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Only minor changes are in store for 2012 Grand Vitara models, including a slightly modified tailgate design (that nixes the spare tire on some models) and upgrades to the navigation system that include voice recognition and information such as traffic and weather updates.
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.
Following in the tire tracks of the successful SX4, the Grand Vitara receives a built-in Garmin navigation unit with Bluetooth capability as standard equipment. Owners can upgrade to the MSN suite of features that includes gas prices, movie times, weather/traffic updates and much more.
Along with a revised front end, the 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara touts two new engines: a 2.4-liter four cylinder and a 3.2-liter V6. Interior improvements include illuminated steering wheel controls, a sliding feature added to the center armrest and sun visors and improved ventilation and audio controls.
*Important Note: Please be aware that Suzuki has filed for bankruptcy protection and is shutting down its car business in the U.S.
The 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara can get lost in the compact SUV segment. Competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 sell in droves, while Suzuki's lone SUV is often missed. Though given a mild facelift this year, the GV still relies on a rather dated powertrain and can struggle to compete in this hot segment of the market. Yet the GV is not without its merits. Its starting price below $21,000 makes it one of the most affordable of the few compact SUVs that are genuinely capable off-road. And the 4-Mode 4WD system on the Limited model is especially good with low-range gearing that helps it in the rough and a flat-towing mode that's perfect for RV owners.