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Suzuki XL6 gets green light

Big brother: Suzuki's XL6 off-roader concept bears an obvious family resemblance to the smaller Grand Vitara

Suzuki aims to take the fight up to the Toyota LandCruiser Prado with a new mid-size off-roader

24 Jan 2000

SUZUKI has given the production green light for its XL6 off-roader unveiled at the recent Detroit motor show.

The four-wheel drive concept bears an obvious family resemblance to the Grand Vitara - on which it is based - even though it is closer in size to the Toyota LandCruiser Prado and Mitsubishi Challenger.

It is likely to go on sale here late this year or in early 2001, priced from around $36,000.

The production version will be slightly more conservative in appearance than the concept vehicle, which rides on 18-inch wheels and features an aggressive nose with projector-style headlights.

Viewed from the side, the XL6 seems to draw several cues from Mitsubishi's all-new Pajero, due here soon.

Inside, the XL6 features three rows of seats to accommodate six passengers.

The middle row comprises a pair of individual chairs while the back row - which Suzuki claims can comfortably fit a pair of six-foot adults - has a 50/50 split-folding arrangement.

As well as being more spacious than current Suzukis, the XL6 has a much plusher cabin with quality leather upholstery, wood trim for the facia and gearlever surround, electric everything, air-conditioning and automatic transmission.

With Suzuki's share in the passenger car segment declining steadily, the company seems to be focussing increasingly on the off-roader category.

Off-roaders and light commercials accounted for over half the car- maker's sales here in 1999.

The introduction of a mid-sized off-roader based on the XL6 should boost Suzuki sales significantly.

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