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2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Overview
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2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara Review

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At its launch in the fall of 2005, the all-new Grand Vitara represented a significant step for both Suzuki Motor Corporation and its North American arm. Some twenty years after the extremely successful debut of its Samurai, American Suzuki had continued to market credible and well-received compact SUVs. With separate ladder frames and appointments speaking to their entry-level price point, the Sidekick, Vitara and XL-7 provided the outdoor enthusiast with an affordable approach to both off-roading and the daily commute. Its new Grand Vitara upped the ante, offering a unitized body/frame, clean sheetmetal, a standard V6 and all-independent suspension while retaining an affordable price point. The GV retained genuine off-road capability combined with improved on-road composure. Regrettably, the market has moved - while Suzuki's GV product team seems stuck in neutral. This static display doesn't take away from the Grand Vitara's essential goodness, but does bring into question its continued relevance in the U.S. market.

You'll Like This Car If...

Despite the Grand Vitara's age - and lack of an optional V6 powertrain - it remains an attractive combination of practicality, capability and affordability. Its interior still provides adequate room for four adults, and the upright greenhouse makes navigating urban congestion remarkably easy. If you live in the snow belt both of the all-wheel drive systems (if matched with appropriate winter rubber) allow unimpeded access to virtually any destination.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for the responsiveness - or composure - of a car-based platform, you'll probably take a pass on the 2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara. Conversely, while offering 4-Mode all-wheel drive, this Grand Vitara is not for boulder-hopping, and shouldn't be confused with Nissan's Xterra or Jeep's 4-door Wrangler.

What's New for 2011

A Garmin-based navigation system was made standard in 2010, positioning the Grand Vitara as America's most affordable SUV with nav. For 2011 they've updated the Garmin to the 1600 system; it now includes a host of services, including real-time traffic, weather forecast, movie search, flight info and lowest gas price. They've also - and more notably - eliminated the V6 powerplant.

Driving the Grand Vitara

Driving Impressions For the in-town commute or cross-country adventure, we've been very pleased with our long-term exposure to the Grand Vitara. Its integrated unit body and reinforcing frame provide a solid platform...

for the suspension, and the all-independent suspension is well-controlled for the segment. This platform, however, shouldn't be confused with "nimble," although its athleticism will outshine those more conventional off-roaders. It's the blend of attributes that impresses, with reasonably precise steering, a fairly tight 36-foot turning circle and reasonable isolation from road and wind noise. Those living - or traveling - at high elevations will miss the performance of the 3.2 liter V6, but the standard in-line four is competitive in the segment. Finally, the 4-Mode 4-wheel drive system allows for rock-crawling in the slow and capability in the snow; New England and the Rocky Mountain states love it.

4-Mode Full-Time 4WD
Increasingly unique - especially among compact SUVs - is Suzuki's 4-Mode 4WD, offering enhanced traction - and safety - in virtually every weather or terrain, while avoiding the complexity of all-electronic systems and the (eventual) high maintenance costs that accompany that complexity. The GV is truly an SUV for all seasons.

Electronic Stability Control w/Traction Control System
Regardless of how you drive or where you drive, eventually you'll find yourself on a surface - or at a speed - that makes staying in your lane a questionable process. Stability control and traction control are there to help, and within the context of a family vehicle can prove invaluable.

2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara Details
Interior

You won't confuse the design effort with those from Germany, but at launch this new Suzuki was far removed from the almost agricultural efforts which preceded it. There remain plenty of hard plastic elements, but gauges are clear and informative, the centerstack is eminently logical and seating - with a height-adjustable feature for the driver - keeps you in comfortable control even on long trips. The flip-and-fold rear seats provide additional load flexibility, but don't begin to offer the volume enhancement afforded by the fold-flats in the Honda Fit. One real benefit of a spare tire mounted on the rear door is the lower load floor that results.

Exterior

Since its debut we've liked the visual balance provided by the Grand Vitara's two-box profile. And while - as noted - the design is now rather long in the tooth, for those who prefer to take their SUVs in more traditional doses the GV is a perfect antidote to the sheetmetal coming from Korea. We like its generous greenhouse, extremely short overhangs front and rear, wide track relative to its body and hinged fifth door, while wishing that door was hinged for U.S. drivers, with its opening to the curb. The wheel and tire package for the base model is surprisingly generous - at least in size, while the available 18-inch alloys and tires both brighten the (visual) picture and sharpen the handling.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Fully appropriate to Suzuki's value proposition is a generous grouping of standard features, even at the entry-level (under $20K) price point. The platform includes a multi-link independent suspension, 4-wheel disc braking and manual(!) transmission. Inside, power windows, locks and remote would typically be found in the option column of the competition. Perhaps the nicest surprise is the standard navigation - supplied by Garmin - on all trim levels.

Optional Equipment

Inside, Bluetooth hands-free communication can be added to all trim levels above 'base', while a handful of comfort and convenience items are available from the dealer. For ease of ordering, Suzuki has intentionally grouped their options into the trim levels and, over the life of the product cycle, further reduced those trim levels. The GV's most notable option - a responsive V6 - is (as noted) no longer available.

Under the Hood

With but one engine there's but one descriptive. The standard in-line four is both straightforward and non-descript. It is the same 2.4 liter four that powers Suzuki's Kizashi sport sedan, but in a lower state of tune for what Suzuki thinks is its more pedestrian application. We'd beg to differ, given the GV's less aerodynamic stance and 3,600 pounds. The engine does, however, achieve an EPA rating of 26 highway with its 5-speed manual, a respectable figure in its category. And when discussing powertrain it's worth noting Suzuki's seven-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

2.4-liter in-line 4
166 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (RWD, manual), 19/25 (RWD, automatic),
19/23 (4WD, automatic)

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2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 201 Ratings for the 2006 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

I love this car. It's been a great car.

By on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 155,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"would but another one if there was a dealership in town. Best car I have had in a SUV, loved everything about it. Having multiple CD player is the only way, I am not into MP3."

10 people out of 15 found this review helpful

It has been reliable and comfortable.

By on Sunday, June 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "4wd great and climate control great."

Cons: "Windows fog up."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"After looking at the interior or Rav 4 while shopping for a new car, the Rav4 and Grand Vitara look similar, they have the same features."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Excellent Value and Reliability

By on Friday, June 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great ride. Comfortable seating. Luxury feel."

Cons: "low beams mainly (read review) Only 19mpg Highway"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought brand new with 7 miles on the odometer in March '06. In more than 8 years I have replaced tires ($700), & Cat. Converter ($900). Minor cheap maintenance such as alignments, and oil changes w/tire rotations. Battery replaced ($100) after 6 years. My wife would constantly leave interior lights on throughout the night, so... NO Engine issues. NO tranny issues. NO electrical issues EVER. In fact the transmission shifts so smoothly I have to listen for it. I have leather seats that are SO comfortable. I have seen bmws, lexus, etc. with leather seats that start to fade, crack, split and look terrible after 80K, but NOT my Suzuki. After I clean/condition it, it still looks brand new and firm even when approaching 110K! The car runs strong even after 3 accidents. Yes, 3. I was never at fault, and the car was in the body shop for a TOTAL of 8 weeks. After all the body repairs, this car still runs like the day I got it! My title will most likely be a "salvage", but I really don't care. The car took 2 rear end hits and a fender bender like it was no big deal. Never been garaged or overly pampered. The OEM tires need to be replaced as soon as you can! Buy a good set and it will transform your car and will actually last a lot longer than the ones that came on the GV (yokohomo, IIRC) My key FOB is great. It senses where keys are. You cant lock your keys in the car! Its impossible. Unlocking it requires me to be close to the car. It senses the key in my pocket. Cons: (Known issues with these GV) - I feel its a little "noisy" in the cabin. Not a lot. Music will drown that out quickly. - Alignments can be tricky. Expect 2/yr. I had to tell the Suzuki dealer that there is a new alignment spec for these cars. They kept going until they got it right. - Low beam headlights aren't the brightest, even with aftermarket bulbs. Its common with these cars to go through bulbs quite frequently. I can go 3-8 months between bulb changes. - Small issue, but I WISH it chimed when the gas gets low. The only indicator is a small orange light. -The car comes with something that I refer to as "Downhill Brake Assist". When you are traveling down a hill, and begin to brake, the car will drop gear for you to prevent you from accidentally losing control I guess. While not really an issue, it takes a while to get used to this! That's it. Good in snow w/o snow tires. Great in heavy rain with good rain tires. I strongly recommend buying one!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great little vehicle

By on Monday, May 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great small SUV, very roomy, great on gas."

Cons: "Slow on the take off! But great on straight away."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I've had this SUV seven years it has started everyday, very reliable. It's great on gas. The only thing I have replaced are tires in seven years. I have to admit its a little slow on the take-off, but fast on the straight away."

8 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Never neededanything other than normal maintenance

By on Monday, April 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "easy to drive & park"

Cons: "prefer better mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is very dependable and never required anything but normal maintenance - basically oil changes, wipers & headlights."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Solid, dependable, comfortable, unstoppable

By on Saturday, April 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good on gas and full of luxury features"

Cons: "Oil filter is in the most unreachable spot"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My wife drives this SUV through snow and slush all winter long. I put Michelins on it instead of the junk OEM tires and nothing can stop this vehicle."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?