spacer.png, 0 kB

Our Newsletter







spacer.png, 0 kB
spacer.png, 0 kB
Welcome arrow Articles arrow Car Reviews arrow Suzuki Grand Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara PDF Print E-mail

Japanese minnow Suzuki has grand ambitions for the future: the company intends to enter the World Rally Championship with a modified version of its new SX4 sedan.  Final decisions have yet to be taken by the factory, because of some uncertainty over the WRC regulations for 2007, but the announcement that it would step up from the Junior WRC, which Suzuki has dominated in recent years, was made recently at the Geneva Motor Show.

In addition, Suzuki goes into the 2006 World Superbike Championship as defending champions, with Aussie title holder Troy Corser.

Meanwhile Suzuki has gone firmly upmarket with its latest Grand Vitara compact SUV.  The Grand Vitara is now powered by a potent 2.7 liter V6, while safety features include six standard airbags and an electronic stability program (ESP) which incorporates traction control.  So good is the little off-roader it was nominated ‘Best Kept Secret of 2006’ by US-based Autobytel, the on-line dealer.

Suzuki Grand Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara
Suzuki was established in Japan in 1909 as Suzuki Loom Works, but made its first motorized bicycle as recently as 1952.  In 1955 Suzuki produced its first micro-car, the innovative Suzulight 360 cc.  The Vitara and Grand Vitara arrived in 1999

The 2006 Grand Vitara is all new, offering sleeker styling and a larger, wider body, giving greater interior space, with extra headroom and increased leg room, front and rear.  There is also an increase in luggage space thanks to rear seat backs that fold in a 60:40 split.

There are now two four-wheel drive options: a full-time single-mode all-wheel drive system, or a four-mode system which offers greater flexibility.  All Vitaras are equiped with ESP and electronic brakeforce distribution, or EBD.  The ESP uses a variety of electronic sensors to measure speed, steering wheel angle and the yaw of the vehicle.  Under certain conditions, such as when unintentional oversteer or understeer is detected, the system can apply individual brakes and reduce engine torque to allow the driver to maintain control.

To put this in simple terms, if the driver wishes to turn but the Vitara tries to take a wider line, that is understeer and the system will brake the inner rear wheel; conversely if the system detects oversteer – that is the rear trying to overtake the front, it will add braking force to the outer wheels and reduce torque. Despite its apparently user-friendly image, the Grand Vitara can still be considered a serious off-roader.  Its high ground clearance and four-wheel drive systems, along with the ESP, allow it to cover rough terrain as steadily as a more established 4x4.

The 2.7 liter V6 engine produces a healthy 185 bhp (136 kW) and 250 Nm of torque, both an immediate improvement on the previous model.  A variable induction system improves throttle response and increases overall efficiency, while the lump also sits on hydraulic engine mounts to reduce vibration and noise.  Standard is a five-speed manual transmission, although a five-speed automatic is an option.  Unusually in this class of vehicle, the Grand Vitara still relies on rear drum brakes instead of the now almost universally accepted all-round discs.  Presumably the Suzuki rally car will have a better braking system.

With the 2006 Grand Vitara, Suzuki is clearly serious about establishing itself as a major automaker and, although its name is currently synonymous with motorcycle racing, in the MotoGP as well as World Superbikes – Suzuki were world champions in MotoGP in 2000 with Kenny Roberts Jr. -  when the SX4 world rally car gets going next year and becomes fully competitive in 2008, it will present a united front on the competition side.  Do not rule out the Japanese manufacturer; Suzuki wants to be known and recognised worldwide.

-JH 

 
spacer.png, 0 kB
spacer.png, 0 kB
© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
spacer.png, 0 kB