Suzuki Grand Vitara

Over a century ago, Japanese entrepreneur Michio Suzuki founded the Suzuki Loom Works intending to capitalize on the Far East’s booming silk market. For the next three decades, Suzuki continued to fine-tune his looming business, eventually exporting a highly successful new type of weaving machine overseas that he invented, but by the onset of World War II, the time had come to diversify his products.

More on the Suzuki Grand Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara Origins

The history of the Suzuki Motor Company took root off of several prototype vehicles in the late 1930s. The first were powered by a then-advanced, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, four-cylinder engine that generated 13 hp. Following the war, the Japanese population needed reliable, affordable transportation. By 1954, Suzuki was producing thousands of motorized bicycles, and a year later, unveiled its first automobile: a front-wheel-drive lightweight Suzuki Suzulight.

Now specializing in compact and 4x4 vehicles, a line of highly popular motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and even motorized wheelchairs, the Suzuki Motor Company is currently Japan’s fourth largest automotive manufacturer behind Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. With an annual output of just over 2.5 million cars in 2010 and revenues topping $30 billion for that same year, Suzuki easily cracked the top 10 of the world’s most prodigious and profitable auto makers.

About the Suzuki Grand Vitara

Beginning in 1989 and originally known as the Sidekick in North America until 1999 when it officially became the Suzuki Vitara, the Suzuki Grand Vitara is merely its larger, four-door counterpart model with a slightly more powerful engine.

In its initial year of 1999, the 2.5-liter V-6 powered Suzuki Grand Vitara was the sole compact SUV then available with a V-6 in the U.S. Generating 155 hp and lacking the four-cylinder component offered by its class competitors, the Suzuki Grand Vitara failed to capture a reputable position among buyers. Other aspects of this first generation Vitara that contributed to its less-than-stellar reputation were its poor ride over rough terrain and its lack of interior space for both cargo and passengers.

In later years, engineers and designers would work towards the Grand Vitara’s overall improvement, upping the V-6’s engine power in 2002 by another 10 hp and simplifying the trim levels a tad to 2WD and 4WD only in 2003.

Known more for its low price and above-average off-road capabilities, the Suzuki Grand Vitara was generally panned for poor fuel economy and slow acceleration rates.

Suzuki Grand Vitara Features

Now in its 13th year, the 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara is a crossover compact SUV with four trim models to choose from: base, premium, an Ultimate Adventure Edition, and Limited. Each trim level comes with a host of features ranging from climate control and keyless entry for the base; heated mirrors and cruise control at the premium level; water-proof seats and signal mirrors for the Ultimate; and a sunroof and seven-speaker sound system for those interested in the Limited.

The base model 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara comes equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission while the other three trims have the optional four-speed manual as a consumer choice. With each trim model getting its under-the-hood power from a 2.4-liter, inline, four-cylinder engine that delivers 166 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, the Grand Vitara is still slow out of the gate, crawling from zero to 60 mph in just over 10 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy rating for this Suzuki line is 19/26 mpg city/highway.

Standard safety features across all trims include full-length side curtain airbags, front seat airbags, anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, and stability control.

Suzuki Grand Vitara Evolution

The North American market saw the introduction of the Suzuki Grand Vitara during the vehicle’s second generation, with a more truck-styled layout of the Vitara that arrived the following year. The engine received a slight bump in power as well, going from its 2.5-liter, 155 hp predecessor to a new 2.7-liter engine that upped the hp by 30 to 185.

For its third generation, the Suzuki Grand Vitara received a front-end face lift and a few new engine choices beginning during the second half of 2008. First off is a boosted 2.4-liter, inline, four-cylinder engine good for 164 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque. A V-6 added to the prestige trim level generated 221 hp and 209 lb-ft of torque. 2009 saw yet another engine improvement, with buyers this time around getting a 3.2-liter V-6 good for an additional 10 hp.

The interior cabin also saw some changes during 2009, becoming slightly narrower in design with short, flat seating. The Limited four wheel-drive models also got a few extra perks in the form of two high-tech electronic functions that helped maintain the Grand Vitara’s stability: Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control.

Select a Suzuki Grand Vitara Year

2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara is a backbencher among all the sport utility vehicles (SUVs) available in the market.

2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara was refreshed in 2009 with a minor cosmetic revamp and new engines, along with standard Garmin navigation. The Luxury trim is now renamed Limited for 2010.

2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

Redesigns have made the 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara very competitive within a growing crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) marketplace.

2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

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.

2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara is a popular compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) that has many features and attributes.

2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The Suzuki Grand Vitara debuted in 1999 as a four-door SUV.

2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

At first glance the 2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara simply looks like a larger version of the Suzuki Vitara.

2003 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2003 Suzuki Grand Vitara is an aging compact SUV that's increasingly outdistanced by the competition.

2002 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2001 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2001 Suzuki Grand Vitara classifies as a compact SUV that sells as either a two-door convertible or a larger four-door wagon.

2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara, which previously sold as the Suzuki Sidekick, is an off-road vehicle that debuted in 1988.