Suzuki's Grand Vitara continues to soldier on quietly in the compact SUV market, adding just a few new features for the 2010 model year. While the company is busy hyping the new Kizashi mid-size sedan (and with good reason, that car represents a great chance for Suzuki to challenge the established players in that class), the Grand Vitara doesn't get much attention, but it, too, is a key vehicle for Suzuki's sales hopes.
Perhaps the biggest news is the addition of a standard navigation system on all models. Stop the presses.
All joking aside, spending a week with the Grand Vitara gave me the chance to see how it stacks up as a family car. Or SUV, as it were.
The Grand Vitara is offered with either 4-cylinder or V-6 power, in Base, Premium, Special Edition, XSport, and Limited trims. The test model that showed up at my door was a Limited with the 230-horsepower 3.2-liter V-6 engine, a 5-speed automatic transmission, and full-time four-wheel-drive.
Included in the base price of $26,999 were features such as ABS, an antiskid system, traction control, fog lamps, a keyless entry and start system, the aforementioned nav system, leather trim, heated front seats, a sunroof, and a CD/AM/FM stereo with an auxiliary jack for MP3 players.
Options were limited to a cargo mat and net ($130), floor mats ($125), and a wireless cell phone link ($269). A destination charge was not listed on the Monroney, but a quick Internet search shows that it would be $795. As-tested price, minus the destination charge, was $27,523.
At 213 lb-ft of torque, the V-6 seems like it might have enough go, but the lack of urgency when the accelerator is dropped belies that assumption. Passing maneuvers require planning ahead, and the police are unlikely to even bat an eyelash when a Grand Vitara comes passing by. Blame the blocky aerodynamics and the weight of the four-wheel drive system.