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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.
Favorite Features

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 196 Ratings for the 2006 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.7/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

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."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

170k miles with no issues!!

By on Saturday, April 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 170,000

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: "Everything!!"

Cons: "Nothing comes to mind any more"

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

"This is my annual review of the vehicle. Last review Feb '13 at 145k. '07 Grand Vitara survives another brutal winter in Northern Mi in style. This is the most amazing vehicle ever. Finally, a minor maintenance issue: insignificant leaks from rear axle seal and transfer case. Cost $320. Not bad after 7 yrs and 170k miles. Suzuki pulls out of US market. GM posts record profits amidst major recalls. You be the judge."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Love this vehicle!

By on Thursday, January 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Value, back seats fold down, I sit up high"

Cons: "3 point steering wheel, inadequate visors."

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

"Bought it new in 2006, still driving and loving it 8 years later! Everything fits in the back, love it!"

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Best car in the world

By on Sunday, November 24, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handles like sports car;so reliable;best value"

Cons: "Noisy on the freeway - Meh"

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

"I LOVE this car. Hate to see it getting old, but I'm not giving it up. It's a perfect vehicle for me. If you ever get a chance to own one, DO IT. Don't think twice. My only complaint is that it is noisy on the freeway. Big deal. In the scheme of things, that matters about 1%, while all the positives about the car are the other 99%. It's got room for people, for cargo, for BOTH. Good gas mileage. Good looking. VERY reliable - never lets me down; even runs on fumes and keeps going when I've neglected it for short periods. Get one and never let it go."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great small SUV. Gas millage good for AWD

By on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Just an excellent all round vehicle."

Cons: "none that I can think of!"

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

"I bought this vehicle when I became a travel nurse, moving from state to state with 2 dogs in tow. It had enough room to take us and our belongings anywhere including Nebraska in winter where I used the 4 wheel drive often in the deep snow.Incredibly reliable I never felt insecure when I traveled. Comes highly recommended by me."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Husband really loved this vehicle

By on Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 134,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great drivability; good vision"

Cons: "Headrest awkward for short people; ugly a/c contro"

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

"My husband had a 07 Suzuki Gran Vitara. HE LOVED IT. I had problems with the headrest as I am short & it hit the middle of my head moving it forward. The a/c controls are ugly and not really as functional as some other vehicles. Drives very well; handles well; had an issue with the rear drive shaft in the first year but other than that not anything but brake check; mechanic said great brakes; heavy duty and strength of what is equivalent to Suburbans. Mechanic said suzukis do not come in for repair; very dependable vehicles. Vehicle was totaled by a drunk driver and husband was devastated. Could not find another used one to replace it with so we bought Ford explorer. I do not like driving the Ford."

2 people out of 2 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

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