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Suzuki Grand Vitara 2005 review

It has always been a good thing, if a little squeezy inside, but one of the few compact 4WDs that's noted for its off road prowess.

There's plenty of stories going around about big 4WDs getting stuck up to its axles, only to be pulled out by a passing Suzuki.

The new 21st Century Grand looks set to continue this tradition, with a "built-in" ladder chassis and selectable, low range four-wheel drive.

But after putting the top of the range V6 through its paces, I can't shake the feeling that some of the Zuke's legendary "go anywhereness" has been sacrificed in the name of better road manners.

Like the previous model, the Grand Vitara is available in short and long-wheel base ver- sions, with a new, seven seat XL-7 version said to be on the way.

The four cylinder, three-door model misses out on low range and is obviously aimed at the young female buyer who couldn't give two hoots about going off road.

Both the four cylinder and V6 five-door, five-seat wagons get high and low range gearing.

Although this time around you dial in low via a dash-mounted, knob instead of the traditional transfer lever.

For the first time too, the new Grand can be driven on the road with four-wheel drive engaged, thanks to the inclusion of a centre differential.

Our test vehicle was the top of the line V6 fitted with a five-speed manual transmission, priced from $30,990.

A five-speed auto is optional for another $2000.

Gone are the round goofy lines of the previous model, replaced with a sharper, cleaner more modern look.

Inside, the look is fresh and modern too with large easy to use controls.

Fit and finish are good, seats are comfortable but but the steering wheel is nothing fancy and crusing control is missing.

It's still a bit of a tight fit inside, particularly rear head room with the elevated seating position.

However, it is, after all, a compact 4WD.

The V6 is the 2.7-litre unit from the previous stretched XL-7.

However, there are some differences, most significant of which is that peak torque is generated at 4500rpm instead of 3300rpm.

Torque is the stuff that gets a vehicle off the line quickly and makes easy work of steep hills.

The lower in the engine rev range that it is generated the better.

The 2.7-litre engine delivers a total of 135kW of power at 6000rpm and 250Nm of torque at 4500rpm.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 11.1 litres power 100km for the manual and 11.6 litres power 100km for the auto, from a 66-litre tank.

That's a little less than the XL-7 – but then the Grand weighs almost as much at 1595kg.

We didn't get a chance to empty the tank, but these figures sound about right (trip computer only displays current usage).

On the road the Grand Vitara is a smooth operator with good road holding ability and hardly any corner roll.

The engine sounds promising, with a raw note under hard acceleration, but you need to keep the revs up to get the best out of it.

Off road the Grand is limited by ground clearance which is a minimum 200mm.

Although there is plenty of underbody protection, it is prone to bottoming out on rocky descents.

This is not an issue in dirt or sand, but could be of concern to owners not wanting to damage vehicles.

Two airbags and ABS are standard but it might be an idea to check out the options list, because alloys and fog lights are not.

Pricing Guides

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Range and Specs

(4x4) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,950 – 7,999 2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2005 (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Sports (4x4) 2.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $4,180 – 6,160 2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2005 Sports (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Sports (4x4) (Wide) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,410 – 5,390 2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2005 Sports (4x4) (Wide) Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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