Review: Suzuki, long a purveyor of motorcycles, rugged, compact SUVs
over the past twenty-three years, and recently, nice but often
overlooked, compact cars, introduced its first real pickup truck this
year, the 2009 Suzuki Equator, a very nice mid-size pickup.
It is not telling tales
out of school to say that the Suzuki Equator is a Nissan Frontier built
to Suzuki specs. I like the Frontier trucks, so I was sure I would like
the Equator too.
It is ironic but when
my girlfriend first climbed into the Equator, she commented on how big
it was. Ironic that a truck close in size to what was once considered
full-size is now mid-size. For the vast majority of pickup owners the
mid-size trucks are actually sensibly sized. But that is another topic.
The Equator is
available in Extended or Crew Cab, short bed (Crew Cab only) or long bed
(standard on the Extended Cab), 2WD or 4WD, manual or automatic
transmission, and base, Comfort, Premium, Sport and RMZ trim.
Two engines are
available, the base 2.5-liter, DOHC four-cylinder that produces 152 hp
and 171 lb.-ft. of torque, which is the only engine available with the
5-speed manual transmission, or a 4-liter, DOHC V6 that adds 109 hp
(261) and 110 lb.-ft. of torque (281). The V6 is only available with the
5-speed automatic transmission. Unless you absolutely need to eke out
the last drop for fuel economy and have no plans to tow anything over
3,500 lbs., I would stick with the V6.
Fuel economy for the V6
is 17-city and 22-highway with 2WD, the four is rated at 19/23. I drove
a V6 Crew Cab RMZ with 4WD and it returned a tad over the 20-mpg highway
rating on a trip.
For once, I had the
loan of a truck when I needed one. Usually I get a truck and only open
the tailgate so I can see how easy it is to operate. This time I had to
make a dump run, so I got to fill the bed up with construction debris.
I did not really tax the Equator, which has just over a half-ton load
capacity, but it felt good to use a truck as a truck.
The RMZ Equator I used
was very nicely equipped, which a good thing for me as I spend a lot of
time behind the wheel and I like my creature comforts. The only gripe I
have is that the driverís door window is power down but not up.
Included, as either part of the RMZ and / or Sport package is a great
Rockford Fosgate sound system with AM/FM / Satellite Radio / 6 CD
changer / Bluetooth / Auxiliary input (for your MP3 player), navigation
system, cruise, and power this and that.
I personally would have
preferred a manual transmission with the V6 and no 4WD but automatics
seem to be the way to go. Maybe I will have to change my ways.
At first, the
suspension on the Equator seemed a little soft, then as I got a few more
miles under my belt I started to notice that it seemed to have a dual
personality. It was soft when it needed to be yet firm enough when it
had to be. Not sure how they accomplished that.
One reason I like the
mid-size pickups is the ease of loading and unloading. Full-size pickup
trucks have just gotten too high over the past few years. Is Paul Bunyan
buying them? I have driven some half-ton pickups with beds that had to
be five feet from the ground! Suzuki does not give the lift over height
for the bed and I did not measure it but I am pretty sure the open
tailgate was at about my waist, which would make it about four feet from
the ground, a perfect height to slide in sheets of plywood.
Of course, one problem
with a 4X8 sheet of plywood is that a foot and a half of it will extend
past the end of the lowered tailgate. You might want to use one of those
little red flags to hang off the end, just in case.
Not only can you tote a
good size load, you can tow one too. From the base 3,500 lb. trailer
allowed with the 4-cylinder and manual transmission, the Equator goes up
to a 6,500 lb. capacity with the Extended Cab V6, 2WD with automatic
I like the mid-size
trucks; they are the right size for the majority of people. Suzuki
offers a pickup for a wide variety of people at prices ranging from a
low of $17,220 up to $30,600.
Suzuki also offers what
they say is Americaís #1 Warranty: a 100,000-mile / seven-year, fully
transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty. Suzuki
builds fine SUVs and cars, now they have partnered with one of the best
small truck makers. If you are in the market for a mid-size pickup, you
need to check out the Suzuki Equator line of pickup trucks this weekend.
By Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San
Byline: Suzuki Review provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Suzuki Home Page
Column Name: Suzuki
introduces its first real pickup truck
Topic: The 2009 Suzuki
Word Count: 907
Photo Caption: The
2009 Suzuki Equator
Photo Credits: Suzuki
Equator Internet Media
Series #: 2009 - 27
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2009 Suzuki Equator
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2009 Suzuki Equator