2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara Review

Consumer Reviews
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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor
March 3, 2010

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara offers real off-road ability and is maneuverable in town, but there are few other reasons to choose it.

TheCarConnection.com has driven the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara to bring you this hands-on review that covers styling, performance, safety, utility, and features from on-the-road observations. TheCarConnection.com's editors also researched reviews from other sources to give you a comprehensive range of opinions from around the Web-and to help you decide which ones to trust. High Gear Media drove a manufacturer-provided Suzuki Grand Vitara to produce this hands-on road test.

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara compact SUV holds five passengers, has civilized on-road handling, and brings more off-road capability than many of its competitors-including such features as a ladder frame and available four-wheel drive with a low range, more like a truck than a crossover. Redesigned for the 2009 model year, its unibody construction and fully independent suspension provide a kinder, gentler ride and better handling characteristics than previous truck-based Grand Vitara models could offer. Starting at a base price of $18,999 (plus $795 freight), the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara faces off against stiff competition from the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V, the Ford Escape, the Chevrolet Equinox, and the Hyundai Tucson.

The 2010 Grand Vitara has clean if forgettable lines that are square-cut without being domineering. It was extensively upgraded last year with a new front bumper and grille design, along with some thoughtful interior enhancements: illuminated controls on the steering wheel, visor extenders, a sliding front center armrest, and an upgraded audio system.

For the 2010 model year, the Suzuki Grand Vitara is available with two engines: a four and a V-6-as are many of its competitors. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 166 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque. It delivers EPA fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 highway with the five-speed manual, and 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway with the four-speed automatic. The larger 3.2-liter V-6 engine, offered in the 2010 Grand Vitara XSport and Luxury models, produces 230 horsepower and 213 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with a more modern five-speed automatic transmission. It is rated by the EPA at 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway-the mileage for either engine is bested by others in the class.

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Unlike some competitors, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara provides legitimate underpinnings for drivers who take their off-roading seriously. Suzuki offers a dual-range, Four Mode four-wheel-drive system that includes a two-speed transfer case, providing low-range gearing for uses like climbing rough trails. There's also fully automatic single-mode all-wheel-drive option.

Drivers sit high in the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara, and benefit from good forward and side visibility from the large, vertical windows. The Grand Vitara is pleasantly easy to drive, with precise, direct steering making it surprisingly maneuverable in tight urban traffic. It's easy to park, too, taking up only as much space as a compact car. The ride, while decent on smooth roads, can fall apart quickly when the pavement turns choppy. At speed, the handling and braking aren't as good as expected-partly because at 3,700 pounds, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara is one heavy compact SUV. And that same high seating position makes modest body roll seem more extreme during tight turns.

The front seats hold average-sized passengers comfortably, but taller occupants may find the seat cushions short. The rear seat, however, has surprisingly good legroom-for two only, due to the narrow cabin. People buy crossovers to carry stuff, and the 2010 Grand Vitara's cargo space is a definite letdown. The floor sits higher than expected, and because the tailgate opens to one side, it's challenging to access with one hand or when parked on slopes. It's also worth noting that the heavy tailgate flips out to the street, with its hinges on the right, rather than to the curb.

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara has decent safety equipment but hardly rates at the top of the class. It offers the expected anti-lock brakes, as well as stability and traction control systems as standard, along with front-side and side-curtain airbags. The Grand Vitara earns four-star ratings for driver and passenger frontal impacts, and five stars in driver and passenger side impacts, when it was tested by NHTSA. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), on the other hand, rates it "good" (the top rating) for front impacts, but only "average" for side impacts.

The Base model of the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara comes in real-wheel drive only, but all-wheel drive is available or standard on all other models. The Premium model is the better-equipped four-cylinder, with optional four-speed automatic and four-wheel drive. The XSport and Luxury models upgrade to the V-6 engine and offer increasingly comprehensive feature sets. The 2010 Grand Vitara XSport features alloy wheels, fog lamps, roof rails, and a better sound system. The Grand Vitara Luxury model adds to that a hard-shell tire cover, wood-grain trim, and heated leather seats. All models now include remote keyless entry, a remote fuel-door release, and automatic climate control.

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2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Styling

The looks of the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara can be viewed as above average-if, that is, you want to make a tough, rugged statement.

The 2010 Grand Vitara has clean if forgettable lines that are square-cut without being domineering. It was extensively upgraded last year with a new front bumper and grille design, along with some thoughtful interior enhancements: illuminated controls on the steering wheel, visor extenders, a sliding front center armrest, and an upgraded audio system.

Motor Trend is substantially impressed with this Suzuki 2010 exterior, calling it "arguably the best looking car in its class." According to Kelley Blue Book, the Suzuki Grand Vitara "applies traditional SUV styling cues to a scaled-down package" that includes "just the right rounding of contours," offering "a clean and contemporary appearance."

The testers at MotherProof find "the rear of cabin proved to be very basic." But Kelley Blue Book notes approvingly that "silver plastic accents on the base and XSport are replaced by leather and faux wood in the Luxury model," and Edmunds says "flowing lines abound, with gauges taking up residence in a multilayered cluster with simulated aluminum trim." In addition, they point out, the leather in the Limited model "is very nice to look at."

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6

2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Performance

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara gets mixed reviews for performance: commendable off-road, but sometimes sluggish when passing at speed.

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara may be good for off-road expeditions, but overall it's only average. For the 2010 model year, the Grand Vitara is available with two engines: a four and a V-6-as are many of its competitors. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivers EPA fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 highway with the five-speed manual, and 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway with the four-speed automatic.

Discussing the base 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, Motor Trend notes, "Merging on the freeway and climbing hills requires only modest throttle input, as does passing on the freeway," and says "the old-school four-speed transmission" notably "hampers the Grand Vitara," explaining that "in most situations it's not a problem, but if you hit an incline on the freeway, things get ugly." Edmunds adds that the 0-to-60-mph time of 10.2 seconds with the 166-hp four-cylinder engine is "slightly slower than the last all-wheel-drive Honda CR-V we tested."

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."

The larger 3.2-liter V-6 engine offered in the 2010 Grand Vitara XSport and Luxury models produces 230 horsepower and 213 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with a more modern five-speed automatic transmission. It is rated by the EPA at 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway-the mileage for either engine is bested by others in the class.

Edmunds says the 3.2-liter V-6 isn't "necessarily a top choice for major towing duty," although with that engine "the Grand Vitara can tug up to 3,000 pounds." Motor Trend suggests "torque may be the culprit" for its seeming lack of thrust, "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."

Kelley Blue Book mentions that "hard cornering does elicit some body roll, but not an excessive amount." ConsumerGuide reports "marked body lean but good grip in fast corners," and points out that the steering is "nicely weighted," along with a turning circle that "is commendably tight," although "test AWD models exhibited some front driveline binding when turned fully to either side." They also note that "firm, easy-to-modulate brakes provided good stopping control."

Unlike some competitors, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara provides legitimate underpinnings for drivers who take their off-roading seriously. Suzuki offers a dual-range, Four Mode four-wheel-drive system that includes a two-speed transfer case, providing low-range gearing for uses like climbing rough trails. According to Cars.com, "the four-wheel-drive system has a Low range and is intended for use only on slippery surfaces." There's also fully automatic single-mode all-wheel-drive option. Once the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara leaves the pavement, according to Car and Driver, it really shines: "off-road, the Grand Vitara was pure Viagra, nearly as solid and capable as the Jeep."

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6

2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Comfort & Quality

While the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara has good fit and finish, its storage space and lack of refinement are lacking.

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara feels smaller but better finished than many rivals.

Drivers sit high in the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara, and they benefit from good forward and side visibility from the large, vertical windows. The Grand Vitara is pleasantly easy to drive, with precise, direct steering making it surprisingly maneuverable in tight urban traffic. It's easy to park, too, taking up only as much space as a compact car. The ride, while decent on smooth roads, can fall apart quickly when the pavement turns choppy. At speed, the handling and braking aren't as good as expected-partly because at 3,700 pounds, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara is one heavy compact SUV. And that same high seating position makes modest body roll seem more extreme during tight turns.

The front seats hold average-sized passengers comfortably, but taller occupants may find the seat cushions short. ConsumerGuide reports that the optional leather seats in the 2010 Suzuki "have an overly firm cushion and insufficient lumbar support," adding that the standard "cloth seats are softer but also need more lumbar support." Kelley Blue Book, however, says "comfortable front seats provide good lateral support while the seatbacks of the 60/40-split rear bench offer adjustable reclining and room for two six-foot adults or three kids." The rear seat, however, has surprisingly good legroom-for two only, due to the narrow cabin.

People buy crossovers to carry stuff, and the 2010 Grand Vitara's cargo space is a definite letdown. Cars.com observes that "modest cargo space behind the rear seat can be expanded from 23.4 to 50.2 cubic feet by folding down the split rear seat." ConsumerGuide feels that "space is good behind the rear seat." But Edmunds contends that Suzuki Grand Vitara "interior storage compartments are lacking...luggage capacity is a meager 24.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up."

The cargo floor sits higher than expected, and because the tailgate opens to one side, it's challenging to access with one hand or when parked on slopes. It's also worth noting that the heavy tailgate flips out to the street, with its hinges on the right, rather than to the curb.

Car and Driver comments that the Suzuki 2010 engine is "far louder at idle than any other engine here." ConsumerGuide notes "moderate road, bump, and wind noise," which "increases markedly above 65 mph."

However, ride quality stands as a positive. Edmunds reports that "city driving feels smoother and more carlike compared to other body-on-frame truck-based SUVs." And Motor Trend says the "fit and finish is solid, with no squeaks, rattles, or untoward panel gaps," but "the seats feel like airliner surplus in comfort and material quality" on the Suzuki Grand Vitara.

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8

2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Safety

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara garners good-although not top-of-the-class-marks for safety.

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara offers respectable crash protection and a comprehensive list of safety features. It comes with the expected anti-lock brakes, as well as stability and traction control systems as standard, along with front-side and side-curtain airbags. The Grand Vitara earns four-star ratings for driver and passenger frontal impacts, and five stars in driver and passenger side impacts when tested by NHTSA. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), on the other hand, rates it "good" (the top rating) for front impacts, but only "average" for side impacts.

According to Edmunds, standard safety features "are plentiful and advanced for a low-cost compact vehicle, and include stability control, traction control, antilock disc brakes, full-length side-curtain airbags and front seat side-impact airbags."

While the reviewers at MotherProof are "impressed with the Grand Vitara's lineup of airbags, which includes dual-stage front airbags, front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags," TheCarConnection.com points out that side bags are being phased in as a government requirement. Nonetheless, MotherProof feels "it's good to know Suzuki doesn't skimp on safety to keep prices down."

ConsumerGuide says disapprovingly that "rear visibility is hindered by thick rear roof pillars and tall front headrests; the rear headrests retract below the driver's sight line."


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7

2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Features

Although it offers good value, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara has no features that set it apart from well-equipped competitors.

While dealers can install some newer technology accessories, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara has few distinctive details to recommend it in features or fittings.

Kelley Blue Book reports that all Suzuki Grand Vitara models "include a generous set of standard features...even the rear-drive [Suzuki Grand Vitara] base model with a five-speed manual transmission includes power windows, locks and mirrors, 16-inch wheels, automatic digital climate control, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, multifunction steering wheel on a tilt column and cruise control." Cars.com states that standard equipment on this year's Suzuki Grand Vitara "includes air conditioning with micron air filtration, a tilt steering wheel, remote keyless entry, cruise control, an in-dash CD player, and power windows, locks and mirrors." For 2010, all models also pick up a remote fuel-door release.

The Base model of the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara comes in real-wheel drive only, but all-wheel drive is available or standard on all other models. "Beyond the specific feature enhancements included in each of its three trim levels, Grand Vitara factory extras are relatively few," reports Kelley Blue Book. The Premium model is the better-equipped four-cylinder, with optional four-speed automatic and four-wheel drive.

The XSport and Luxury models upgrade to the V-6 engine and offer increasingly comprehensive feature sets. Kelley Blue Book says, "step up to the XSport or the leather-trimmed Luxury model and you gain a five-speed automatic transmission, upgraded audio package with six-disc CD changer, power sunroof, roof rails, SmartPass keyless entry and starting, fog lamps, alloy wheels and more." The Grand Vitara Luxury model adds to that a hard-shell tire cover, wood-grain trim, and heated leather seats.

The Kelley Blue Book reviewer continues, "key dealer-installed options include Bluetooth wireless connectivity, XM Satellite Radio and an iPod integration kit."

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February 11, 2016
2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara 4WD 4-Door V6 Automatic XSport

Nice vehicle

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After a couple of years with a Ford equivalent, I purchased this vehicle new in 2010 and nearly 6 years later, I am just as satisfied as when I bought it!
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November 12, 2015
For 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara

awsome stylish moving

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Since 1986 with Susuki Samurai there's nothing better!
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Styling 7
Performance 6
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