Can you keep a secret?
It seems as if few people know what a great SUV the Suzuki XL-7 really is. Its manageable size, roomy interior and good power seem to have escaped most people's notice.
If you want a real SUV, but don't want to turn the earth into a giant refried bean (thanks to global warming), take a drive over to your Suzuki dealer and take a spin in an XL-7.
For starters, it's a real truck.
It's related mechanically to the Grand Vitara, but benefits from a 12.6 longer wheelbase and 19.1 inch longer length. The XL-7 uses a rugged ladder-type frame, onto which the body is attached, this is typically seen, as more durable and rugged than a uni-body, or one- piece design. Unit-body is typically used for cars, while a body-on- frame design is reserved for trucks. So the XL-7 meets the truck criteria.
The Xl-7 comes with a solitary powerplants, a 2.7 liter overhead- cam V-^. This all aluminum powerplant gets a 13-horsepower increase for 2002 now pumping out a health 183 horsepower. It can be couped with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatics with either rear - or four-wheel drive. Towing is rated at a mere 3,000 pounds. Suspension is pretty Standard: an independent front and live axle out back. It's well-suited for an off-road mission.
On the road, the XL-7 displays the usual SUV trade-offs, smooth but firm ride with body lean to corners. There is some body motion on bumps but is never gets unstable in normal maneuvers.
The Xl-7 feels light on its feet and tossable for an SUV. The extra power is always appreciated and gives this Suzuki good power around town while returning acceptable EPA figures of 17 mpg city, 20 mpg highway. Mixed driving returned 19 mpg.
Braking was average. Suzuki furnishes the XL-7 with front disc/ rear drum brakes. Anti-locks brakes are optional on Standard and Plus models, standard on Touring and Limited modes. High noise and tire noise along with some engine noise all join together at highway speed: turning up the stereo is necessary. But it's not out-of-line for a truck. Around town, the truck performs admirable, with little fuss.
The four-wheel drive system is actuated by a transfer-case shift liver, rather than the increasingly common dashboard button. There is a four-wheel-drive low mode for sloppy, soggy roads.
The interior is larger than you might suspect.
Unlike any other offering in its class, the XL-7 comes with three rows of seats. The third row is actually fairly accessible, thanks to Suzuki offering a split-bench seat in the second row. Either side of the seat offers rear access. And unlike other SUVs, where cargo room all but disappears with all the seats being used, one could get a set of golf clubs behind the rear seat.
The front bucket seats were comfy and had a chair-high positio n and good visibility. The center stack features simple climate controls that are easy to master quickly. The large AM/FM/cassette/CD audio system made switching stations a snap. The overall interior design had an inexpensive fee. This was aided by The center console's fake wood trim and softened by leather seating surfaces, standard on the Limited model.
Prices start at $19,599 for a rear-drive, 5-speed manual in Standard trim XL-7. The lease expensive four-wheel drive model, also a 5-speed manual in Standard trim, costs $20,799. the test vehicle was a fully loaded Limited four-wheel-drive with just two options: heated seats and floor mats. Bottom line was $26,914.
While Suzuki doesn't make the most car-like or most truck-like SUV, the XL-7 seems to be just right in size, with the truck-like attributes that make it a boon off-road. Couple that with an affordable price and you have a capable roomy SUV that people rarely think of.
Just keep it a secret, okay?
SUZUKI XL-7 LIMITED
Engine: 2.7-liter DOHC V-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 110.2 inches
Length: 183.6 inches
Width: 59.1 inches
Weight: 3,704 pounds
Cargo volume: 6.6 cubic feet (seats up), 73 cubic feet (seats folded)
Ground clearance: 7.5 inches
Angle of approach: 28.3 degrees
Angle of departure: 23.4 degrees
Towing capacity: 3,000 pounds
Base price, base model: $19,599
Base price, test model: $25,999
As tested: $26,914
EPA rating: 17 city, 20 highway
Test mileage: 19 mpg
Fuel type: Regular
Built in: Japan
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Suzuki XL-7
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.
*Invoice prices are made available by Cars.com and are not dealer advertising. All prices are subject to regional variations. Prices last updated 9/23/10. Click here for more information.