By KBB.com Editors
Suzuki looks to 2007 as its most significant year in the US, introducing two timely new vehicles, including the XL7, and celebrating a 2006 sales increase of 77 percent since 2003. Creating its first midsize crossover by redesigning and reengineering last year's flagship XL-7 SUV (and dropping the hyphen), Suzuki debuts the XL7 as a brand-new mainstream model. Crossovers, built on car-like unibodies, are outstripping SUVs in popularity and the streamlined XL7 Limited joins the crossover segment as a modern, style-conscious seven-passenger version with optional all-wheel drive and the advantage of excellent fuel economy. Two other models, Base and Luxury, round out buyer choices.
You'll like this car if you enjoy a mobile lifestyle, want flexible seating, need plenty of horsepower and torque for towing jet skis or what-have-you and don't want to break the family budget. For weekend off-roaders who find gravel roads exhilarating, the XL7 Limited's intelligent-all-wheel-drive (i-AWD) delivers power to all four wheels full-time.
You may not like this crossover if complete rear visibility is important for backing up or checking rear traffic during lane changes. With even two rear seating positions occupied, let alone all five, there is a limited view through the tailgate's full-width but shallow back window due to obstructions by adult passengers' heads and shoulders.
The largest and most powerful vehicle Suzuki has ever sold, the XL7 has borrowed its predecessor's name but is new from the frame up. On sale in September, Suzuki claims it will be the most affordable all-wheel-drive vehicle on the market.
Driving Impressions The sedan-like quality of driving the XL7 is evident from the start, and it's easy to forget there is space for six passengers. Steering is responsive even on unpaved roads....During a patch of severe washboards there was, naturally, some vibration but the XL7 Limited ran straight and sure, thanks in part to the self-leveling rear shock absorbers. The handling is easy and precise in the 4,000-pound crossover, with minimal body lean, and braking is strong and instant. When needed, the transmission provided prompt upshifts. The Manumatic, which allows the driver to manually gear up or down on steep hill climbs and ascents by tapping the shifter, is an excellent, easily-operated assist system. Despite its size and heft, the XL7 provides a quiet ride with barely discernable wind noise. The all-wheel-drive system in its three modestwo-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and all-wheel-drive Locktested out effortlessly.
Cool weather means cold seats, but from a distance of 200 yards they can be warmed up in advance using the XL7's remote entry, which automatically kicks in the heat when the outside temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Automatic transmissions are way ahead of manuals in popularity but, when you want to have some fun, shifting with the Manumatic provides a sense of control and, on downhill runs, it can save brake wear, as well.
As plush as its price allows, the interior is upscale, entry-level luxury. Spacious, comfortable second-row seats recline and flip down. The third row in the Luxury and Limited editions folds flat to provide extra cargo space, as does the front passenger seat. Tall passengers will appreciate the headroom, but riders in the third row will find the legroom restrictive. For road warriors, the four 12-volt power outlets provide juice for electronic devices and the cockpit-style dash is compact and friendly. Door openings are wide, even for entering the third row. Fully equipped, with a functional cabin to suit most needs, the XL7 offers three trim levels that are available in both five and seven-passenger versions. Very little road noise disturbs riders, although a louder turn signal would better remind drivers to turn it off when no longer needed.Exterior
Conforming to today's typical styling combination of SUV and wagon, the sleek XL7 has a balanced exterior with triangular headlamps as its most noticeable feature. Clean lines, with a nod to macho via muscular wheel arches, identify the XL7 with the mid-size crossover segment. Integrated roof racks, a hi-rise tailgate and a dignified rather than an in-your-face grille add up to an attractive vehicle.
An emphasis on protective features defines the front-wheel-drive XL7 as a vehicle for 35- to 45-year olds who are concerned about family safety. Front and side-curtain airbags for all rows lead the list, along with electronic stability/traction control, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, rollover sensor and disc brakes. All of the bells and whistles are already on board, including air conditioning, automatic transmission with Manumatic shift, remote entry, cruise control and four 12-volt outlets. On the models with three rows of seats, self-leveling suspension and rear air conditioning are standard.
Worrying over options for Suzuki's XL7 is cut to the minimum. In fact, the base model's only option is all-wheel drive (available on all trim levels), since it is already loaded with a long list of standard features. Luxury model options supply music lovers and map readers with DVD entertainment, a sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels. Moving up to the flagship Limited version, Suzuki adds on a touring package that includes a touchscreen navigation system.
The engine on all three models is a 3.6-liter V6 designed by General Motors and built by Suzuki in Japan, matched to a five-speed automatic/Manumatic transmission that provides all the driving modes most drivers will ever need. One liter larger than its predecessor, the bigger and more powerful engine nevertheless delivers equal or better fuel economy.
252 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
243 lb.-ft. torque @ 2300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (2WD), 17/23 (AWD)
By Sally on Saturday, May 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safe SUV to drive. Other people see you coming."
Cons: "Repairs cost outside regular maintance is $$$$$$"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"For a big SUV it drives like a dream. I have owned this car 7 years and have 105,000 miles on it. I get 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. I keep Good tires on it and always keep up with the services. The DVD is great with head set for kids and a remote. Leather seats, and OK Music system and CD. It has been a great car. I sometimes forget it is a big SUV. Very Comfortable seats with heated options too. I have always owned Hondas but this car took me by surprise. I got it as a trade in from a dealership my spouse worked at with 7,000 miles on it. Very nice car with lots of room and seats 7 people."
By Ray on Thursday, May 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"When I buy my next car it will be a Suzuki if I can find a dealer that sells them,we don't have a dealer of these cars any place close."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Unhappy on Sunday, March 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I've only owned this XL7 for 3 yrs. and it has 79,000 miles on it. The timing chains have had to be replaced 3 times. Now I'm being told that Suzuki has known this was a problem with the XL7s, but unfotunately I didn't know this when I purchased it. Wish I had done more investigating into this model. I just really liked the looks and this one had a lot of nice features that I liked. Now it's just sitting in my driveway. I just can't afford to sink more money into it."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Phil on Tuesday, March 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 144,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cost to buy and maintain was good until engine"
Cons: "Engine not so good. Would not buy again."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Purchased this truck in 2008 with 25k miles on it. Had probelms at 40k with typical steering rack noise, then power steering pump went out a few miles later. It was a $700 fix. At just over 100k and out of warranty to check engine light came on. Code was PO008 for a stretched timing chain. I did not fix it. At 140k the timing chain broke. By that time the engine was burining oil at a rate of a quart every 500 miles. I always changed the oil as recommended by the oil life monitor and used synthetic oil. It turns out that the oil life monitor lets the car go too long between oil changes and Suzuki did not revise the computer, but GM did for their version of this engine."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Snell on Monday, November 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, easy to drive, size, extra seats,"
Cons: "Suzuki dealerships closing, hard to find parts"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This vehicle has 7 seat belts so I can haul my family, their instruments, and their friends. I've had it since 2007 and have had no problems. I maintain it regularly. It gets about 25 miles per gallon average. It turns sharp and fits into smaller parking spaces. Every time I think of getting a newer car, I end up looking for exactly what I have in my Suzuki. My only complaint is that I live a long way from a Suzuki dealership since so many of them have closed and I'm afraid it will be expensive/difficult to find someone to repair it who lives in my area; again, I've had no problems thus far but it's getting older and repairs are inevitable on any vehicle."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Love My Suzuki on Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, roomy, smooth, good gas mileage."
Cons: "Foreign car must take to mechanic to get work done"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought it used with less than 9k miles with an extended warranty. My payments were less than $300 had it for over four years now, and still loving it! I'm thrilled with this vehicle's versatility, comfort-ability and smooth riding ability. I want my next car to be the same, but a newer version. BEST CAR PURCHASE OF MY LIFE!"
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful