Suzuki XL-7 Origins
Within only a few years, the Suzuki engineers had not only designed and built a revolutionary single horsepower bicycle, but had rolled out the first of a long line of Japan’s now famous light-weight cars. Known as the Suzulight, this 1955 landmark vehicle would get the ball rolling again for Suzuki, and keep it rolling into the next century.
By the mid-1980s, Suzuki had set up its American plant in California and immediately began churning out automobiles with the Cultus and Samuri as its first attempts. In later years, other cars would follow, most notably the Swift, Sidekick, Vitara, and Grand Vitara.
The Grand Vitara would be a first for Suzuki thanks to its V-6 engine, prompting a larger wheel-base spin-off called the Grand Vitara XL-7 or simply the Suzuki XL-7. It was saddled with a bigger, 2.7-liter V-6 and an extra third-row seat. This would be Suzuki’s heaviest and longest car yet.About the Suzuki XL-7
The first generation Suzuki XL-7 was essentially a Grand Vitara that was extended by approximately 12 inches along its wheelbase and just under 20 inches for its overall length. Looking to broaden its class appeal by offering consumers more passenger space without having to deal with a cumbersome full-sized sport utility vehicle and all that entails, Suzuki unleashed the XL-7 in 2001.
For the time, adding in an extra third row seat on an SUV priced right around $20,000 was virtually unheard of. Not surprisingly, other car manufacturers were quick to follow Suzuki’s innovative lead, but back in 2001, the XL-7’s third row left most riders aching for more legroom. Adding to this its aging ladder box frame design, which topped the Suzuki XL-7 out at an even curb-weight of 5000 pounds, consumers found an SUV with less than enviable fuel economy and a third row that was practically useless.
Despite the fact that the Suzuki designers and engineers would go back and refine the XL-7 for a successive generation that kicked off in 2007, the model was discontinued in 2009 due to poor sales and little demand.Suzuki XL-7 Features
For its final year of production, the midsize crossover sport utility Suzuki XL7 features an impressive 3.6-liter, V-6 engine that generated 252 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. With an average EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 17/24 mpg city/highway, the 2009 all-wheel drive six-speed automatic transmission Suzuki XL7 can go from zero to 60 mph in just over eight seconds.
Available in three trim levels: Premium, Luxury, and Limited; Suzuki answered the call posed by consumers and made its base trim XL7 more than adequately stacked with regard to features. Cruise control, climate control, a six-speaker stereo system with CD/MP3 capability, and trip computer were all standard at the Premium level. One level up, the Luxury trim offers heated leather seats, a sunroof, and a dashboard mounted six-CD changer. For the Limited line, buyers get a tad more: satellite radio, remote engine start, a rear parking camera, and even a back seat DVD entertainment system.
With rear seats that are removable, the 2009 Suzuki XL7 offers up a huge amount of cargo space, 95 cubic feet’s worth. Standard across all three trims, the XL7 comes with the welcomed safety features: traction and stability control, full length side curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes.Suzuki XL-7 Evolution
Just having access to a brand new SUV for around $20,000 was enough to make any prospective consumer stand up and take notice. But with a cramped third-row passenger seat that was more for show and less for functionality, an overall claustrophobic cabin, and some less-than-admirable interior features, the 2001 Suzuki XL-7 got off to a shaky start.
These first generational XL-7s were all saddled with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic 2.7-liter, V-6 engine that was good for 170 hp and 157 lb-ft of torque. For the remaining years of this generation, Suzuki attempted several minor improvements with 2002 models getting a rear child seat latch, while 4WD vehicles received anti-lock brakes, heated door mirrors, leather steering wheel, a wood grain dashboard trim, and a welcomed hp boost up to 183.
It looked as if things were starting to go in a better direction by 2007 with the release of the Suzuki XL7’s second generation. With a Suzuki-built 3.6-liter, V-6 engine and more standard features spread out across three trim levels, the XL7 was beginning to come into its own. Unfortunately, any vehicle improvements seemed a bit late. By 2009, the Suzuki XL7 was yanked from the assembly line.