Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Launched here '05, Suzuki’s Compact SUV is a non-offensive, relatively handsome (in a conservative way) choice that has changed little in its looks since launch... The economical 1.9L Turbo Diesel Grand Vitara variant has been in Australia since February 2008 (but is still a manual-only proposition). Mid life facelift in late 2008 see's a slightly more dynamic looking front bumper.
Not so good Most Compact SUV’s forgo real off-road ability for a reason – most of today's buyers simply don't head off-road with their SUV’s. The Grand Vitara (with its standard dual-range 4x4 gearbox) isn’t the lightest of competitors - nor does it offer the most car-like driving experience.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The commanding, high-riding seat position provides very good frontal visibility, The front seats are comfortable and offer sufficient support & the second seat offers an adjustable back rest (the recline feature is perfect for when the kids feel like a snooze) PLUS there's plenty of useful storage compartments allocated around the cabin and in the boot.
Not so good Steering wheel has tilt (height) adjustment but not reach; second row seat doesn’t fold flat to create a truly useable van-like rear cargo space. The rear (side opening) door with spare wheel attached can require some muscle to shut especially if parked on an angle (that spare wheel position also hinders rear visibility).
Performance

Performance

Good The current Petrol engines are a significant improvement over the pre-facelift Grand Vitara (2.7L V6 replaced by 3.2L Petrol V6 and 4-cylinder 1.6L/2.0L engines replaced by 2.4L Petrol). The 1.9L Turbo Diesel offers superior torque over the 3.2L Petrol V6 (however, it isn’t the most refined engine on offer). Best offroading driver set up: Manual Turbo Diesel.
Not so good The 2.4L engine is forced to make do with a 4-speed auto, whereas the larger V6 3.2L Petrol gets a more appropriate (considering we’re in 2010) 5-speed auto. The Petrol grade's fuel economy is only on par compared to the competition due to its 'not-so-lightweight' weight (the price to pay for the ability to perform off-road?!)
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good If you’re the kind of person who expects your SUV to be able to head off-road then look no further - the Grand Vitara is the King of Compact 'soft-roaders' for when the track turns rugged (thanks to the standard full-time dual-range gear box) The 17-inch alloys on the Grand Vitara soak up most low-speed bumps and road imperfections. The steering is nice & light for ease of use in suburban life.
Not so good More body roll is evident in the Grand Vitara than other dynamic Compact SUV players. Best to not drive it like it’s a sports car (because, of course, it’s not) and then the handling becomes quite acceptable.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Suzuki has priced the Grand Vitara competitively (in other words, every model has generous levels of features compared to the competition). Unlike a growing number of competitors the Grand Vitara comes standard with a full-size spare tyre, not a space saver which diminishes a vehicle's real world touring ability. Suzuki certainly doesn’t skimp with the Grand Vitara’s safety features - standard Electronic Stability Control and front, side & curtain airbags on all grades.
Not so good For a Turbo Diesel we weren’t overly impressed with the fuel economy (most likely because it isn’t the most cutting-edge Turbo Diesel on the market).