Suzuki Grand Vitara

 The compact crossover SUV market is a crowded field. For smaller automakers, it’s easy for their offerings to get lost in the morass of choices, especially when the segment’s front-runners seem so firmly entrenched. The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara has some potential to squeeze its way into the limelight, but its relative obscurity seems to be keeping it off centre stage.
And that’s really too bad, since the Grand Vitara represents rather good value. It’s priced below comparably equipped Honda CR-Vs and Toyota RAV4s, yet you also get a long list of standard features and a long 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Suzuki is also unusual in that it’s available with dual-range four-wheel drive for a bit of added off-road capability.
After a midcycle refresh last year, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara remains mostly unchanged. To Suzuki’s credit, the 2010 revisions remedy some of the Grand Vitara’s shortcomings we pointed out in a recent test-drive. Navigation is now standard for all models, while Bluetooth and an auxiliary audio jack are available on most trim levels. These items were either previously unavailable or were dealer-installed options.
A recent test of a four-cylinder, rear-drive Grand Vitara revealed fairly leisurely acceleration numbers. This particular Suzuki required 10.2 seconds to reach 60 mph from a stop — slightly slower than an AWD Honda CR-V. Fuel economy estimates for the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara are average for the segment.
Safety
The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara’s standard safety features include stability control, traction control, antilock disc brakes, full-length side curtain airbags and front-seat side impact airbags. In US government crash tests, Suzuki’s SUV earned four stars (out of five) in frontal-impact protection for both driver and passenger. Side-impact tests resulted in a perfect five-star rating for both front and rear occupants.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Grand Vitara its highest rating of “Good” in the frontal-offset test and the second-highest rating of “Acceptable” in the side test.
Interior Design and Special Features
Though it won’t win any awards for design, the five-passenger Grand Vitara has a nice-looking interior, with flowing lines and gauges set in simulated aluminium trim. The lighted red displays on the centre stack are well-placed and easy to read, but they lack the kind of visual panache found in other SUVs. The standard Garmin navigation is a welcome addition this year, and its removable design should make it appealing for adventure seekers. It is, however, more difficult to operate (and reach) than conventional built-in systems.
The sleek and attractive cabin is roomy for a compact SUV, but the Grand Vitara is lacking in interior storage compartments. So while passengers will be relatively comfy, they won’t have many places to stash their belongings. A highly competitive 69 cubic feet of total cargo space is available with the 60/40-split rear seats folded down.
Driving Impressions
Around town, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara is a decent choice for shuttling kids and tackling the daily commute. Given the Grand Vitara’s ability to pull double duty as a city commuter yet navigate off-road terrain as a compact SUV, there are some concessions to be made.

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