By KBB.com Editors
In 2007 Suzuki introduced two timely new vehicles, including the crossover XL7, and celebrating a marked increase in sales. Crossover utility vehicles (CUVs), built on car-like unibodies and with some attributes of both minivans and SUVs, are outstripping SUVs in popularity and the sleek XL7 joins the crossover segment as a modern, style-conscious seven-passenger vehicle with optional all-wheel drive and excellent fuel economy. There are four trim levels: Base, Premium, Luxury and Limited.You'll Like This Car If...
You'll like the 2008 Suzuki XL7 if you enjoy a mobile lifestyle, want flexible seating, need plenty of horsepower and torque for towing light-to-moderate loads, such as jet skis, and don't want to break the family budget. For weekend off-roaders who find gravel roads exhilarating, the XL7 all-wheel-drive can deliver power to all four wheels full-time.You May Not Like This Car If...
You may not like the limited rear view through the tailgate window and, if you need to tow bigger loads, you'll have to look somewhere else.What's New for 2008
A new, lower-cost five-passenger front-wheel-drive base model joins the line-up. A rear-vision camera is now available, but only on the Limited trim level.Driving It Driving Impressions
The sedan-like quality of driving the 2008 Suzuki 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. Driving on a patch of severe washboard road there was, naturally, some shake and vibration but the XL7 Limited we tested ran straight and sure, thanks in part to the self-leveling rear shock absorbers. The handling is easy and precise, with minimal body lean, and braking is strong and responsive. The manumatic, which allows the driver to manually shift up or down by tapping the shifter, is an excellent, easily-operated assist system and welcome on steep hills. Despite its size and heft, the XL7 provides a quiet ride with barely discernable wind noise. The all-wheel-drive system in its three modes -- two-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive Lock -- operates effortlessly.Favorite Features
Cool weather means cold seats, but from a distance of 200 yards they can be warmed up in advance using the XL7's remote start, which automatically starts the engine and warms up the heater when the outside temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Automatic transmissions are way ahead of manuals in popularity but appropriate shifting with the manumatic can enhance control and, on downhill runs, save brake wear, as well.
As plush as its price allows, the interior is entry-level luxury. Spacious, comfortable second-row seats recline and flip down. The front passenger seat, and the optional third-row seat, both fold flat to provide extra cargo space. Tall passengers will appreciate the headroom, but riders in the third row may find the legroom restrictive. For road warriors, the four 12-volt power outlets provide power 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 four trim levels, three of which are available in both five and seven-passenger versions. Very little road noise disturbs riders, although a louder turn signal might better remind drivers to turn it off when no longer needed.Exterior
With a styling combination of SUV and station wagon, the sleek 2008 Suzuki XL7 has a balanced exterior with triangular headlamps among its most noticeable features. Clean lines and muscular wheel arches identify the XL7 with the midsize crossover segment. Integrated roof racks, a high-rise tailgate and a dignified grille add up to an attractive vehicle.Notable Standard Equipment
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 a rollover sensor, electronic stability control with traction control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution. Other standard equipment includes 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.Notable Optional Equipment
The Premium model offers seven passenger seating and all-wheel drive, while Luxury-model options include DVD entertainment, a sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels. Moving up to the flagship Limited version, there's an available touchscreen navigation system with the option of a rear-vision camera.Under the Hood
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 @ 6400 rpm
243 lb.-ft. torque @ 2300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (2WD), 15/22 (AWD)
The base five-passenger, front-drive XL7 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $22,000. The Premium trim with all-wheel-drive and third-row seat is around $25,000, and a fully-loaded Limited tops out around $32,000. Fair Purchase Prices, showing what consumers are actually paying, can differ substantially, so click on Fair Purchase Prices to compare. Also, be sure to check the Incentives tab to see what deals the manufacturer may be offering. Closest competitors include the Toyota Highlander, with a powertrain warranty of five years/60,000 miles, compared to the XL7's warranty of seven years/100,000 miles, and the Honda Pilot, which is considerably more expensive. Hyundai's Santa Fe almost matches the XL7's price tag but beats its EPA-rated fuel economy by offering a manual transmission as standard equipment.