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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
“Merging on the freeway and climbing hills requires only modest throttle input”
highway passing can take patience with automatic transmission
kicks down a gear or two on barely perceptible upgrades
Cars and Driver
The 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara may be good for off-road expeditions, but overall it’s only average.
Addressing the new 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, Edmunds says it “makes 166 horsepower,” and getting “from zero to 60 mph takes 10.2 seconds, slightly slower than the last all-wheel-drive Honda CR-V we tested.” Motor Trend notes, “Merging on the freeway and climbing hills requires only modest throttle input, as does passing on the freeway,” adding, “What hampers the Grand Vitara…is the old-school four-speed transmission. In most situations it's not a problem, but if you hit an incline on the freeway, things get ugly.”
The Grand Vitara’s new four-cylinder engine can be teamed to a standard five-speed manual transmission or a new four-speed automatic transmission, while the V-6 is matched to a standard five-speed automatic transmission.
In terms of fuel economy, Motor Trend reports the new four-cylinder “on regular-grade gas, got an average of 23.92 mpg in 90 percent highway driving, achieving a personal best of 24.56 mpg.”
According to Edmunds, the 3.2-liter V-6 isn’t "necessarily a top choice for major towing duty, the Grand Vitara can tug up to 3,000 pounds." If this Suzuki 2009 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."
ConsumerGuide reports that "highway passing can take patience with the automatic transmission, which downshifts readily for more power," and "the manual transmission doesn't change gears smoothly when rushed." According to Cars.com, "the four-wheel-drive system has a Low range and is intended for use only on slippery surfaces."
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 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara really shines: "off-road, the Grand Vitara was pure Viagra, nearly as solid and capable as the Jeep." 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."
When it comes to performance, the 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara meets with mixed reviews.