5 reasons to love and hate the Suzuki Grand Vitara I
The Japanese are great confusions. Someone is counting the history of the model, which will be discussed, since 1988 and considers it the second generation of the family Vitara / Sidekick / Escudo. Someone considers it the first generation of the car called the Grand Vitara. In some directories, the XL-7 is considered an independent model, in others – just an elongated version of the same car. Anyway, the Suzuki Grand Vitara, produced from 1998 to 2005, was the last car of the family, built according to the classic recipes of off-road vehicles: with a powerful frame of a ladder type, a continuous rear axle, dependent suspension and reduction gear in the transmission.
Since 2005, the drift of design ideas towards the crossovers began … But we are interested in exactly the second, well, or the first generation (this is how to count), because this car still has enough dedicated fans, who, although they curse (rightly) their iron horses , but not in a hurry to get rid of them.
So, the popular compact crossover Suzuki Vitara (aka Escudo, aka Sidekick, aka Geo, Chevrolet and GMC Tracker), produced in various countries and sold in many markets under different names, it is time to radically upgrade. The novelty was presented to the world in January 1997 as the second generation Suzuki Escudo (for the home market).
The car differed from its predecessor using a rack and pinion steering mechanism instead of a worm gear, as well as a more bulky body. Soon, sales began in the United States (under the name Sidekick and Tracker), and then in Europe (now as Grand Vitara). Initially, the car could have two wheelbase options and three body options: three- and five-door station wagons and a convertible. As far as I know, cabriolets have not been officially shipped to Russia.
Under the hood could stand inline “fours” of 1.6 liters (94 hp) and 2.0 liters (128 hp) or 2.5-liter V6 with 144 hp, which could be paired with work either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Soon the XL-7 version with a wheelbase increased by 320 mm and three rows of seats appeared on a number of markets. Basically it was equipped with a 2.7-liter V6 with a capacity of 174 hp.
The creation of this model allowed Suzuki to enter the mid-size SUV segment with minimal financial investments. In the USA, such cars were sold annually in the amount of up to 100,000 units, because for many years the Suzuki XL-7 remained the most affordable SUV with a three-row seven-seat cabin.
In 2003, the model underwent a slight restyling, during which the car received a new 5-speed automatic, but in 2005 the Japanese company announced the start of production of the next generation of the popular SUV, now with an integrated frame and independent rear suspension, which remained on the conveyor until 2014
We have already talked about what he is loved and hated for. Now let’s look at how things are in the case of his immediate predecessor.
In principle, most reviews of the exterior of the Suzuki Grand Vitara (or SGV, as they prefer to call the model on forums for short) do not say anything – neither good nor bad. So to say, out bene, out nihil … Indeed, there seems to be nothing to admire, but there is no reason either to shout “fu, what a misery” and “who invented this deformity”. A car is like a car … Does anyone think that Grand Vitara is too “herbivorous”, “pacifistic” and not brutal enough for an SUV, with a good-naturedly stupid expression of “face”, without any hint of aggression or belligerence, and someone is not enough elegance characteristic of a predominantly urban car.
At the same time, it is felt that the designers used the five-door version as the fulcrum, which looks the most harmonious. Three-door looks disproportionately Kurguz, and the extended version of the XL-7, on the contrary, is too stretched – as if taking the usual Grand Vitara for the front and rear wheels, and pulled it in length, leaving the width and height of the body the same.
It turned out the car, which looks like a big station wagon in profile, looks like a narrow and tall box in the front, and in a half-turn – somewhat disproportionately. Someone from the current or former owners of SGV can be indignant: “Yes, you are complete, absolutely normal car in any variant of the length of the wheelbase …”. Maybe. But he also admits that the second generation of off-road vehicles of this family is far from the originality and charisma of the first Escudo / Vitara / Sidekick.
Yes, Grand Vitara was bought and bought not because “they saw and fell in love”. Most often, reasons for buying are absolutely rational arguments.