Suzuki Grand Vitara (US specs).
9th September 2005.
Since everybody is
following the crossover unibody trend with their new SUVs,
why wouldn't Suzuki
finally go for it with the all-new generation of its
famous 5-seater Grand
Why not, especially
that the new Grand Vitara
is derived, with significant changes, from General Motors'
Theta platform (GM owns 20 percent of the Japanese brand),
a platform initially developed with Suzuki, before being
adopted in the Saturn Vue
(since 2002), the Chevrolet
(since last year), the Pontiac
Torrent (from MY 2006),
besides a few other models to follow, including the next
generation Suzuki XL7
and even at Cadillac (under the SRX).
However, the Theta
platform was not copy-pasted. The Grand
Vitara represents a smaller
version, with a significantly shorter wheelbase (2.64
meters for the 5-doors version, and 2.44 meters for the
3-doors one, up by 16 and 24 mm from the previous
generation) than that of the Equinox, Torrent (2.857m) and
the Vue (2.707).
In body length, the
Grand Vitara (4.47 and 4.00 meters, up from 4.125 and
3.905m) is well shorter than the Equinox, Torrent (4.795
m) and Vue (4.605 m).
However, in width
terms, the new Grand Vitara (1.810 m, up from 1.70 and
1.78 m) is practically the same as in its
"cousins" (1.814 m in Equinox and Torrent, 1.817
m in the Vue).
On the other hand,
the new Grand Vitara is significantly longer and wider
than the previous generation, with increased interior
space, extra headroom and more front and rear legroom. It
offers 24.4 cubic feet (690 litres, or 0.69 cubic meter)
of storage space (5-doors) with the seats up and 68.9
cubic feet (1.951 cubic meter) of storage space when the
60/40 split seatbacks are folded forward (50/50 split in
the 3-doors version. see dimensions table).
Marketing-wise, the Grand
Vitara will enter this fall
the showrooms of both, the "Old Continent" and
the "New World", after its launch in Japan last
May under the Escudo
Interestingly, it is
not in the US, the world biggest market for SUV sales that
the Japanese brand expects to sell most of its Grand
Vitaras, but rather in Europe, where a Renault-sourced
Diesel engine will be offered (Suzuki used a PSA,
Peugeot/Citroen Diesel engine with the previous
generation) to help it achieve the targeted 60,000 units
per year (three quarter of them expected to be Diesel
powered), compared to some 40,000 units/ year in North
America, and some 25,000/ year between Japan (15,000) and
the rest of the world.
The Grand Vitara will
be offered in Europe in both 3- and 5-doors versions, with
other engines (petrol, 1.6 and 2.0 liters), while the US
market gets the 5-doors version with a 2.7-liter V6 petrol
Compared to its previous generation, the Grand Vitara
comes with a structural difference, adopting a new
lightweight, rigid monocoque body (unibody, unitary
construction, rather than the traditional body-on-frame
structure), but with a built-in ladder frame to give
additional off-road competence.
advantages of lighter weight, lower gravity center and
reduced height don’t necessarily penalise headroom. The
‘built-in ladder frame’ construction when compared
with the body on frame design of the previous model
permits lower floor heights, in turn lowering the centre
of gravity despite the high ground clearance of 200mm.
With shorter front
overhang on both 3- and 5-doors versions, the wheels are
effectively ‘pushed’ closer to the corners, enhancing
interior packaging, with more of the vehicle’s overall
length devoted to the cabin.
Despite the increased
length, the Grand Vitara gets a full turning diameter of
10.2 meter for the 3-door body, and 11.0 m for the 5-door
Short overhangs also
return good approach, departure and ramp angles at 29, 36
and 20° (3-doors version) and 29, 27 and 19° (5-door).
In the event of a
collision with a pedestrian, the hood is designed to
absorb some of the impact and help protect against serious
head injuries. The front end and the bumper use
energy-absorbing materials to help reduce the possibility
of serious leg injuries.
In the UK, all models
are equipped with roof rails and a spoiler along the upper
edge of the tailgate. The latter is side-hinged and opens
to a full 90 degrees, but the gas strut stops at an
intermediate point of about 65 degrees, preventing the
tailgate – with its protruding spare wheel – from
swinging into the path of passing traffic. When the
tailgate is in the intermediate position, the right hand
tail-light remains unobscured when lit at night.
Drive - The
other main change comes in the drive system, which gets
two choices of full-time four-wheel-drive (a 2WD version
is available in the US in the basic version).
The new full-time
four-wheel-drive system will be available with two
options: a standard full-time single-mode
four-wheel-drive system, and an optional full-time four-mode
The 3-door model
(Europe) features the first permanent four-wheel drive
system, without a centre differential lock as it is nearer
to a ‘soft-roader’, while 5-door models offer the
full-time four-mode four-wheel-drive system, with
differential lock and low range that signal their SUV
The full-time four-mode
four-wheel-drive system features the following modes,
simply selected via the rotary switch on the fascia.
Suzuki Grand Vitara (GB / European specs).
4H: This high-range
4x4 mode with free centre diff is ideal for most
conditions, offering the smooth, quiet performance and
neutral cornering of conventional 4x2s. Front and
rear torque is split 47:53, improving on-road response
while delivering excellent off-road traction. The
torque-sensing diff ensures immediate throttle response.
4H Lock: In
this high-range 4x4 mode, a clutch locks the centre
differential to eliminate any speed difference between the
front and rear wheels, providing better traction through
deep snow or mud.
4L: Low range
four-wheel drive (again with a locked centre differential)
enables the Grand Vitara to cope with very difficult
situations; the transfer gear ratio is about twice that of
the 4H Lock mode at 1.970, offering excellent low-end
N: Finally, neutral
mode allows the vehicle to be towed, if it should ever be
necessary; with the centre differential free there is less
potential driveline wear and tear.
The unibody structure is teamed with all-round independent
suspension – McPherson struts in front and a new
multi-link design in the rear, front ventilated disc
brakes with rear drum brakes and power-assisted
Engines - In
the US market, the Grand Vitara will get a standard
2.7-liter, six-cylinder, 24-valve DOHC engine delivering
185 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. (249 Nm) of torque,
allowing a tow rating of 3,000 pounds (1360 kg).
The dual overhead
camshafts are driven by a self-adjusting, self-lubricating
timing chain (not a timing belt) that requires no
maintenance in normal service. Also, a specially
tuned variable induction system (VIS) improves throttle
response and increases overall engine efficiency. As
part of the overall refinement, the engine now sits on
hydraulic engine mounts to further reduce vibration and
transmission is five-speed manual, with an optionally
available electronically controlled five-speed automatic
(4-speed automatic in Europe).
In Europe (UK specs),
all three engines feature drive-by-wire throttle
management and advanced induction control systems for
better fuel economy. The new 106PS 1.6-litre engine also
has variable valve timing and delivers 32.5 mpg (8.69
litres per 100 km) on the combined cycle.
The larger 140PS
2.0-litre petrol engine fuel consumption is 31.0 mpg (9.11
litres per 100 km) for the manual model, while the
turbocharged, intercooled Renault diesel engine
returns 36.7 mpg (7.70 litres per 100 km) on the combined
cycle, with a torque curve peaking at 221lb ft (299 Nm.
See specs tables).
All models feature as
standard (may vary depending on markets) climate control
air conditioning, front electric windows (plus rear on
5-door models), an integrated radio/CD player, steering
wheel-mounted audio controls, tinted glass, a tilt
adjustable steering column, remote central locking,
reclining rear seats, folding exterior door mirrors,
driver and front passenger front and side airbags, front
and rear curtain airbags and an immobiliser.
features include ESP (uses a variety of electronic sensors
to measure speed, steering wheel angle and yaw. It
corrects unintended oversteer or understeer by applying
individual brakes and reducing engine torque to help the
driver maintain the proper cornering line.), ABS with
electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), six airbags
(driver and front passenger seat-mounted side-impact
airbags, dual-stage front airbag, weight-sensing front
passenger airbag and front and rear side-curtain airbags),
a three-point seat belt for each of the 3 rear passenger
Other US standard
equipment include air conditioning with automatic climate
control and micron air-filtration system, cruise control,
digital clock with outside temperature and fuel
consumption indicators and adjustable center armrest with
internal storage, a sound system with AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA
unit (XM Satellite Radio-ready) and steering-wheel-mounted
controls. A six-disc, in-dash CD changer with seven
speakers is available as an option, including two tweeters
and a subwoofer.
Prices start in the
US from $18,999 (with 2WD), and in the UK, from £12,699
for the 3-doors 1.6 litre version with 5-speed manual
gearbox, and from £15,499 for the 5-doors 2.0 litre with
the manual gearbox (£16,499 with the 4-speed automatic).