Basically a stretched version of Suzuki's Grand Vitara, the XL-7 is one of the least-expensive SUVs to include a third-row seat for seven-passenger capability (though only small children will be happy riding in the rear). 2005 changes include a chrome "S" badge added to the spare tire cover and a newly standard tire-pressure monitor. The XL-7 comes powered by a 185-horsepower 2.7-liter V-6 engine; a five-speed-automatic transmission is included on the upscale EX version and is optional on the base LX model, which also offers a five-speed manual. Available in either rear- or four-wheel drive versions, the latter includes a Drive-Select push-button-operated transfer case that can be shifted on the fly. Automatic air conditioning, power locks, windows and mirrors, a CD stereo, keyless entry, roof rails, cruise control, and alloy wheels are standard.
2002 Suzuki XL-7 Limited by Paul Wiley
A capable platform goes long on a skinny design legacy.