Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Grand Vitara XSPORT & Upcoming Three Part Series

Hello all! It's been awhile since I've updated the blog with new reviews. You know how it goes, it being summer and all. I will certainly be making up for that in the very near future. First things first, checkout my take on the Suzuki Grand Vitara XSPORT I recently drove. If you are thinking about a crossover vehicle, but working with a tight budget, this is definintely worth a closer look. Second, starting next week I'll be doing a three part series on good time summer convertibles. Just because you've been patient, I'm going to give you two of the three reviews in next weeks edition. As always, please dont' hesitate to email me or post comments about anything on the blog or auto related. Happy reading!!

Grand Vitara XSPORT Offers Value over Luxury
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By Marcus MacFarland


I suppose it’s true that there is a time and a place for everything. I came to believe the old adage a little bit more this week when I discovered the 2007 Grand Vitara 4WD XSPORT sitting in my driveway. I say that, in part, because, this year’s Grand Vitara is largely unchanged after last year’s major redesign. Between that, and the fact that small SUV’s don’t usually get my blood pumping, I have to admit that I was expecting to be pretty bored. When I climbed inside, I discovered something particularly unusual about this tester. This Grand Vitara wasn’t completely loaded with options. I must admit, at first, this didn’t improve my expectations for the impending week. However, when I stopped to consider the demographic that would likely be interested in the Grand Vitara, the lack of options seemed rather appropriate.

If you purchase a Grand Vitara, you can have any engine you want, so long as it’s a 2.7-liter V6. You got it, there’s only one choice. This small displacement V6 churns out 185 horsepower, which is about average for this class. While I’ve driven slower cars and SUVs, this one certainly sounded like it was working harder than the others. I found that getting on highway on-ramps and having conversation with my passengers to be completely at odds in the Grand Vitara.


If you are considering buying a Grand Vitara, be advised that the two-wheel drive version is rear wheel drive. If you are trying to save a few bucks, I don’t recommend doing it by passing on four wheel drive, unless you live in Florida, California, or someplace else that doesn’t get snowy or icy conditions. Come January, you’ll appreciate spending the extra $1400.00 bucks, especially when you see some poor schlub pointing the wrong way in a ditch next to I-695. Otherwise, the Grand Vitara handles about as I expected. Its ride quality isn’t great, but it’s livable.


Since last year’s redesign, the look of the Grand Vitara is unchanged. Its exterior lines look like the traditional take on a small SUV but with some added edginess. Nothing too wild here. The XSPORT is the mid-level package, so my tester came with smaller 16" wheels and black cloth interior. Otherwise, this trim level is nicely equipped. The interior features tilt steering and a seven speaker audio system with subwoofer.


The moral of the story here is that the Grand Vitara represents a pretty good deal if you go easy on the options. If you are looking for inexpensive five passenger transportation with four-wheel drive, it can be had for around $21,000.