Car reviews - Suzuki - Grand Vitara - V6 Sports 5-dr wagon
Suzuki returns to its SUV roots with a convincing new Grand Vitara to join the sassy
7 Apr 2006
By CHRIS HARRIS
POST-Swift, the pressure is on Suzuki - hitherto one of the great slackers of the last decade as far as memorable cars are concerned - to conjure up another winner with the follow-up to the under-performing Grand Vitara. Happily, with great styling and better space and dynamics thanks to a complete rethink, the signs are good that the latest model can make just as big a splash among the compact SUV set as the Swift has in the light-car class. Ironically, the late '80s Vitara original pretty much set the template for small urban 4WDs, so it's not as if Suzuki doesn't know how to do it.
Model release date: 1 September 2005 to 1 July 2008
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Grand VitaraReleased: April 1998
Ended: August 2005
Family Tree: Grand Vitara
One of the great automotive disappointments of recent years, the follow-up to the genre-creating 1988 Vitara a decade later had none of its spark or youthfulness, and wasn't a particularly roomy or refined vehicle to compensate. Three wagon bodystyles - a five-door and a pair of three-doors (soft and hardtop) - were offered, along with a trio of engines - a 1.6 or 2.0 four-cylinder unit for the shorter wheelbase models and the 2.0 or a 2.7-litre V6 found in the longer-wheelbase wagon. Transmission choices were limited to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual. Short overhangs, good ground clearance, dual-range gearing and a tough ladder-frame chassis made for impressive off-road abilities, but at the cost of on-road dynamics and comfort. The 1998 Grand Vitara proved robust and reliable, if not especially memorable, while models after 2001 gained more features and a trim update.
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