The 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara classifies as a small crossover SUV that has a bit of a secret weapon when pitted against the competition; it performs well in both on-road and off-road situations with almost equal aplomb. The Vitara has this ability due to its carlike unibody frame matched with a ladder framework that improves the flexibility of the vehicle when battling off-road trenches. The standard rear drive also adds to the Grand Vitara’s appeal, while those who want low-end four-wheel drive can get that too.
Although the V-6 engine doesn’t feel as refined or powerful as some of the competition, the 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara still offers a lot to the car buyer looking for a reasonably priced, small crossover SUV.
Body Styles: small crossover SUV
Engines: 2.7-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Suzuki Grand Vitara, Suzuki Grand Vitara XSport, Suzuki Grand Vitara Luxury
The 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara doesn’t receive much in the way of new accoutrements. Some improvements include better sound deadening in the cabin, redesigned climate controls, and a remote fuel door release mechanism. The XSport and Luxury receive a standard sunroof.
The 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara has an interesting hood design that comes inward towards a rounded point at the front of the vehicle, giving the front a bit of an aggressive look. The unibody frame matched with the ladder frame gives the Grand Vitara a bit more flexibility than the average SUV. The XSport adds a sunroof, and a SmartPass Keyless Start system.
The interior of the 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara highlights one of its best features. The redesign in 2006 gave the Grand Vitara a five-passenger capacity and plenty of room. Occupants enjoy plenty of soft material throughout, and the gauges have an ergonomic design that makes them clear and easy to use. Plenty of simulated aluminium trim adds some class to the cabin, but keeps the cost down. Unfortunately, it lacks storage compartments. Storage space for luggage with the seats up measures 24.4 cubic feet, which remains less than the average, but owners get a full 68.9 cubic feet with the seats down.
Standard features on the base include air-conditioning, automatic climate control, cruise control, remote keyless entry, full power accessories, and an MP3/CD stereo player with a six-disc capacity. The audio system pairs with steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The Luxury adds heated leather front seats as well as silver and wood trim throughout the cabin.
Performance & Handling
All Suzuki Grand Vitara comes with a 2.7-liter V-6 that produces 185 horsepower with 184 lb-ft of torque—a lot less than what some of the competition offer. The base comes with a standard five-speed manual transmission, with an optional five-speed automatic. The automatic comes standard on the XSport and Luxury.
The 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara uses standard rear drive with optional full-time four-wheel drive. The four-wheel-drive version has a low torque capacity and a neutral setting for towing.
The ladder framework unibody makes the Grand Vitara extremely flexible on and offroad. Driving in the city feels relaxed and smooth. In fact, the Grand Vitara has a better ride quality than most other SUVs on the market. The Grand Vitara has an extra 7.9 inches of clearance from the ground, allowing it to handle rocky terrain as well. The optional four-wheel drive works great offroad and compares to most other SUVs. Unfortunately, the suspension does not fully absorb some of the bumps found on trails, causing some jarring.
The 2008 Grand Vitara includes a lot of safety features, especially for such as cheap vehicle. Safety features include stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, full-length side-curtain airbags, and front-seat side-impact airbags. The NHTSA gives the 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara four out of five stars for driver and passenger protection in frontal-offset impacts and a perfect five-star rating for side impacts. The IIHS gives the 2008 Grand Vitara a score of “Good""–its best–for frontal-offset impacts, but a score of “Poor"" for rear-end collisions and head protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
Suzuki Grand Vitara: 17/22 mpg city/highway
Suzuki Grand Vitara XSport: 17/22 mpg city/highway
Suzuki Grand Vitara Luxury: 17/22 mpg city/highway
- Great cabin with lots of standard features
- Great performance
- Extensive features
- Seven-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty
You Won't Like
- Slow V-6 acceleration
- Poor fuel economy
With minimal faults, a great small crossover SUV for drivers on a budget.
If You Like This Vehicle
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- Nissan Rogue
- Saturn VUE
- Toyota RAV4