Suzuki's XL-7 doesn't just look like a
tough, off-road SUV. It's the real thing. Unlike its car-based
competitors, it rides on a truck-style frame that makes it durable
enough for extreme off-road driving.
The XL-7 has the
roomiest interior in its class, both in terms of passenger space and
cargo volume. Plus, thanks to lots of upscale features that come at no
extra cost, it doesn't feel cheap. When it comes time to test a
low-priced SUV, I've learned not to expect too much. After all, most of
them are just overgrown versions of cheap economy cars.
Suzuki, though, takes a
different approach with its inexpensive XL-7. It's basically a small
version of a heavy-duty SUV, complete with a rugged suspension,
available four-wheel drive, relatively roomy interior, and even a
third-row seat for families. It has all the traits that made SUVs
popular in America, not only a tough-looking body.
Starting at $20,399,
the XL-7 is priced to compete with the many car-based SUVs for sale
today, including the Ford Escape, Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi
Outlander, and Hyundai Santa Fe. But instead of using car-like
construction, the XL-7 rides on a truck frame to give it greater
durability for off-road driving than those car-based SUVs can offer.
platform has some major downsides, though, if you plan to use it
primarily for driving on pavement. First off, it has a rough, bouncy
ride that isn't nearly as comfortable as the car-based SUVs it competes
with. Hit a pothole, and it feels like it has Pogo sticks for shock
absorbers. It's also noisier than most of its competitors, and it feels
heavy and cumbersome in city traffic.
Despite having the road
manners of a pickup, this Suzuki is one of the best off-road bargains
around. It has a large amount of interior space for its price range,
with more passenger room and cargo volume than the competition. It's
also the only SUV in its class to offer a third-row seat.
It comes well equipped,
too. Standard features include a tire-pressure monitoring system,
automatic climate control with air filtration, a great seven-speaker
stereo with an in-dash CD player, cruise control, keyless entry, and
power locks and windows. Thanks to these features, the interior doesn't
Not surprisingly, the
XL-7 drives a lot like a small pickup truck. It's not particularly
responsive to driver input, steering seems a tad sloppy, and it feels
top-heavy in corners. Fuel economy is average, with a government
rating of 17 miles per gallon in town and 22 on the highway.
The XL-7's 2.7-liter,
six-cylinder engine makes 185 horsepower and 184 foot-pounds of torque,
plenty for comfortable acceleration around town and on the highway.
Coupled with a five-speed automatic transmission, it's a perfect match
for the Suzuki's rugged off-road capability.
And, if you're worried
about the long-term quality of a Suzuki, it comes with a better warranty
(seven years, 100,000 miles) than all but one of its competitors. Only
the Hyundai Santa Fe beats its protection with a 10-year, 100,000-mile
Overall, the XL-7 is a
terrific bargain, assuming you need its off-road durability. While the
many car-based SUVs have better performance on pavement, none of them
can match the Suzuki's spacious interior and rugged performance.
Why buy it? If you
need to travel off road with up to seven passengers, this is one of the
best bargains around. It has rugged capability and a roomy interior at a
surprisingly low starting price. By
Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Suzuki Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
XL-7 has big interior, off-road capability
2005 Suzuki XL-7
The 2005 Suzuki XL-7
Suzuki Internet Media
2005 - 45
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