Bold, Big and Beautiful ZUKIWORLD tests the new Suzuki XL-7
-Photography and Story by: Junior
LAS VEGAS , NV – Make no mistake, American Suzuki is proactive in their desire to rule the sub-compact SUV market. With their introduction of the Grand Vitara and now the brother to the GV the XL-7, Suzuki is clearly gaining secure ground on this ever-growing market. Suzukis vision for a new-generation SUV was first revealed to the public in the form of the XL6 concept SUV at the January 2000 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Blending high style and impressive flexibility in a manageably sized package, the striking XL6 took the market in a new direction. Now, the XL-7 brings that same “best all-around” theme and dynamic look to the SUV buyers who demand more value for their money spent.
We at ZUKIWORLD wasted no time in getting our hands on one to not only put this thing to the ultimate tests on and off-road. From Las Vegas Nevada we out-right abused the new stylish and incredibly versatile sport-wagon until something failed. Haaw! The only thing that failed during this test was our energy to continue such a pace to find something we wouldnt like. That too didnt happen. I say sports-wagon because this SUV has the room of a wagon yet maintains the handling and stature of a sportier vehicle.
Our Test XL-7 at the Las Vegas resort.
The XL-7 sports an adjustable 3rd row seat.
The large swing away tailgate makes access to the rear cargo area a snap.
Beginning with the Grand Vitara platform, Suzuki has stretch the frame 13 inches giving the XL-7 plenty of room for an additional row of seats standard on all XL-7s offered. Some 73.0-cubic-foot of capacity are found for cargo, passengers, or both. Getting in and out of the rear row of seats was far easier then one would imagine considering Suzuki has cleverly designed the door way opening and the mid-seat draw where-by allowing adult passengers to step right in. An additional 100lbs of cargo hauling space can be found atop the roof with the XL-7s standard roof rails. Great for skis, bicycles, and other sports equipment. Theres storage below the cargo deck and in under-seat bins; the full-sized spare tire mounts outside the cargo area on the back doorand a cargo area light assists nighttime loading. The XL-7 has the ability to meet many needs of the sports enthusiast and then some.
Our auto was equipped with a sunroof.
We were impressed with the refinement of the new interior.
Every enthusiast can appreciate this factory first aid kit.
Looking from the dash to the rear deck we found soft but solid controls, lids, and compartments. Our particular test model was a five speed, however, we did test and pictured this automatic version. To ensure that all the XL-7s extra interior space is easily accessible, the rear doors are extra wide. Some 8 inches at the base and 12 inches at the top (again comparing this to the existing Grand Vitara). The increased length in the door space is realized when an adult simply steps in and has a seat. We didnt feel as though we had to crawl to get into the rear seats. Like the Grand Vitara the XL-7 has style and class with standard equipment like power windows, air-conditioning with micron air filtration, power windows and door locks, power mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control, tilt wheel, automatic lighting system, privacy glass, rear wiper/washer, first aid kit, and best of all a V-6 engine. The only difference with this V-6 compared to the GV is an additional 20 ponies. Yes, a modest 170 horsepower are found with the 2.7 liters V-6 engine in a price segment where weaker four-cylinder engines are the norm. The XL-7 power plant is an advanced all aluminum unit that leverages state-of-the-art technology, producing peak output of 170 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 178 foot-pound of trailer towing torque at 4,000 rpm. Coupled with the newly geared (read lower) rear differential, both towing up hills and acceleration are greatly improved while maintaining good fuel economy.
V-6 power will get you there in comfort.
The XL-7 offers a full ladder frame, providing a solid platform to build upon.
Ride control is gained by a sophisticated five-link coiled rear suspension precisely tuned to compliment the McPherson strut with separate coils and dampeners for tight cornering and long suspension travel. Of every luxurious feature the XL-7 has to offer, it was the suspension we punished the most. From on-road panic turns to intentionally hitting the largest bumps in an off-road situation, we were frankly surprised that any suspension could provide consistent reliability and comfort through such abuse. Lets put the towing capacity into perspective here. 3,000 pounds is more than just a small aluminum boat or two motorcycles on a trailer. Try a camper, sailboat, or a trailer loaded with four Suzuki ATVs, spare gas, and gear. Besides 3,000 pounds out the back, the XL-7 can more than adequately handle a filled to capacity interior. Try that with the four-cylindered competition. Speaking of towing, lets not forget that theres a reason Suzukis been so popular with RVers. The XL-7 can be towed behind an RV in traditional Suzuki style considering the XL-7 uses a manual transfer-case allowing the drive-train to be placed into neutral. Now thats paying close attention to the needs of the consumer.
Suzuki might have out done themselves this time. How will they ever top the XL-7. We said the same when we tested the Grand Vitara. With style, impressive flexibility, and loads of room were believes that Suzuki will accomplish their goal in securing a large portion of the sub-compact SUV market. Features, strength, and price will help them achieve exactly that. Now go drive one for your self.