San Francisco: Suzuki's
new XL7 may look like a crossover, but it still has some elements of a
truck-based design with rails underneath the body. I like the way it
drives, but quality inside the Suzuki XL7 is mediocre. It's not ugly
enough to make you gag, but it also won't produce any wows for its fit
The Suzuki XL-7 has
always been a plucky SUV. Even as its competitors switched to car-based
platforms that are immensely more comfortable and better to drive in
town, the XL-7 stuck with a truck frame that seemed to be made from pine
logs and mud. It drove like a four-wheeler that suddenly sprouted a roof
and some doors.
That's fine for people
who need the off-road capability of a real SUV, but it was torture for
people like me, people who wouldn't drive off-road if they were being
chased by a nuclear-armed Godzilla.
So, I was relieved when
the new XL7, yes, suddenly without its hyphen, showed up at my doorstep
looking like a car-based crossover. I figured Suzuki had finally gotten
some common sense kicked into its head and turned its off-road SUV into
an on-road one.
I stepped into the
cabin, a nice improvement over the old XL-7, and drove two feet in the
parking lot before I realized this wasn't a car-based SUV at all. The
pine logs underneath had merely been upgraded to oak.
Turns out the new XL7
has an unusual chassis design that is part crossover and part truck.
It's built with a unibody frame just like a family car, but it also has
full-length rails under the body for added strength.
That means, on the
comfort spectrum, it drives somewhere in between a really nice truck and
a really bad car. The ride is certainly an improvement over the old
XL-7. But that's like becoming the best pitcher in the Rangers' bullpen,
it's just not that hard to do.
Inside, you'll find the
same value-minded interior Suzuki SUVs are known for. It's not too
luxurious, although a wide expanse of fake wood trim in high-end models
makes the same statement as a fake Louis Vuitton handbag. It shows you
know what nice stuff looks like, but still says you can't afford the
Space is the XL7's
strong point. It comes with three rows of seats that are surprisingly
comfortable and roomy, and the back two rows easily fold down for
carrying cargo. If that's not enough, the front passenger seat folds
It's an awful lot of
SUV, or crossover, or whatever it is, for the money.
It starts around
$23,000, which is a bargain price for a seven-passenger SUV. Still, I
think this vehicle needs to pick sides. Either it's an off-road SUV or
an on-road crossover.
Otherwise, it will
remain what it is today, a very affordable, seven-passenger SUV, that's
mediocre both on and off the pavement. And maybe there’s nothing wrong
with that for the price.
INFOBOX: What was
tested? The 2007 Suzuki XL7 Limited 2WD with a base price of
$27,949. Options: Platinum touring package ($2,200). MSRP price as
Why avoid it? It
tries to be comfortable on the pavement and capable off the road, but it
really excels at neither.
Why buy it? It
has a lot of space for the money and retains some off-road cred.
By Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Suzuki Home Page
Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: This Suzuki SUV needs to pick sides
Topic: The 2007 Suzuki XL7 Limited 2WD
Word Count: 636
Photo Caption: The 2007 Suzuki XL7 Limited 2WD
Photo Credits: Suzuki XL7 Internet Media
Series #: 2007 - 41
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2007 Suzuki XL7
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2007 Suzuki XL7