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Pre-Owned: 2006-2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Ready For Adventure

Colin Ryan
Jun 22, 2015
Photographers: Courtesy Of Suzuki
There’s a way to get into off-roading without spending heaps of cash, and it’s called the Suzuki Grand Vitara. Beneath that unassuming image of a soccer-practice taxi is some useful hardware. For example, although its construction is technically a unibody, it still incorporates a ladder frame for sturdiness and towing ability. And low-range gearing is available with the optional all-wheel-drive setup.
In its basic form, the Grand Vitara deploys rear-wheel drive, but four-wheel drive could be had from the top to the bottom of the range—for the first three years, at least.
The ’06-’14 generation is a significant step up in quality over its predecessor, with much nicer cabin materials and a more refined ride — although rivals like the Toyota RAV4 still had the edge in that respect. Despite the “grand” in its name, the Grand Vitara is a compact SUV.
Photo 2/3   |   Suzuki Grand Vitara Rear Three Quarter
With the rear seats up, cargo space is an unremarkable 24.4 cubic feet. Fold them down and the resulting 68.9 cubic feet of load area is pretty good for its class. The only major gripe around the back is that the right-side-hinged tailgate opens the ideal way for drivers in Japan but the wrong way for Americans. Maximum towing capacity, incidentally, is 3,000 pounds. Ground clearance is a useful 8 inches and the approach and departure angles are 29 and 27 degrees, respectively.
This model was introduced in Base, Premium, XSport and Luxury trim levels, all powered with a 2.7L V-6 making 185 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It lasted from ’06 to ’09. The standard transmission for the base and Premium models is a five-speed manual, with a five-speed auto as an option. In the XSport and Luxury trims, this automatic transmission is standard.
The obligatory mid-cycle refresh kicked in for ’09, bringing a new grille and front bumper, some redesign of the interior controls, hill descent control, and hill hold assistance, plus two new engines. The entry-level powerplant became a 2.4L four-cylinder, making 166 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. A 3.2L V-6 brought 230 hp and 213 lb-ft to the two upper trims.
The all-wheel drive system in XSport and Luxury versions has a neutral mode so they can be flat-towed behind an RV without clocking up the miles. The setup in the Premium is simpler.
Photo 3/3   |   Suzuki Grand Vitara Front Three Quarter
Standard equipment expanded in ’10 to include a removable Garmin satellite navigation system. The Luxury trim was also renamed Limited. The V-6 was discontinued for ’11, along with the XSport trim and the five-speed automatic transmission. The grandly named Ultimate Adventure Edition came along for the ’12 model year, packed with heated front seats and water-resistant upholstery.
Another little facelift happened in ’13 and Bluetooth became standard throughout. By now, though, the Grand Vitara was losing ground to the competition in so many ways and this was the last year Suzuki sold cars in the United States.
However, don’t fret too much about obtaining spare parts. Several online businesses offer them, and it shares some components with the Chevrolet Equinox. There are also plenty of aftermarket off-road accessories to give the Grand Vitara more mud cred.
An ’09 XSport with the 3.2L V-6, all-wheel drive, five-speed auto transmission, and in good condition is rated at $8,856. This compares favorably with a similar ’09 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ at $12,467 and a ’09 Subaru Forester XT at $13,295.
2006-2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara
Body type: 4-door SUV
Drivetrain: Front engine, RWD/4WD
Airbags: Driver, front passenger, side curtain
Engine: 2.7L/185hp DOHC V-6 (’06-’09; 3.2L/230hp DOHC V-6 (’09-’10); 2.4L/166hp DOHC I-4 (’09-on)
Brakes, f/r: Disc, drum, ABS
Price range, whlsl/retail (KBB): $4,064/$4,996 (’06, RWD, V-6), $13,510/$15,717 (’13, 4WD, Limited I-4)
Recalls: ’06-’11 OCS sensor mat in front passenger seat; ’10 navigation system battery
NHTSA frontal impact rating, driver/front pass: Four stars/five stars
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