By KBB.com Editors
In 2007 Suzuki introduced two timely new vehicles, including the crossover XL7, and celebrated a marked increase in sales. The current fluctuation in fuel costs and slow down in big SUV sales actually bodes well for Suzuki, as many Americans are looking to move to smaller, more fuel-efficient versions of their big SUVs. Crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) like the 2009 XL7 are built on car-like unibodies and have some attributes of both minivans and SUVs. 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 three trim levels: Premium, Luxury and Limited.
You'll like the 2009 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 the limited rear view through the tailgate window and, if you need to tow bigger loads, you'll have to look somewhere else.
A new six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode helps improve both fuel economy and performance. The Base trim is dropped from the lineup.
Driving Impressions The sedan-like quality of driving the 2009 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 fairly quiet ride with barely discernable wind noise but some noticeable engine roar inside the cabin. The all-wheel-drive system in its three modes – two-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive Lock – operates 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 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 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 three trim levels, all of which offer seven-passenger seating.Exterior
With a styling combination of SUV and station wagon, the sleek 2009 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.
An emphasis on protective features defines the front-wheel-drive XL7 as a vehicle for individuals 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. Premium trims include front and rear air conditioning controls, automatic transmission with manumatic shift, remote entry, a self-leveling suspension, cruise control and four 12-volt outlets. The Luxury trim adds leather seating, heated front seats and a power sunroof, while the Limited receives DVD navigation, a Pioneer audio system with seven speakers, remote start and 17-inch chrome wheels.
Options include all-wheel drive, which adds heated side mirrors to any model. Limited models offer a DVD entertainment system in lieu of the power sunroof.
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 six-speed automatic/manumatic transmission that provides all the driving modes most drivers will ever need.
252 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
243 lb.-ft. torque @ 2300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/23 (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