In Colorado, we wish for a white Christmas every year. Thanks to 320-plus days of sun per year, we pretty much never get one. As you may well know, this year has been just a little different for us. After getting pounded with several feet of snow just before Christmas and another foot or so before the New Year, I'm sitting here writing this review during our third storm in three weeks - kids in footsie jammies, hot cocoa with mini marshmallows in hand, delighting in cancelled school.
We certainly got what we wished for. The downside to all this is a slight (to say the least) decrease in mobility: Police departments delivering baby formula to families stuck at home, motorists stranded by the side of the highway and, possibly even worse, mommies going certifiably insane from days on end stuck inside with restless kids. Not me, oh no, not me: Not with the use of the 2007 Suzuki XL7 Limited with electronic all-wheeldrive.
This vehicle has steadfastly delivered me from a state of frazzled cabin fever into a world of motoring bliss, transporting me and my children to a nearby Center for Rejuvenation Therapy (mall) for a decompression remedy (shopping) and body-movement treatments (wide open spaces without crowds for the kids to run around like maniacs). With seating for seven and easily accessible Latch lower anchors in all three positions of the second row, the Suzuki XL7 would work just as well for driving carpool today, if school were in session.
Plenty of standard features in the Limited version of the '07 XL7 worked together to make our treacherous and snowy outings safe and enjoyable. The center armrest in the second row folds down to reveal two cupholders perfect for holding a warm drink along the way. Dual stage heated front seats gently warmed my toosh to my optimal, scientifically chosen toosh temperature. Separate thermostat controls for the rear passengers, adjustable by them, keep the little ones in back toasty. A DVD system in the back allows the kids to watch that new movie they were given for the holidays, while steering-wheel mounted audio controls let me keep my focus on the road while surfing the radio for updated weather reports.
I do have a few little gripes in regard to the XL7: First off, I nearly got stuck on a steeply embanked highway offramp, which had me wishing for a four-wheel lock feature on the all-wheel drive, even though under normal circumstances I prefer letting the car choose how to handle the snow rather than having to think about it myself. I also dislike the fact that while shifting the vehicle from Park to Reverse to Drive, there's no light next to the "P," "R," or "D" to verify which gear I've switched into. Rather, I have to shift my vision up to the center instrument cluster to find this; a minor detail, really, but enough of a frustration to wear on my nerves over two weeks.
And, last but not least, on my way to an evening holiday party I discovered the lack of a lighted vanity mirror. I like to think of myself as fairly grounded and down to earth, but for my one big party of the year, I'd like to double-check my makeup before entering. This is especially important because, while trying to throw myself together at home, I was slightly distracted by a sibling fight over who was cheating playing Hullabaloo, and, oh, by the way, Mom, the puppy just peed on the carpet.
*For more information on the Suzuki XL7 Limited and its safety features, visit www.cars.com.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
LATCH Connectors: 3
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 7
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times