2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara

If you are looking for a good and inexpensive vehicle for commuting purposes, or off-road driving, the 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara has a lot to offer. Found in the compact sports utility vehicle category, this 4-door, 5 passenger SUV comes in base, Limited, Premium, and Ultimate Adventure Edition trims.

The Grand Vitara provides a number of standard features, and standard Garmin navigation, which is rare in this car category. Options include two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: SUV Base Price: $19,649.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.4 gallons (66l) MPG: 19 city / 26 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 177.2 in. (450 cm) Wheel Base: 103.9 in. (263.9 cm)
Height: 66.3 in. (168.4 cm) Width: 71.3 in. (181.1 cm)
Curb Weight: 3468 lbs (1573 kg) Ground Clearance: 7.4 in. (18.8 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 12.5 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Performance
Engine: 2.4L 4-Cylinder DOHC w/ VVT Compression Ratio: 10.0: 1
Horsepower: 166 HP Max RPM: 6000 RPM
Torque: 162 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Available Trims & Engine
Option:Premium RWD AT MSRP: $21,799; MPG: 19 city / 25 hwy
Option:Premium 4WD AT MSRP: $23,249; MPG: 19 city / 23 hwy
Option:Limited FWD MSRP: $23,899; MPG: 19 city / 25 hwy
Option:Limited 4WD MSRP: $25,399; MPG: 19 city / 23 hwy

Engine

The Grand Vitara has a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, direct fuel injection, with variable valve timing engine. The engine is capable of producing 166 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and 162 lbs-ft at 4,000 rpm torque. The steering is rack and pinion, with MacPherson strut front suspension, multi-link suspension in the rear, and ventilated disk brakes.

The Grand Vitara rear-wheel drive is a five-speed manual transmission, the Vitara Premium is rear-wheel drive and automatic transmission. The Limited Edition is a rear-wheel or four-wheel drive with automatic transmission, and the Premium is a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Performance & Handling

The 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine may lack power on the highway, compared to other vehicles in its class. The automatic transmission is dated, but is responsive. The Grand Vitara will get 19 mpg in the city, and 26 mpg on the highway, which is not great fuel economy. Its acceleration is accurate for driving in town, and the steering is weighted nicely.

It has a good balance of maneuverability, power to stop, and great off-road capabilities. Acceleration is accurate for pavement driving, but its off-road athleticism really makes the Grand Vitara shine. The Grand Vitara can handle most everything from steep hill climbs to rocky water crossings.

Exterior

The unibody design, with built-in ladder frame, creates a high structural rigidity. The clam-shell line of the hood, and the muscular fenders for 16 or 18-inch steel or alloy wheels, give the Grand Vitara an athletic look.

The unicolor body offers automatic multi-reflector projector headlights with fog lamps, and heated outside mirrors. Privacy glass is added for personalization as well as a spare tire with cover. The Luxury features add a power tilt-and-slide sunroof. The Grand Vitara has a sleek, yet athletic style.

Interior

The Grand Vitara has a spacious interior, with the base model offering features that are usually reserved for trims with a higher price. A touch screen Garmin navigation, auxiliary input jack, remote keyless entry, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls are all offered as standard features.

Cruise control and Bluetooth are optional features in other trims. While the materials used are not of the highest quality in this SUV, for the price, it is acceptable. There are also 28.4 cubic feet of cargo space while the rear seats are occupied, and 70.8 cubic feet when the seats are folded.

Safety & Reliability

The Grand Vitara comes with electronic stability control and traction control, four-wheel anti-lock brake system and electronic brake-force distribution with brake assist function for safety. Provided for protection are dual front, side-impact, and side curtain airbags. The unibody chassis with the built-in ladder frame, and side-impact door beams are also a reinforcing safety measure.

The front seats use 3-point ELR seatbelts, and the rear door locks are childproof. Daytime running headlights and a tire pressure monitoring system is also provided for safety.

The Grand Vitara offers a 3-year or 36,000 mile warranty with roadside assistance. There is also a 7-year, or 1000,000 mile powertrain warranty, which covers the longest amount of time in its class. The battery is warranted for 2 years, or 24,000 miles, and a 5-year exterior rust warranty covering the car regardless of mileage.

Pros & Cons

The Grand Vitara offers many standard features at a very affordable price. It would make a very comfortable commuter vehicle, with ample cargo space. Its warranty is long, and safety is provided for, along with easy to use controls. The Grand Vitara would be an excellent choice for someone who plans use the vehicle for off-road trips occasionally.

The fuel economy and average highway performance are the two major drawbacks for the Grand Vitara. The 2-wheel drive models just aren't as refined on the pavement, or as powerful as the Toyota RAV4, or the Jeep Liberty.

The cargo area is not as flexible as most rivals, and the body of the Grand Vitara tends to lean when making tight corners. For the price and features, if you want an off-road vehicle, which doubles as a commuter vehicle, the 2012 Grand Vitara is worth a look.

Competition

The Grand Vitara joins the likes of smaller SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 (MSRP $22,650; 22 city / 28 hwy), the Jeep Liberty (MSRP $22,722; 16 city / 22 hwy), and the Ford Escape (MSRP $22,470; 22 city / 31 hwy).

Overall Rating
62 out of 100

What others say:

“The 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara is a bargain of a crossover for someone looking for a feature-packed, off-roadable vehicle that's not too concerned with cargo space.”Car Connection

“Extensive standard features list; lengthy powertrain warranty; large cargo capacity; strong brakes…Underpowered; lack of interior storage compartments; right-hinged cargo door makes street-side loading a hassle; limited long-distance comfort.”Edmunds

“Grand Vitara exhibits some body lean but good grip in fast corners. The steering is nicely weighted and the turning circle is commendably tight. Firm, easy-to-modulate brakes provide good stopping control.”Consumer Guide

“Our tested Grand Vitara, with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder, was noisy and sluggish and yielded just 19 mpg overall, worse than some V6 competitors. The optional V6 has been dropped.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“Suzuki's Grand Vitara is a suitable partner for short commutes or longer journeys that involve off-pavement excursions. The GV's integrated unit body and strong ladder frame create a solid platform…”KBB