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2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara LTD

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SAN FRANCISCO:  At first, I thought they said Grand Viagra, so I was ready for something impressive. It was a handsome sight to behold - in stunning Polar White with black trim, and a luxurious gray leather interior. This mini-SUV's contemporary styling caught my eye and the attention of nearly ever person I passed in the week I drove it.

The initial transition from my beloved TT to the Grand Vitara LTD was not necessarily a welcome one. My first impression was that there was too much play in all the controls. However, by the time I made the 15-mile trip into San Francisco, I was back in the saddle again and enjoying the ride.

On the outside, the all-new Grand Vitara creates an impression of rugged good taste. Bold exterior paint colors such as Mars Red, Baltic Blue and Grove Green mark a strong presence on the road. The front end features a monochromatic grille with a confident-looking face. With eight inches of ground clearance, the mind and body can easily wander off to recreation mode.

The Suzuki Grand Vitara is the first V6 in the small, sport utility class and has been specifically tuned to feature an extended torque curve, designed for both highway and off-road use. The new 2.5-liter, dohc engine generates 155 horsepower and 160 ft lb of torque. It's a shame I didn't have the opportunity to take the Grand Vitara off-road, because I understand that is where the muscle comes in and validates the grandiosity of the name.

For highway driving, the engine was not as powerful as expected, not demonstrating much pickup for passing. Up at higher speeds, it's a bit on the shaky side, as well as a bit noisy. But it does out power the four-cylinder competition. It was also very economical. The Grand Vitara can deliver approximately 18 mpg in the city and over 20 mpg on the highway. These are good figures for any SUV, let alone a 4-wheel drive model. Parallel parking on the city streets was a breeze, and the urban driving experience was nimble and entertaining, especially with the five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is optional.

Inside, the interior felt great for me at 5' 5", but I did get a complaint from my 6' 2" passenger when we made an excursion to the flea market one weekend. We tried to load the cargo hold with goodies and combine grocery shopping on the same trip. When you fold the back seat flat, the front seat needs to move forward and, for a larger person, it can feel cramped. I would definitely recommend the roof rack. The rear door opens as a swing-out, instead of swing-up, which is neat and creates an easy entry. The overall appearance on the inside is very deluxe on the LTD. The look is smooth and clean, and the center console is easily accessible. Instruments included a tachometer and a digital clock, laid out in a pleasing and ergonomic arrangement.

My test Suzuki, fully loaded with the Limited Package, included leather upholstery with embroidered logos, fog lamps, center arm rest (this is a must), and dark-tinted rear windows and came in at $22,699. This places the Grand Vitara in some stiff competition with Toyota's RAV 4 and the Honda CRV. Neither offers a V6 nor is as capable off-road and, to my eyes, the Grand Vitara is a much more attractive styled SUV. It’s a good value for the money vehicle, and a strong candidate for a test drive, if you’re shopping in the mini-SUV market.  By Carol Green AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  By Carol Green AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Column Name:   "Mini Macho 4WD 4-Door SUV"
Topic:  2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara LTD
Word Count:   602
Photo Caption:  2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara Ltd
Photo Credits:  Suzuki Media
Series #:   2000 - 21

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara Ltd

Download the original image file here:  2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara Ltd 39k

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