Grand Vitara Limited Edition Road Test Junior
SEATTLE, WA No music, no lights, and no unveiling of the proverbial curtain for this showing. We didnt give this tough-as-nails sport utility any special treatment despite its luxurious Limited Edition status. With V-6 power, shift on the fly four-wheel drive, and a full frame stretching the entire length, the Grand Vitara Limited Edition provides power and handling whether youre on or off-road.
Wasting no time we immediately logged well over 200 miles in city and highway driving pushing every last one of the impressive 155 ponies the 2.5-liter, 24-valve, V-6 has to offer. Even more impressive is the available 160 foot pounds of torque the best in its class
power-to-weight ratio. And all the while maintaining a modest 19-21 mpg rating. We loaded the GV with four adult passengers and another 150 pounds of equipment, found the steepest hill to climb, only to find wed need more weight to slow this luxury SUV. Unfortunately our GV didnt come equipped with a tow package depriving us of experiencing the 1500lb towing capacity.
At times we felt we were in a sports car but yet with the room of an SUV. The handling was awesome. The GV uses a power assisted rack-and-pinion steering, a rigid 5-link rear coil suspension, and MacPherson Strut front suspension with sway bar. Although rigid and stable on-road, the suspension flexes very well off-road. We place this luxury SUV on the dirt, starting with wet slippery forest roads. Shifting from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive at speed was as easy as the manual says. No need to get out and lock hubs.
The same characteristics of on-road handling can be found on dirt roads. Cornering stability but with the added traction of four-wheel drive. We increased our speeds in corners pushing the GV nearly to its breaking point. Certainly not your average driving conditions but how could one speak without having experienced it, not to mention we just could resist.
Taking things to the next level, we put the GV on the trail. Mud; loose rock, and slick roots. The GV took it all. Having shifted from four-wheel high range to low we continued to push the limits of stability versus travel. On the road the suspension works cohesively, tuned to what the driver requests and what the surface has to offer. But off-road the suspension takes on somewhat of an independent stature. Using the known theory in off-roading travel equals stability and traction, the GV produces its fair share.
At this point we had to take a step back and realize that this was a luxury SUV with everything from leather interior to power mirrors. Putting everything back into perspective, we continued to off-road. Additional standard features and amenities include, power windows and locks, keyless entry, A/C, CD changer, cruise control, tilt wheel, roof rails, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, and alloy wheels. We found a wide array of bolt accessories offered by Suzuki, and to our surprise plenty of aftermarket accessories on the open market.
No we didnt cut the Grand Vitara Limited Edition one bit of slack. With handling and power attributes such as these Suzukis surely created another rugged and versatile compact SUV.