The 2009 Suzuki XL7 seems to have created a niche instead of trying to bulldoze its way into the highly-competitive full-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. As a result, the XL7 is an economical SUV that bests most of the competition when it comes to price, gas mileage, and overall bang for the buck.
Body Styles: Full-size SUV
Engines: 3.6-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed automatic
Models: XL7 Premium, XL7 Luxury, XL7 Limited
For the 2009 model year, the Suzuki XL7 is no longer offered in a base trim, and the third-row seat is now standard for all models. Additionally, a six-speed automatic transmission is added to boost fuel efficiency and performance.
The 2009 Suzuki XL7 is available in three trim levels: Premium, Luxury, and Limited. The Premium offers standard features, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, and an auto-leveling rear suspension. The Luxury trim doesn’t add any exterior features.
The Limited trim upgrades to 17-inch chrome wheels, foglamps, remote engine start, and a rear parking camera that's displayed in the rearview mirror.
The exterior receives some design effort that's stylish and easy on the eyes. Given the vehicle’s economy theme, the amount of effort and resulting good looks are a pleasant surprise.
As for the interior, the Premium starts off with a third row seat, fully-powered accessories, auto on/off headlamps, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, automatic climate control with rear controls, a trip computer, and a six-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player and auxiliary audio jack. The Luxury trim then adds a power driver seat, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, a sunroof, and an in-dash six-CD changer. The Limited gets buyers a satellite radio, a premium Pioneer sound system, and a touchscreen navigation system. The Limited models also offer a rear-seat DVD entertainment system as optional, but the sunroof is not available in combination with this option.
While the interior is functional, spacious, and full of features no matter which trim, some of the low-quality materials detract from the overall value of the cabin. Still, the 2009 Suzuki XL7 is one of the most economical choices in its class and is quite nice for the price. Other minor quibbles include the steps necessary to access or remove the third row seat, and a curious lack of shoulder room while legroom and headroom are plentiful.
Performance & Handling
The 2009 Suzuki XL7 is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 that produces 252 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque. It is hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. All trim levels have an all-wheel-drive option. One test of a front-wheel-drive model yielded a zero to 60 mph acceleration at a respectable 8.2 seconds.
The 2009 Suzuki XL7 really can’t be described as sporty, which isn’t typically a problem. The power is on par with class leaders, while the ride is soft and well-mannered. Most SUV buyers want a sedan-like ride and handling, so it’s hard to knock a maker for catering to the predominant tastes in a hotly-contested market. This is an economy SUV, so expensive additions that would make it sporty or cause it to handle like anything other than a safe, easy-to-use, and reasonable to ride, would defeat the purpose. This segment almost requires a niche, so Suzuki is smart to stick with the economy angle.
With an 18.6-gallon tank, the 2009 Suzuki XL7 front-wheel-drive can travel 316 city miles and 446 miles after a fill-up, while all-wheel-drive models will have a slightly reduced range.
Aside from one average rating, the 2009 Suzuki XL7 gets top marks in the majority of government crash tests. Standard features include full-length side curtain airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes, and traction control.
EPA Fuel Economy
XL7: 17/24 mpg city/highway
- Standard equipment list
- Warranty coverage
You Won't Like
- Average handling
- Interior materials
- Lack of dynamics
- Lack of shoulder room
Hard to beat in terms of economy.
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