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2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara Review
A good compact crossover SUV with minor complaints.
Reviewed by Automotive on
Redesigns have made the 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara very competitive within a growing crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) marketplace. Offering a nice cabin, respectable handling, real off-road capabilities, a generous feature list, class-leading warranty, and a long overdue engine improvement, this Suzuki is a viable compact crossover SUV option. There aren’t a lot of minuses here; fuel economy is the only substantial complaint. Given all of this, the 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara is a worthwhile entry into a competitive segment.
Engines: 2.4-liter inline-4, 3.2-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Grand Vitara, Grand Vitara Premium, Grand Vitara XSport, Grand Vitara Luxury
The 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara offers new engine options, including an available four-cylinder engine or an upgraded V-6 engine. Changes that affect all models include improved weight distribution, more rigid construction, redesigned interior controls, and a front end redesign. Newly available options include a hill hold feature and hill descent control.
For 2009, the Grand Vitara is offered in four trim levels: Base, Premium, XSport and Luxury. The V-6 is only offered for XSport and Luxury trims, while the others are equipped with a four-cylinder engine. Base models offer 16-inch steel wheels and automatic headlights, while Premium trims add a hard-shelled spare wheel cover, privacy glass, and a cargo cover. Premium four-wheel-drive models also get heated side view mirrors.
The XSport trim upgrades to 16-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, roof rails, and foglamps, but they do not include the hard spare-wheel cover. The Luxury model has 17-inch alloy wheels. The V-6-powered models are almost identical to their four-cylinder counterparts with corresponding trims.
The 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara has one of the better interiors for this segment. Surprisingly roomy with quality materials and an intelligent design, the cabin is sure to please. Interior features start off with the Base trim offering automatic climate control, cruise control, remote keyless entry, fully-powered accessories, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, and a four-speaker stereo with a single CD/MP3 player. The XSport adds keyless ignition and entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an in-dash six-CD changer. The Luxury trim includes leather upholstery, heated front seats, silver and wood print interior trim, and additional speakers for the audio system.
Performance & Handling
The rear drive 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara is available in two engine options. A 2.4-liter inline-4 that produces 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque is available for the Base and Premium trims and can be mated to a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is standard on XSport and Luxury models. The new and improved 3.2-liter V-6 cranks out 230 hp and 213 lb-ft of torque and comes standard with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Four-wheel drive is an option on all trims except for the Base model. The XSport and Luxury trims get a four-mode four-wheel drive while the Premium trim uses a single-mode system. XSport and Luxury models are offered with an optional limited slip differential. With the right equipment, the Grand Vitara can tow up to 3000 pounds. The towing capacity is quite competitive for this segment.
The 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara has a design that helps it strike an odd balance. It is somewhat comfortable and handles decently on pavement, but still offers real off-road capability. As a result, it isn’t a class leader in either arena but allows drivers to use it comfortably and confidently on or off the pavement.
A 17.4-gallon tank allows the 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara to travel 330 city miles and 452 highway miles when full of gas. It should be noted that options like automatic transmissions, four-wheel drive, or switching to the more powerful V-6 will shorten these distances.
The 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara doesn’t get top marks in any of the government crash tests, but it is above average and quite acceptable in the safety department. Having said that, it should be known that the 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara's standard safety features list is impressive for an entry-level crossover SUV. These features include traction control, stability control, anti-lock disc brakes, full-length side curtain airbags and front-seat side impact airbags. Versions with the V-6 engine and four-wheel drive are offered with optional hill descent control and a hill hold feature.
EPA Fuel Economy
Grand Vitara XSport, Luxury: 19/25 mpg city/highway
- Standard features
- Maneuverability on pavement
- Off-road capabilities
You Won't Like
- Rough suspension
- Fuel economy
- Highway noise
- Lack of interior storage
A good compact crossover SUV with minor complaints.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda CR-V
- Toyota RAV4
- Nissan Rogue
- Saturn Vue
- Subaru Forester
See the New 2013 Grand Vitara.
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