2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Change year or vehicle
$3,067 — $7,315 USED Shop local deals
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Stylish exterior
  • Quiet cabin
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Reclining rear seats
  • Twisty-road handling

The Bad

  • Unforgiving ride
  • Unresponsive automatic transmission
  • Interior design is hit-and-miss
  • Power seats not offered
  • Options locked in packages

Notable Features of the 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara

  • Standard V-6 engine
  • Optional 4WD with low range
  • Side-impact and side curtain airbags
  • Standard stability system
  • Optional keyless start

2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara Road Test

/cstatic-images/stock/64x64/90/img1115632532-1502480398190.jpg
Mike Hanley
Suzuki's redesigned Grand Vitara is among the few compact SUVs that use elements of a sturdy truck-style frame in their construction. As such, its ponderous reactions during city driving are somewhat expected; what's interesting is how the Grand Vitara's handling improves when hustled through challenging, twisty roads — it morphs into an SUV that's entertaining to drive.

Despite this nice surprise, I doubt many compact SUV owners are going to autocross their rides anytime soon, which makes the Grand Vitara's handling skills less relevant. When thrust into a more plausible situation — shuttling around suburbia, for example — the Grand Vitara's appeal wanes; its firm ride makes driving a chore.

Exterior & Styling
The new Grand Vitara is one of the best-looking small SUVs on sale today. The front end has a bit of Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution compact sport sedan in it, with its lower bumper opening and angular headlights. Gone is the body cladding that previous-generation Grand Vitaras wore, enhancing the new model's clean looks.

Grand Vitaras come standard with 16-inch steel wheels, but 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels are optional. A full-size spare tire is included, and it's mounted on the swing gate.

Ride & Handling
The Grand Vitara is built on a unibody platform that has a ladder-style frame running through it. Suzuki claims this design — which has been used in Jeeps for years — provides onroad refine...

Suzuki's redesigned Grand Vitara is among the few compact SUVs that use elements of a sturdy truck-style frame in their construction. As such, its ponderous reactions during city driving are somewhat expected; what's interesting is how the Grand Vitara's handling improves when hustled through challenging, twisty roads — it morphs into an SUV that's entertaining to drive.

Despite this nice surprise, I doubt many compact SUV owners are going to autocross their rides anytime soon, which makes the Grand Vitara's handling skills less relevant. When thrust into a more plausible situation — shuttling around suburbia, for example — the Grand Vitara's appeal wanes; its firm ride makes driving a chore.

Exterior & Styling
The new Grand Vitara is one of the best-looking small SUVs on sale today. The front end has a bit of Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution compact sport sedan in it, with its lower bumper opening and angular headlights. Gone is the body cladding that previous-generation Grand Vitaras wore, enhancing the new model's clean looks.

Grand Vitaras come standard with 16-inch steel wheels, but 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels are optional. A full-size spare tire is included, and it's mounted on the swing gate.

Ride & Handling
The Grand Vitara is built on a unibody platform that has a ladder-style frame running through it. Suzuki claims this design — which has been used in Jeeps for years — provides onroad refinement and offroad durability. While I wasn't able to test the Grand Vitara's rock-crawling capabilities, its onroad performance could use more refining.

The Grand Vitara's ride quality brought to mind that of a mid-90s SUV: firm, unforgiving and occupant-jostling, which is in contrast to the carlike rides offered by some competitors. Many of my impressions were formed while driving on rough, broken pavement (the norm where I live), so if you have the good fortune of living near roads that are smooth enough to play shuffleboard on, the Grand Vitara's taut ride might be easier to take. However, when driven quickly through a series of tight turns with changes in elevation, the Grand Vitara hunkered down and held its line through the corners.

Going & Stopping
With its redesign, the Grand Vitara gets a larger and more powerful V-6. The 2.7-liter engine makes 185 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque and teams with either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic. I only drove an automatic-equipped Grand Vitara, and its performance in stop-and-go city driving was strong. However, the V-6 loses much of its urgency when accelerating at highway speeds. Some of this lethargy can likely be attributed to the automatic transmission, which resisted kicking down to a lower gear. The automatic doesn't have a clutchless-manual mode, either, so you're at its mercy. Wind noise is negligible on the highway, and driver visibility is only impeded by the thick D-pillars.

One rear-wheel-drive and two four-wheel-drive systems are offered. Many of the Grand Vitara's competitors have standard front-wheel drive that, when teamed with snow tires, is acceptable for driving on snow-covered roads. Rear-wheel drive tends to be less suited for snow, which means Grand Vitara buyers who live where winters are harsh should consider a model with four-wheel drive, even though it adds more than $1,000 to the price of the vehicle. The up-level four-mode 4WD includes a locking center differential and a low range for driving on difficult offroad terrain.

Grand Vitaras have front-disc and rear-drum brakes. They're easy to modulate and deliver linear stopping performance.

The Inside
The front bucket seats are comfortable, with wide bottom cushions. The seats in the midlevel XSport Package-equipped Grand Vitara I tested were covered in a neoprene mesh that looked interesting but seemed bound to catch dust and dirt in everyday use. Leather-trimmed seats are optional.

Tall drivers will appreciate the generous amount of backward travel in the seat, and even with the driver's seat raised to its maximum height there was still plenty of headroom. My test vehicle lacked a sunroof — which typically decreases headroom — but one is available with the Luxury Package. Power seats are not offered.

Rear-seat accommodations are fairly good, too. There's acceptable legroom for adults and lots of foot room under the front seats. The 60/40-split rear seat reclines, but it doesn't slide fore and aft like some competitors' rear seats. There isn't a center armrest, either.

Folding the rear seat backrest down and then tumbling the seat forward increases cargo room. Though the folding process is somewhat unconventional for an SUV, it's straightforward and works well. My only quibble is that the seat belts occasionally fell in the way of the seat bottom's latching mechanism when trying to unfold the seat.

The cabin's appearance is hit-and-miss. While the dashboard plastic is nicely grained and the standard automatic climate control system was easy to use, the optional six-CD stereo has a mishmash of buttons that don't go together in the least; they're various shapes, colors and finishes. The three-spoke tilt steering wheel looks sporty and has stereo controls, but the headliner looks like a piece of felt-covered cardboard, and the old-fashioned grab straps look like they're straight out of the '70s.

Safety
Even the less expensive models have many safety features. Antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags and an electronic stability system are standard. The backseat has child-safety seat anchors in the outboard seating positions and top tethers for all three seats.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash-tested the Grand Vitara, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it four stars in its frontal crash test.

Cargo & Towing
The Grand Vitara has about 24 cubic feet of cargo room, but folding and flipping forward the rear seat expands its cargo carrying capacity to almost 70 cubic feet. There are four heavy-duty hooks for securing large items, four grocery hooks and a 12-volt power plug back there, and a cargo cover is standard. Grand Vitaras can tow up to a respectable 3,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Features
Grand Vitaras are offered with one of three packages — Premium, XSport and Luxury — that build upon each other with more and more features; an automatic transmission is the only standalone option. While this may simplify the ordering process, it may also mean spending more to get just the two or three options you really want. For example, if you want a sunroof and heated front seats, you have to select the top-of-the-line Luxury Package; there's no way to order them separately.

Grand Vitara in the Market
Though the smartly styled Grand Vitara has added important safety features like side-impact and side curtain airbags — and enhanced comfort with reclining rear seats — it doesn't stand out in the highly competitive small SUV segment. It also loses points for its unforgiving ride quality. Though they may not offer the Suzuki's potential offroad prowess, there are better choices for the majority of buyers who will use their compact SUV for daily transportation.

Send Mike an email 



2006 Grand Vitara Video

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Latest 2006 Grand Vitara Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

What Drivers Are Saying

(4.0)

My Vitara

by JenW on April 19, 2017

Hoping that I bought a great new car, mine was old, had 251,000 miles on it. Rusty but trusty. Dealing with Jay was a great experience. Read full review

(5.0)

The Best Car I ever had!!

by Devoted to my Suzuky from Bridgeport , CT on October 27, 2012

this is by far a great small suv, i love it, never had a problem in 6 years!! It is a strong, reliable, fun to drive car with lots of power. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara currently has 4 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Overall Rear
poor
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
marginal

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
acceptable
Overall Front
good
Restraints
acceptable
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Grand Vitara received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker