By KBB.com Editors
The Suzuki Grand Vitara is really two vehicles in one. Its compact size, plush interior and comfortable ride make it every bit as desirable as a small wagon or crossover SUV, while its rugged construction, generous ground clearance and available full-time all-wheel drive make it the perfect off-road companion. Career professionals with active outdoor lifestyles will find the Grand Vitara's sophisticated good looks make it ideal for shuttling business clients during the week, while its capable off-road abilities allow for a weekend's worth of rock crawling and mud slinging. Best of all, the Grand Vitara's powerful yet fuel-efficient V6 engine won't break you at the gas pumps, a statement not many SUVs can make.You'll Like This Car If...
If you like the idea of driving a competent and comfortable compact SUV that can be appreciated by off-roaders and city slickers alike, the Grand Vitara might quickly climb toward the top of your list.You May Not Like This Car If...
The Grand Vitara's lack of a more thrifty four-cylinder engine might be a deal-breaker for some, and poor resale figures don't help matters much.What's Significant About This Car?
The 2007 Grand Vitara receives a tire pressure monitoring system and an upgraded trip computer.Driving It Driving Impressions
Perhaps it isn't as light on its feet as some of its truly car-based competitors (which, in turn, aren't as capable off-road), but the newest Grand Vitara still easily qualifies as responsive and pleasant around town. It's also comfortable on the highway, where the small V6 remains smooth and delivers just enough power to pass confidently.
Off-road, the unibody Grand Vitara can get loud and rough over dirt surfaces, but our four-mode all-wheel-drive model proved impressively capable on steep climbs over sizeable boulders and loose, chunky earth. Perhaps most importantly, that off-road ability no longer comes with a penalty in poor on-road manners.
Four-Mode All-Wheel-Drive System
The more rugged of the Grand Vitara's two all-wheel-drive systems features a locking differential with Four-High, Four-High Lock and Four-Low Lock modes (plus Neutral) to tame everything from slick pavement to rocky trails.
Keyless Entry and Start
With the available SmartPass system, you leave the key/transmitter in your pocket or purse and the vehicle will unlock when you approach and start at the push of a button.
In addition to niceties like automatic climate control, six airbags and more, the Grand Vitara's surprisingly refined interior boasts attractive styling and nice materials throughouteven most of the plastic is non-offensive. If not for a few giveaway elements (including a Suzuki badge on the steering wheel), it wouldn't be hard to convince your relatively hip mom she was riding in a $30K-plus SUV.Exterior
The Grand Vitara is significantly bigger than the previous generation, gaining 11.5 inches in overall length, adding 6.3 inches in length between the wheels and more than an inch in width. Fortunately, all of the additional sheetmetal has been done in attractive, contemporary, angular styling that's smart enough for a night on the town without belying the Grand Vitara's rugged side.Notable Standard Equipment
A base Grand Vitara is equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive and a generous standard equipment list that includes an AM/FM/CD/CD-MP3/CD-WMA sound system that's also XM Satellite Radio-ready, automatic climate control air conditioning, cruise control, tire pressure monitor, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), plus front, front-side and two-row side-curtain airbags.Notable Optional Equipment
Trim-level, package and stand-alone options include single- and four-mode all-wheel-drive systems, five-speed automatic transmission, in-dash six-disc CD changer, iPod interface system, alloy wheels, SmartPass keyless entry and start, heated leather seats, woodgrain trim, power glass sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels.Under the Hood
The new Grand Vitara features a bigger, more powerful engine than in its past, although the increase in power is mostly offset by a proportionate increase in curb weight. Highway mileage is respectable for a V6, as is a tow rating of 3,000 pounds.
185 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
184 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23 (2WD manual), 18/23 (AWD manual)
19/24 (2WD automatic), 19/23 (AWD automatic)
The Grand Vitara has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,999 with a five-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, and climbs to $25,419 for a Luxury model with all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. Three trim packages include base, XSport and Luxury; at both ends of that spread, the Grand Vitara delivers great value. To be sure you make your best deal, check the Fair Purchase Price which shows the typical transaction price others in your area are paying for their Grand Vitaras. As for resale, the Grand Vitara is expected to hold only modest values, far below those of the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Saturn Vue and Jeep Liberty.