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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
uses regular-grade gas
soft suspension settings result in cornering performance that's hardly sport
Steering is responsive, even on unpaved roads
Kelley Blue Book
Acceleration is plenty quick
The 2009 Suzuki XL7 has plenty of power for its class, though its handling won’t suit hotfoots.
For 2009 Suzuki replaces the old five-speed transmission with a six-speed automatic featuring manumatic shifting. The new transmission improves fuel economy upward of 10 percent with EPA estimates of 17/24 mpg for city/highway and upward of 5 percent for all-wheel-drive models with EPA estimates of 16/23 mpg city/highway. The official EPA fuel economy ratings are 15 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway in the all-wheel-drive version, and 16/22 mpg in the front-wheel-drive models.
ConsumerGuide praises the six-speed transmission: "ultra-smooth automatic transmission kicks down promptly for swift passing, and it always seems to be in the right gear. Its manual shift gate is helpful in mountain driving." Cars.com points out that the engine in the 2009 Suzuki XL7 "teams with a six-speed automatic transmission with a clutchless manual mode," which Autoblog says is "geared tall for fuel economy" and offers "serenity at speed."
According to ConsumerGuide, the Suzuki XL7 "has ample power from any speed, with little difference between 2WD and AWD versions." Autoblog remarks that "acceleration is plenty quick...[it] managed to sprint one through the quarter mile in 16 seconds flat, and they found 60 mph in 7.7 seconds." Cars.com reports that the Suzuki XL7's engine is a "252-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 designed by GM and built by Suzuki...towing capacity is rated at 3,500 pounds."
When it comes to handling, ConsumerGuide notes "comfort-biased suspension means marked body lean that demands slow speeds when entering corners...steering has a numb, artificial feel, [and] a wide turning circle complicates close-quarters maneuvering." Autoblog acknowledges that "there's no mistaking this vehicle for a sports car," but contends "handling is competent without excessive roll, dive, or squat, and it clings well to the tarmac...steering is weighted nearly perfectly, if devoid of feedback, and the XL7 drives with solid composure." Edmunds also reports "soft suspension settings result in cornering performance that's hardly sport." On the other hand, Kelley Blue Book says "steering is responsive, even on unpaved roads...[on a] severe washboard road there was, naturally, some shake and vibration but the XL7 Limited we tested ran straight and sure."
The 2009 Suzuki XL7 is above average in overall performance, but again, it's not particularly exciting.