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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
not necessarily a top choice for major towing duty
kicks down a gear or two on barely perceptible upgrades
Cars and Driver
highway passing can take patience with automatic transmission
Auto experts at TheCarConnection.com see mixed reviews on the 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara performance credentials.
ConsumerGuide reports that this year's Suzuki Grand Vitara is powered by "a 185-hp 2.7-liter V-6," which, according to Edmunds, is “paltry compared to the [Toyota] RAV4's V-6." Although "not necessarily a top choice for major towing duty, the Grand Vitara can tug up to 3,000 pounds." If this Suzuki 2008 motor seems to lack power, Motor Trend suggests "torque may be the culprit, as the Grand Vitara's peak twist resides at 4,500 rpm."
This lackluster engine "teams with either a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission" like most Suzuki 2008 vehicles, according to Cars.com, which adds that "the four-wheel-drive system has a Low range and is intended for use only on slippery surfaces." ConsumerGuide reports that "highway passing can take patience with automatic transmission, which downshifts readily for more power," and "the manual transmission doesn't change gears smoothly when rushed."
Edmunds remarks "fuel economy estimates, at 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway for a 4WD model with the automatic transmission, are below average for a compact SUV."
Overall handling characteristics get moderate praise: ConsumerGuide reports "marked body lean but good grip in fast corners," adding that "steering is nicely weighted and the turning circle is commendably tight, but test AWD models exhibited some front driveline binding when turned fully to either side" and "firm, easy-to-modulate brakes provided good stopping control." Kelley Blue Book notes "hard cornering does elicit some body roll, but not an excessive amount." According to Car and Driver, however, once it leaves the pavement, the 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara really shines: "off-road, the Grand Vitara was pure Viagra, nearly as solid and capable as the Jeep."
The 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara may be good for off-road expeditions, but overall it’s only average.