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2004 Suzuki Vitara Review
A compact SUV good for off-roading.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2004 Suzuki Vitara is a four-door, mid-class compact SUV available in only one model. It is packed with a six-cylinder engine that is combined with either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. Both rear drive and four-wheel drive are offered. In fact, four-wheel drive is recommended for better versatility and off-roading capability. It is somewhat cramped, so it is not suitable for a large family or transporting large loads. Above average fuel economy and comfortable seating make travelling long distances more inviting. Suzuki equips the Vitara with a solid package of safety features, making it safe for the whole family.
Engine: 2.5-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Suzuki Vitara LX
The 2004 Suzuki Vitara gets a six-cylinder engine for the first time, replacing a four-cylinder engine in previous year’s models. Other changes are mostly in the design. The Vitara now has charcoal-colored bumpers, fender flares with mudguards, and a new spare tire cover. Also, the two-door soft-top model has been taken out of the lineup.
The 2004 Suzuki Vitara measures 163 inches in length, 67.3 inches in width, 65 inches in height, and has a 97.6-inch wheelbase. It also has a 7.4 inch ground clearance. The design is based on a truck chassis. A view from its front shows a narrow black grille, sided by rectangular-shaped headlights. Down below are a charcoal-colored bumper, air intakes, and mud flaps. A side view highlights the short length, a lot of glass for increased visibility, and stainless steel 16-inch wheels. A view from the rear shows its charcoal-colored fender, a spare wheel cover mounted on the tailgate, and a tinted rear window. There are roof rails on top for carrying skis and bikes. Optional features include fog lights, a rear spoiler, aluminum alloy wheels, a tow hitch receiver, and a platform step or running board.
The 2004 Suzuki Vitara is roomy enough to fit five passengers. In the front, there are cloth bucket seats and a storage console with an auxiliary power outlet. Drivers get a seven position tilt steering wheel. Front-seat passengers get a storage bin under their seat. Front doors have pockets for easy storage. In the dash, there is an AM/FM stereo with CD player, air-conditioning with a micron air filtration system, and logically-arranged gauges for easy readability. In the rear, there is a 60/40 split folding seatback with outboard height-adjustable headrests, a rear seat heating duct, and two removable coat hooks. Legroom is limited for rear passengers. It is equipped with power door locks with central locking, power windows with driver-side auto-down and an illuminated switch, and power mirrors.
Performance & Handling
The 2004 Suzuki Vitara carries a 2.5-liter, 24-valve, six-cylinder engine that produces 165 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. It's teamed up with either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. It is not a speed demon, but it has smooth shifting a decent acceleration. Four-wheel drive is available; it is low range and is intended to be used only on slippery road conditions. It's built with an independent Macpherson strut front suspension with stabilizer bar and coil springs teamed with a beam rear suspension with coil springs. Highway driving is smooth, but there is some wind resistance. Steering is somewhat dull, and there is noticeable body lean when taking hard corners. Four-wheel drive models handle off-roading very well.
The 2004 Suzuki Vitara comes standard with reinforced side-impact beams, driver and front passenger frontal airbags, height-adjustable safety belts in the front with pretensioners to restrain passengers in the event of an accident, three-point safety belts at all outboard seating positions, rear center lap belts, height-adjustable head restraints on the front and rear seats, child seat tether anchors, and rear door child safety locks. It also has daytime running lamps and dusk sensing headlamps. The NHTSA gives a five-star crash test rating for rear seat side crashes and a four-star rating for driver and passenger frontal crashes, front and rear side-impact crashes, and rollover resistance. There are no airbags installed in the rear. Optional safety features include anti-lock brakes for better stability and more control and an anti-theft system for increased security.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Off-roading capability
- Easy to operate
- Above average fuel economy
You Won't Like
- Cramped rear seating
- Difficult rear entry/exit
- Rear visibility
- Limited cargo room
A compact SUV good for off-roading.
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