car for the money!"
"Very reliable have only had to fix a few things that can be expected. Has never let me down in Colorado snow storms. I've owned since new and will probably keep it till it dies. If you really want to see what these cars are able to do go onto youtube you'll see some amazing off road things in other countries."
"I use my Grand Vitara for off-roading. It handles steep grades, mud, rough terrain, and water very well. It looks like a cute, little car that's best for driving to the mall, but it's a rugged, itty-bitty beast. Last week, I tore the tail pipe coming out of a hole, but I had my mechanic hang it higher and saw off the end that angles downward. I love the underbelly armor, the short wheelbase, and the clearance. It's truly a waste to drive this beast to the mall and back. It's made for off-roading!"
"Bought this car new...Haven't had any issues...LOVE the color and style, wished they would have kept it starting in 2006...it's more sporty looking than the 2006. Have had lots of compliments on the blue/gray combo. Like the independent 4-wheel drive rather than the AWD that is in the 2006. Only complaint would be the seats. I wish they were a little more comfortable. GREAT VEHICLE...would buy another that year."
"Purchased my car in 1999 brand new; have 119000 mls and it's still running. The only thing that has recently occured was the AC stopped working. It's a little expensive to fix so I don't plan on doing that yet. Otherwise, great car; get's me where I need to be; I would certainly recommend this car to others. I've owned this vehicle going on my 11th year."
"I've had this car since early 2001, bought it new. Only major problem I've had with it was the air conditioning when out at about 125,000 miles. Was $1500 to replace, higher than other similar cars, plus Suzuki doesn't really support any after market parts. Now I have over 165,000 miles. If you do routine maintanence the car just keeps going and going. I've had two front in collusions in the car, and after repairs, you couldn't even tell that happen. Has had control problems when roads are icey, car has spun out when brakes were only lightly tapped. That happen three times one winter. Overall, I've loved this car and would recommend it over and over to a family with small children. Once the kids hit about 14 though the car is two small. I've loved the ride I've had with the car though, it was well worth it."
"I bought my '99 Grand Vitara with only 10 miles on it. It's now pushing 200,000 miles and I've only had to replace tires, oil, brake pads and 1 belt. It's probably getting to the end of it's road, but this has been a phenomenally reliable vehicle that I have used heavily."
"I've had this car since new. Only mechanical problems other than normal maintenance in 95000 miles was a failed axle bearing and a problem with the remote for the doors. It is still in great mechanical shape. It doesn't burn oil and runs pretty much like it did when new. The engine runs fine. The transmission shifts fine and everything works. It has also been used as a toad behing a motorhome. It has been a "Great Little Car"."
"I bought this car for my wife who is 5 feet,1 inch tall,but she drives my car now and I drive the Suzuki. I'm 6 feet 4 inches. I have no problem with it because of my size except for the back seat. It's a great little car and I never thought I would buy a Suzuki. I would recommend this car to anyone."
"I've had mine for alomost 10 years, 190,000 miles. I love it. I tow a boat with it, haul music equipment, take long trips, carry kayaks on top, use and abuse-and it has been a great car. The only drawback for me (I'm 6'2") is the back seat leg room. The front is great but no adults can ride in the back with me. I would buy another one in a heartbeat."
"Car is overall a comfortable and easy to drive vehicle. We get 23 plus MPG if we hold it to 55. We've had a little problem with the 4 wheel drive. Brakes seem to need to be replaced more than average. May be my wife's sudden stop racer techniques."
"I purchased this vehicle with 0 miles back in 2000. I've put 157,000 miles on it so far. I have driven it off road, on road, in all weather conditions and it always held up. I'm proud of the little guy. It can hold its own with the big fellas. Only sad thing about Suzuki is dealer service. I visited at least 3 different dealerships for service and they have all dissapointed me. If it weren't for the bad dealer service, I would've purchased another Grand Vitara. This car requires minimal service, and is fun to drive."
"My Parents bought this car brand new in 99, and i love it. I learned to drive on it and bought it from my parents before I left for college in 06. I had to replace the starter and catalytic converter a few years ago, but no major repairs needed so far. It now has 121,000 miles on it and is running great! My boyfriend's Dodge Stratus is always breaking down and my car always saves the day!"
"this car has been the most reliable car i've ever purchased. The steering radius is amazing, making it super easy to manuveur the vehicle anywhere. It has never had any major mechanical failures and it's still alive and kicking after 10 years and 140k miles. most definitely recommend it to anyone."