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
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
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. Its a good value
for the money vehicle, and a strong candidate for a test drive, if youre shopping in
the mini-SUV market. By Carol Green © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Suzuki Home Page
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
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