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1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara Review
Better off the road than on it.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara, which previously sold as the Suzuki Sidekick, is an off-road vehicle that debuted in 1988. The car launched as a follow-up to the Samurai and falls in above this vehicle in the North American market.
The Grand Vitara provides a larger version of the Suzuki Vitara, and its first generation begins with the second generation of the Vitara itself. This model year marks the first year of production for this large off-road vehicle.
Engines: 2.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Suzuki Grand Vitara JS, Suzuki Grand Vitara JLX
The 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara makes its debut this year as a completely new design from the Japanese automaker. It comes with a single standard V-6 engine under the hood.
The 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara uses flush-surface design techniques to reduce the variance between body panels and windows to negligible amounts. This, in turn, reduces the wind noise and gives the vehicle a dramatic look as well.
The exterior design of the Grand Vitara improves further with the chrome grille, two-tone paint scheme, and body-side cladding. The Grand Vitara features a completely new chassis with a steel ladder box frame.
The interior of the 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara has its flaws. The front seats lack thigh support and enough legroom for tall occupants. The rear bench for both body types feels hard and uncomfortable because of the short cushion. Legroom causes a problem for rear passengers as well.
The step-in height of the 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara seems reasonable, but entry and exit for the rear bench remains problematic because of the narrow door bottoms in the three-door wagon. On a positive note, the 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara offers a well-laid-out dashboard with all the instruments and controls placed and labeled properly.
Storage space inside the 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara seems just about adequate, but the cargo space in the vehicle remains modest at best, even with the rear seatback folded down. Moreover, the one-piece cargo door opens to the right and blocks loading from the curb. Visibility also looks poor from the rear but remains good in other directions.
Performance & Handling
The 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara contains a 2.5-liter V-6 engine that delivers 155 horsepower and 160 lb-ft of torque. The engine pairs with a standard five-speed manual gearbox, but a four-speed automatic transmission remains available as an option.
When compared to the four-cylinder engines inside the Vitara, the V-6 engine in the Grand Vitara is quicker and quieter. However, acceleration remains strictly average, and the vehicle goes from a standstill to 60 mph in around 11.5 seconds, which doesn’t impress anyone. The manual gearshifts are vague, and the four-wheel-drive system proves less convenient than a permanent all-wheel-drive system.
The ride quality of the 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara feels a bit choppy, except on smooth roads. The directional stability of the vehicle gets easily compromised by heavy crosswinds, and the steering feels numb as well. Sharp turns induce heavy body lean, and grip only feels moderate.
Despite its poor performance, the 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara delivers off the road. The engine offers lots of torque at low speeds, giving the Grand Vitara abundant power for serious off-roading.
The NHTSA and IIHS have not performed safety tests on the 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara.
EPA Fuel Economy
Suzuki Grand Vitara automatic: 19/21 mpg city/highway
- Good off-road capabilities
- Powerful engine
You Won't Like
- Poor on-road performance
- Subpar interior space
Better off the road than on it.
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