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You are in the Suzuki Grand Vitara/Vitara
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Suzuki Grand Vitara, SUV
#877 of 1050 Aus beats us to 'em
Aug 29, 2008 (7:05 pm)
Our mates down under landed the first good test drive(s) on a multi day Suzuki pulls out all the stops journalists outing. Ayers Rock, camels, and more. Check out caradvice.com.au and their Aug 28th post found under: 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara First Steer.  indicating their test date of these new '09's.
Great photos, good look at the nicely re designed new instrument cluster, facts about NVH improvements, and much more. One quote: "The new 3.2L is a big improvement over the old 2.7". Winter release down under is scheduled for Sept. Obviously/hopefully same for us here in The Great White North.
Happy Labor Day weekend.
Sep 06, 2008 (3:16 pm)
Check out the Suzuki Australia website: suzuki.com.au where all cats have now been let out of the bag. Download their '09 GV brochure for a look at
"Ever Green Pearl", (it is a lighter shade than Grove Green metallic was), and "Twilight Purple Pearl". Yes, it's truly purple, but should be nice in person. Slight extra charge [down under] for both colors.
From other sources, the new 3.2 Liter motor is 9% more fuel efficient than the outgoing 2.7. Thicker glass and door seal changes, and perhaps some insulation improvements?, achieve a noise level reduction of 2db in the cabin. Not sure if that's for all of them, or just the premium models. However, all of them get four wheel disc brakes.
The variable valve timing four has a vibration damping balance shaft, and a variable port fuel induction system, reported to result in a smoother idle and improved all round performance vs. all previous Zuke fours. Sounds good. Fuel consumption for the 4 is 8.8L per 100km combined as previously mentioned here. On paper it does look like we may finally have our own reasonable facsimile version of Honda's CRV motor. Different specs of course, but close enough for our purposes, it seems. Finally a four in the lineup again. But differing GREATLY from the dull, bog slow, inflatable toy look base '99 to '03 Vitara, (in '04 they gave it a 2.5 six, it's last year), INSTEAD we will have a 4cyl model which is every bit as modern for it's own time, stem to stern, as was the 4 door Sidekick when it was intro-ed way back in 1991. Rusty, (O' faithful Sidekick), you may be off to the wrecking yard. Suzuki listened after all.
Sep 07, 2008 (11:58 pm)
Though neither Suzuki USA or Canada have anything about them online yet, our site autotrader.ca under their new car section, DOES. MANY pictures, specs, etc. They show some new colors, but it seems incomplete as I saw a sort of Metallic Navy blue '09 four cylinder JLX on the lot today, and they didn't show that color on the site. Supposed to get a plain non metallic white though, and a second red, but they didn't show either the green or purple. We'll see.
The base model four cylinder, (no low range), with manual transmission, has a msrp of $25,995. Cdn. Mileage figures differ a bit from whats been posted elsewhere to date, indicating: city 11.2L /100kms, highway 8.1L /100kms for the base model. The "least expensive" four cylinder [listed] with the low range gear set has a msrp of $27,995. Cdn. with an automatic transmission. No five speed manual JX is shown, but maybe one is on the way. Specs show "underbody protection for the engine". Couldn't tell if the instrument cluster does differ from an '08. There's more on all of the models at this site.
Again, with one on the lot here now, Suzuki should have the accurate details out soon. Will look forward to seeing a test drive evaluation of the four cylinder automatic transmission JX or JLX [here?] by someone who currently owns a 2.7 with auto box. There ought to be one in your hood now too?
#880 of 1050 Couldn't resist..
Sep 09, 2008 (10:02 am)
So the wife and I TD'd the loaded to the gills, (but for leather), 4cyl JLX automatic.
My speculation about it being a worthy, yes, Sidekick replacement, (attractive, nimble, economical, fun to drive), while the 99 to 03 Vitara was NOT, was confirmed. To wit: the lesser weight of the four under the hood of a GV, vs. that of a six, gives the all new VITARA, (that's what I'd choose to call it), very nimble handling, actually making it "tossable" in the corners. I'm smiling here while thinking at last, at last! Sure, of course it has the same Suzuki feel to the suspension as the '08 GV, a direct lineage from that of the Sidekick/Vitara for that matter. But again as we agree, it's that suspension which allows us to do what we do in the dirt.
I'll leave it to auto box fans to delve more deeply into the performance of the four speed transmission, though to me it's operation represents a definite improvement to the breed. Most notable besides the handling improvements thanks to the lighter engine, was [yes] the quietness of the cabin. Tire noise seems the most noticeable factor there now. Sure, you can hear it when the trannie kicks down a gear when ascending a long hill on the freeway, but nothing like before in prior models. Yes, with two aboard and no load, it does accelerate nicely up those hills too. Making it's peak hp at a higher revs, it does rev up on kick down, but not at all as drastically as prior Zuke slush boxes, (at least it seems so to me).
So we're waiting to TD the base JA with the five speed. Figure we'd have to give up the more heroic off road outings sans the crawling gears, but it should provide the sportiest ride in the entire lineup, while still having all the basic toughness necessary to handle most backwoods assignments. A tougher Subaru Forrester fighter, while the CRV is too SOFT roader to be used for comparison. Given the goodness of this configuration, surely expect the new six to be a real road rocket. Super there if you want/need that in an urban environment. But drive the new four and vicariously you will understand what some of us have been SO missing from the Zuke lineup way back since the last four cylinder Sidekick was bolted together in '98. Nice job Suzuki! Feels good not to have to bitch here anymore with actual "ALL NEW" Grand Vitara(s) finally being offered for sale by Suzuki. Only "ointment fly" being there is no low range equipped five speed manual JX four cylinder model in the lineup yet.
Oh ya, the new four wheel discs "feel" great. For six fans, one other tidbit I've gleaned is that the timing chain control mechanism has been redesigned. Back to colors, I no longer pretend to know what's what there, nor do dealers, with no brochures available yet. Will be interesting to see where Suzuki offically debuts 'em here in North America. Hope they don't obsess solely on the new six, and they TD the four also.
After too many posts I'll shut up and look forward to your input....
Sep 10, 2008 (10:09 pm)
norwoodsman, I'm always happy to read your thoughts on the currrent generation Vitara. I'm glad to hear they're getting close to what you have had in mind for the last three years. I think they should put out one model that's clearly for off-road users (skid plates, more clearance, 5-spd, diesel etc) and one for the Rav4 crowd (predominantly 2wd, soft suspension, even more sound insulation). They could keep the total number of models the same.
Sep 11, 2008 (3:13 pm)
Thanks. Maybe it has something to do with why there's no beefed up CRV: apples and oranges? For instance I also noted for '09 Suzuki has significantly strengthened the GV's hybridized unibody/frame. So justifiably proud of being the opposite of what a CRV is in that department, why reverse engineer a soft(er) road version around this innovative chassis, in effect rendering those unique GV virtues redundant? Still one with a somewhat more car like feel to the suspension might broaden the GV's appeal, not that [we] really care about that.
On the other hand who says we can't have it all? Seems now Suzuki has most ALL things sufficiently right for '09, (pending a future read on '09 GV reliability stats of course), that their next major engineering target could reasonably be to engineer a more unobtrusive feel to the articulations of the GV's suspension, while still retaining it's full suitability for off road use? Absent that, an all new Nissan Rogue like, glorified station wagon "crossover" with a car chassis/suspension, and this fine new four cylinder under the hood, might be a more appropriate option to fill that sort of a market niche?
Have to dust off my old saw and say I still don't understand why a Mate can go walkabout to the store in Aus today, and drive home in a brand new '09 with
five speed manual and the low range gear set AS STANDARD EQUIPMENT, while here in the Great White North, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon finds himself left out in the cold with only Nanook the wonder dog for comfort, sans having same even available here [yet]. What's this ongoing delayed gratification stuff, eh Suzuki?! I don't really want to give up a low range, much as I can rationalize about doing it sometimes. Will we have to wait almost a couple of years [again] to have one available here?
Sep 11, 2008 (7:54 pm)
That's a five speed manual transmission NOT being available with the low range gear set [again] on any '09 model, with the pending intro of the new lineup, (according to what I've seen in print so far). The 4 cylinder JLX auto we TD'd was opulently swell, (ya, wish it was in the driveway now, but at 30 big ones with PDI, pre tax...), and it did have the low range gears. Same config [w/auto] is available one step down in the JX, but of course it adds roughly a grand to the cost of one for someone preferring a manual. Guess we're at the end of the distribution pipeline for some reason, and once again we'll just have to wait to see one here eventually. Seem to recall they may be going to build a factory in the US where they will assemble GV's. Was it Florida? Then maybe this North American supply issue, (if that's what it is?), will become a thing of the past? Incidentally, take a look at Steve's post # 876. That appears to be the new color of the one we TD'd.
Sep 12, 2008 (12:20 am)
Must HASTEN to add, I can't seem to re-unearth that apparent "rumor" about a future US Suzuki plant being built in Florida. (Anyone?) Saw there's a big new one in Japan, and one slated for St. Petersburg RUSSIA.
#885 of 1050 Re: No new plant? [norwoodsmn]
Sep 12, 2008 (5:15 am)
Glad you liked the new one, my dealer had 2 2009. I tried the 4L 2.4L with 4 speed auto tranny yesterday. Yes the engine feels more refined and quieter. For my part I didn't felt that it was more nimble compare to my V6 2.7L 2006, (mine is 1620kg, the new one is 1600kg).
I agree it's a shame that the manual 5 speed doesn't come with 4 mode 4x4 (I guess they will do the same as when it was introduced in 2006, they will wait 1 year).
The 4 disk breaks are good, hope the rear ones won't cost too much to maintain.
This 4 cylinder should be more popular than the old 2.7L V6 with fuel economy near 2L/100km less and it's welcome. Yes Suzuki you made it.
Yet it won't make me trade my 2.7L for this one, even if they rate the towing capacity (1360kg) the same for both I still believe that I need those 20 to 30 pound foot of torque for my towing needs.
You mention something about the stiffness of the frame, did they change something ?
#886 of 1050 Re: No new plant? [norwoodsmn]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Sep 12, 2008 (6:16 am)
Maybe the rumor you saw was the old one about the Suzuki pickup that Nissan was supposed to start building for Suzuki in Tennessee starting this year. I guess that rumor didn't have any traction either.