Suzuki is one of the smaller Japanese manufacturers, and it specializes in small cars and sport utility vehicles. Suzuki plans to move up in size in December when it introduces the XL-7, a new SUV based on the Grand Vitara but with considerably larger dimensions.
When Suzuki showed the concept version of this vehicle at the 2000 Detroit auto show, it was called the XL6. Suzuki squeezed another seat into the middle row, and now it is called XL-7. Suzuki has released few details about the XL-7, which is built on a truck chassis.
General Motors owns a stake in Suzuki, and the two companies share vehicles and components, including the design for the Grand Vitara. However, Suzuki says it has no plans to share the XL-7 with GM.
Styling on the XL-7 bears a family resemblance to the Grand Vitara, but the concept vehicle had a larger grille, a front bumper and fender flares. The XL-7s 110-inch wheelbase is 12 inches longer than the Grand Vitaras, and the overall length of 182 is 17 inches greater. The XL-7 also is nearly 2 inches wider at 72.
Like the Grand Vitara, the XL-7 has a side-hinged tailgate that opens to the right.
The seven seats (two more than the Grand Vitara) are arranged 2-3-2 front to rear. The middle seat and split rear seat fold for extra cargo space but are not removable. The concept vehicle had leather upholstery, a feature expected to be available on the production model.
Under the Hood
The XL-7 will have a larger version of the 2.5-liter V-6 engine used in the Grand Vitara, though Suzuki hasnt disclosed the displacement or horsepower. Two- and four-wheel-drive models will be available.