Bucking the trend to claim "go anywhere, do anything" capabilities, Suzuki’s new flagship, the 2001 XL7 (XL stands for extra large) is being described by this Japanese manufacturer as an SUV that "fits."
Stretching the wheelbase of its Grand Vitara 13 inches and adding another seven inches of rear overhang, the newest model fits seven passengers. With its 4WD system that includes a low range set of gears, it now has an improved highway ride and remains a truly capable outdoors-oriented player in the back country.
While its new footprint moves this sport-utility vehicle closer to the compact segment of the SUV pack, its base pricing of $19,799 for a 2WD model (add $1200 for four-wheel drive) keeps it comparable to small sport-utes, where it can boast uniqueness as the only seven-seater in this segment. Both second- and third-row can split and fold flat, adding flexibility for a variety of practical uses.
Rear seats are designed for children and small adults but come with thick cushions, cupholders, stowage compartments and separate air conditioning and cool air controls. The XL7 boasts more cargo room than a Jeep Grand Cherokee, more front headroom than a Lexus RX300 and more standard horsepower than a Nissan Xterra.
A sleeker sport-ute
From the outside the XL7 has a longer and sleeker profile, with a more upscale, sporty and stylish image. Updating its exterior design are integrated side window graphics and a rear spoiler with a chrome front grille, door handles and door moldings and bigger, bolder side door cladding. Its ladder-frame body is supported by a MacPherson strut front suspension and a five-link rigid rear axle suspension. The Grand Vitara’s V-6 has been bored to a 2.7 liters with 170 hp and produces 178 lb-ft of torque, with an increased towing capacity of 3000 lb.
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