2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara Is All About Improved Value

May 10, 2010

Suzuki’s 2010 Grand Vitara compact SUV is in a very crowded marketplace and needs to stand out to make its mark. To that end, Suzuki has gone to lengths to differentiate its offerings from those of its competition and did a mild facelift on the Grand Vitara last year that gives this machine a more contemporary and modern visage.

Available in four iterations, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited V6 AWD version tested here is about as tarted-up as they get. With an as-tested pricetag of $28,448, including destination, it requires very few options to make it complete. The items added by Suzuki are all-season cargo mats and netting $130, floor mats for $125, premium quicksilver metallic paint for $130 and Bluetooth with text message display for $269.

What does one get for that kind of money? A heck of a lot of value. Suzuki includes a touch-screen Garmin navigation system on the Limited Grand Vitara model that features MSN direct services including real-time traffic, low price gas finder, news, weather, stocks and airline arrival/departure information.

There is a black leather-appointed interior in the Grand Vitara with heated front seats, a power tilt/slide sunroof, automatic air conditioning with micro filtration, proximity key, one-touch down (for driver) power windows, power locks and heated mirrors, an XM-ready CD-based 7-speaker audio system with MP3 and auxiliary jacks, as well as a multi-function, three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls to the left and cruise control on the right.

This particular Grand Vitara has the 230 horsepower 3.2-liter V6 engine that makes a peak 213 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with good gear spacing. With its 6,500 rpm redline, the Suzuki turns a relatively 2,200 at 70 mph, keeping noise inside the cabin to a minimum. Suzuki fits hill hold and descent controls and four-wheel independent suspension to this machine with unibody construction and an integrated ladder frame.

The Grand Vitara Limited is 177.1 inches long, 71.3 inches wide and stands 66.7 inches tall. It rides on a relatively long 103.9 inch wheelbase and weighs 3,876 pounds, not bad for an all-wheel drive machine. The quadruple range four-wheel drive system on this machine has controls on the central stack that are easy to access. This compact SUV tows 3,000 pounds and its turning circle is a relatively svelte 38 feet.

Inside, the seats are manual and the driver has height adjustment. The stark black interior is businesslike in its monochromatic look and is broken up by matte silver and marble-like accents about the cabin. Instrumentation is black with white numbers and red pointers. There are both fuel and temperature gauges, all of which are well hooded and easy to see.

The standard navigation system rests in its own covered pod atop the central stack and is activated by pressing a button and answering the questions: where do you want to go [or] look at the map? It is integrated with the audio system that mutes when a turn needs to be made.

There are convenient wheeled knobs to activate the heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems and a bit of unexpected marbled plastic accentuates the bottom of the stack before one gets to the (covered) dual 12 volt plugs and seat heater controls.

Because this is an all-wheel drive vehicle, mileage is nowhere close to spectacular, coming in at a rated 17/23 mpg city/highway from the17.4-gallon tank. The trip computer--located at the base of the speedometer--told me I was getting somewhere around 19 mpg with combined travel on a vehicle that had just over 8,300 broken-in miles at pick-up.

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