I purchased one of these in Jan 06 with the Premium package. I had wanted a small SUV that had ample room, was good on-road and off-road, lots of good features, and that I could afford. I found all th...
I purchased one of these in Jan 06 with the Premium package. I had wanted a small SUV that had ample room, was good on-road and off-road, lots of good features, and that I could afford. I found all these in the Grand Vitara. I looked at several other small SUVs, and none had such a good combination of all factors. I was very surprised at how well the GV drove on road. It felt very smooth and little road noise. Everything felt very solidly built. The styling is very attractive, I thought, and bore an uncanny resemblance to the RAV4. But unlike the RAV4, CRV, VUE, etc. it can actually go offroad! The interior is absolutely gorgeous. It is very well laid out and even the "aluminum" trim encircling the gauges looks very nice, and also on the shift knob and along the sides of the console (wood trim in higher models). The wood and leather of the higher models looks even better, but I'm very happy with the black mesh cloth. It all looks more expensive than it is. Its very comfortable, even in the back seat with 3 people. It was also thousands less than the toyota, even when the toyota had only a 4cyl and fewer amenities. I got my premium package with 6 disc, 7 speakers (with subwoofer), keyfob, steering wheel mounted audio/cruise controls, auto climate control, 6cyl, 4x4, 5spd auto, ABS, traction control, 2spd transfer case, and more for just under 20K. (The RAV4 with 4cyl and less "stuff" was selling for about 27K when it first debuted in my local dealerships.)
But every car has its cons. Automatic gear shifting was slightly jerky, but mostly from 1st to 2nd or when gunning the engine. Not enough to bother me, though. The car could use some more power, for when you really need to gun it, but it doesn't need to be a sports car. It could also be more fuel efficient. Suzuki has been making engines for a long time, you'd think they could either make it more powerful or more gas friendly. Preferably both, but I'd rather see more fuel economy - the power is pretty good as is. The engine also likes to whine a little when you're punching the gas, but I'm usually too busy blaring my Clarion audio system to notice!
But, in short, this Suzuki is a whole other animal than its previous incarnations. It is refined, handsome, more powerful, inexpensive and multicapable at the same time. I love it. I would buy it all over again.