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Suzuki Grand Vitara 2006 through 2008

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Comments

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,614
    Thanks for reading the whole thing. :)

    If you click on the bylines, you'll see that "Letters to the Editors" are encouraged -- they should be sent to editorsIL@edmunds.com.

    And for all you owners, please write your own review.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • budman3budman3 Posts: 187
    I sent my letter to the editor. Just trying to be a "good egg", Steve(just having fun with you) :)
    I think it's funny to see what everyone is comparing the GV to and not realizing what it actually is and not what everyone wants it to be. It's still an awesome "compact" suv and not a BMW or Acura, etc. but still has the possiblities and qualities of that vehicle for a lot less money.
    I actually feel better in our decision to buy the GV because of what category the reviews are always putting us in. I feel special. :)
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,614
    Maybe you'll get published. ;)

    As far as comparing the GV, if nothing else it's hard to beat the 7/100 drivetrain warranty (although the rust warranty lags). A similar drivetrain warranty helped convince me to buy a Plymouth 20 years ago. Interesting blog post on that subject:

    Long warranties no longer seen as an important sales tool . (Straightline)

    Making you read again, lol. :shades:

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • xostnotxostnot Posts: 232
    Certainly no one is comparing the new GV to vehicles costing up to $10,000 less! Other than the Tucson/Sportage, all the comparisons are to more expensive vehicles.
  • norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Posts: 168
    Both the XL-7 replacement and the all new SX4 compact crossover wagon, will debut at a press event at the New York International Auto show April 13th. Check the web. Advanced promo for "the big rig", (whatever it will be called), yes, makes it clear it will no longer have any true off road ability, (no reinforced frame), etc.

    The WAY cute SX4 wagon will go on sale in the third quarter of this year, and the XL-7 replacement in the fourth quarter.

    The question STILL remaining to be answered though is, will Suzuki [ever] be bringing in a base low range equipped UTILITY oriented GV, or, is the ultimate evolutionary destination for ALL Suzuki models in the North American lineup, primarily the driveways of suburbia???

    To extrapolate from the waning sales of the last, oh so long in the tooth generation Vitara models, that there was no longer any market for a basic tough Suzuki SUV model, (a configuration always offered here before), if that's the conclusion they reached, (erroneously), it was one that sure left alot of people stunned in disbelief, at least out here in ye Norwoods. But the new GV could still fill the bill if, yes, AGAIN, they'll just import an version of it in a more Utilitarian form. The diesel manual 5 speed would accomplish that. Then EVERYONE could live happily ever after.

    For now, seems the chief competitor for the GV in it's present form, may be the Subaru Forester? The price is the same, and they considerably beefed up the suspension this year. Looks are another thing, as that's one less than glamorous visage on the front of that duckling. But resale value should be much higher, at least. We live in interesting times...
  • budman3budman3 Posts: 187
    That's a good thing if they want to compare the GV to higher end models. Maybe Suzuki will notice and correct some of the issues we all gripe about.
    I'm surprised that some of the competition closer to the GV is rarely mentioned, Jeep, Ford, Saturn, etc.
  • norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Posts: 168
    Ya Steve, but re: the 7/100 drivetrain warranty, how much of a good thing might it end up REALLY being, if after say one of your own hypothetical, demanding off road rec use there in the Sawtooth Range, or similiarly, xostnot's use of his here in adverse conditions in Wells Gray Park to go canoeing, how much "comfort" will it afford, if your GV ends up in the shop, (maybe repeatedly?), owing to all that complex driveline componentry?

    Translation: will the "7/100" end up being a particularly costly "band aid" for Suzuki? One in fact economically curtailing their moving on to invest in more reliable off road capability for the vehicle?

    The astonishingly fully "live better electrically" Land Rover LR3, (Motor Trends 2005 Sport Utility of the Year), is amazing [in concept]. Everyone out there at least owes it to [yourselves] to pick up a brochure. Clearly the very most amazing about it is that there is no electromechanical arm that extends out of the dash, to brush your teeth.

    But then Suzuki does have it's own equivalent with it's incongruous mileage meter, eh? Point being, on down the road now since the intro of the LR3, yes, if only just for the sheer numbers of additional parts there, woebetide it's owners re: the disproportonate amount of time it is destined to spend in shop, thanks to the now oh so evident reliability issues that all this "hi tec" has caused.

    Contrast "that" with Land Rover's history, on not dissimliar with Suzuki's, in some ways. Then ask [yourselves out there] really, in retrospect, are THESE the good old day? We just don't know yet. For the latest of Suzuki's object of our affections, (the new GV), the similiarities, or otherwise, vs the LR3,remain to be seen.

    We've now seen one post here re: a driveline recall. An anomaly? We don't know yet. Regarding the re engineering of the mileage meter post, Suzuki doesn't need to take that one seriously. Instead, THEY NEED TO HIRE THE CIA TO TRACK DOWN THE GUY, THEN FORCING HIM TO ACCEPT A FAT SALARY THERE IN THEIR R&D DEPARTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The "history" of the new GV is very much yet to be written. Everyone with one out there now, thanks again for keeping all updated with the good, the bad, and hopefully NOT the ugly.
  • xostnotxostnot Posts: 232
    Today I did the first drive where I needed 2H to engine brake down a forstry road, since having the transmission control software replaced under a TSB.

    As described previously, the problem was that the gear selector has no position for 2nd gear, so if you needed to engine brake at the 2nd gear speed, the only way to get it was to put it in 1st, and allow the transmission electonics to keep it in 2nd above the speed where it would downshift to 1st. In the past, it has downshifted to 1st almost immediately, and fairly violently.

    I'm happy to report that the transmission now behaves the way I'd expect it to, staying in 2nd for a long time until the speed drops off, then making a much smoother downshift to 1st with almost no drama.
  • norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Posts: 168
    And that's GREAT to hear. The impetus behind some of my posts remains: Suzuki has now apparently raised the bar to such a level, with it's [realized] aspirations for new market share, that's it's ENTIRELY appropriate for us to venture forth BOLDLY, by comming out of the woodwork to hold their feet to the fire re: "issues" Why?, again to ensure they don't get complacent now, but instead, DO continue to work HARD to get it right. Nothing could please everyone more than to see that outcome.

    Imagine one day when shopping for an all new Suzuki SUV model, if you could do so with the utmost confidence, feeling it had the very same reliability and/or lack of "issues" as a Honda or Toyota.... That's my "mission" as a long time owner of the brand. To squawk here more than a bit, for what it's worth, (and I don't pretend to know if it's of value), hoping in the end we'll ALL benefit somewhere on down the road.

    IT'S TIME NOW for Suzuki to finally carefully START to listen to all of us, and make the needed adjustments to the product lineup. Reliability will probably end up being tops on the priority list, with, I'd hope a diesel GV somewhere on the radar screen as well....
  • xostnotxostnot Posts: 232
    Here's another issue - that stupid rear license plate bezel. On another forum, we became aware that the European and Australian versions have a different rear bumper to accommodate their longer, narrower license plates. The North American plate is too tall to fit under the spare tire, so they did the next cheapest thing. There isn't room on the hatch for the longer plate, so it wouldn't be easy/cheap to use a different hatch and wiring to put the plate bezel on the hatch for North America. Instead, all it took is a different bumper shell.

    Wrecks the departure angle? Too bad. To make us overlook this impairment of off-road ability, they just hyped that aspect a little more. And probably laid in a good stock of replacement rear bumpers.

    Where do the European and Australian Rav4's have the rear plate?
  • bearsgvbearsgv Posts: 19
    Australian Rav4 has the rear plate on the left hand side, next to the spare tyre & above the bumper bar.
  • vitdeanvitdean Posts: 9
    As I have owned and still do Suzuki motorcycles, I have found them to be very reliable. Just this year (2006) I liked what I saw with the Grand Vitara. I also got tired of buying junk (I'm sorry) from Ford lately. The point is, is to have a vehicle that will get me to work and back reliably as so far my Vitara has done.
  • norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Posts: 168
    Well said. How about that timing chain too, and all the money it will save you in maintenance costs. Even Honda, (which makes a few bikes too), doesn't use timing chain tec on it's vehicles. I have no idea why.

    Back to Consumer Reports annual auto issue on newstands now. For sure, the reliability ranking for the Ford F150, for instance, seems pretty daunting there.

    But then back to the new GV, there's still the mileage/usage issues. Personally I'm starting to wind down here on this site, (praise be, eh bud?), as I've come to a decision that with rising fuel prices, a vehicle getting only 23 mpg, best case, just doesn't meet my needs as an enviro conscious type. Then there's the usage issues. For a commuter if it just has to be an SUV, right on, what a great looking vehicle the new GV is! But if you want to do it in the dirt, I will say no more than the following. Go to the Toyota USA site, toyota.com, and dial in the side by side comparo of their new FJ Cruiser, vs. the luxo boat new "off road capable" GV, (with the low range transfer case). Price wise, (vs. the base FJ Cruiser), they're the same. Mileage wise it's 2 mpg less for both city and highway, (17/21 us mpg), for the 4 liter! FJ Cruiser. Then there's all those other stats from ground clearance to towing capacity, and everything in between. Then there's the bottom line fact the FJ is, well, quite simply, a Toyota.

    Bottom line [here] is, I've decided I'm NOT waiting for Suzuki to [again] produce a small tough fuel efficient off road capabable vehicle. Instead, the course they've presently apparently successfully charted for themselves, (and you, see the sales numbers), has left at least some of us in the dust, and we just have to accept that. But for folks like xostnot who are out there right now doin' it in the dirt in a new GV, while it still holds a good amount if it's original value, well, one could be sorely tempted to look a a trade for a FunkyJ Cruiser.

    I wish you all the very best of luck with your new GV's!

    Norwoodsmn.
  • vitdeanvitdean Posts: 9
    The bottom line here as I said is for me to depend on my vehicle to get from point A to B. I've been left stranded by stupid things going wrong in the past with the carmaker badge I've depended on in the past. 300 miles from home driving a 1994 f-150 the power steering gearbox seal blew out on a holiday weekend, 60 some thousand miles on the truck- and of course the 36 month whatever warranty was kaput. Fun vacation. My parents are retired, my Moms 2004 Focus left her stranded only 25 miles from home. Bad starter 1500 miles on a brand new car, yes it was fixed. Fathers 2005 Escape developed this cool gas smell after you drove awile and got out. After about a month of my dad telling the dealer he smelled gas and nothing was done, I called the Ford place for him. The service manager (I guess) told me it was not actually a gas leak but just gas vapor we were smelling. REALLY! Don't you have to have a leak someplace in order to smell gas? Anyway, after a couple more calls the broken fuel line was replaced. 6000 miles on this vehicle. Sorry, It's nice to be brand loyal but I need to get to work. I've read on this forum about other GV owners picking obout how the back door opens wrong or the fuel mileage thingy does not compute the average MPG. Hopefully my Grand Vitara will prove as reliable as Suzuki motorcycles and by the way, getting 23 miles per gallon with a vehicle you can depend on beats the hell out of the Escort that got 40 MPG I had before my Vitara that cost me a days pay because the harmonic balancer came apart with 40 thousand miles. So please let us not gripe obout little things on the Grand Vitara. The valve adjustment might scare some people, but believe me, it's not that hard to do as I have checked valve clearence on their bikes and in the at least 10 or so times I have done a valve adjust on a sazook motorcycle only once have I had to adjust a valve .002 thou, which I could have left alone but since I had the cover off......
  • norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Posts: 168
    I hear ya. But, for instance the Focus is now probably the most reliable vehicle Ford makes. Back when it was intro'ed, it got nothing but stellar reviews, but then... But then, (praise be!), they actually fixed it! All I'm saying is, likewise, don't be too surprised if you encounter a few bumps in the road in this teething period for the new GV. But Suzuki will stick by you with warranty service if you need it.

    My four year old Zuke road wagon hemmoraged it's coolant all over the passengers side carpet last week, (defective heater core). After bitchin', (though it's out of warranty), "the big boys" covered the $500.00 7 inch radiator!, (beware some Suzuki parts costs), that is the heater core. I pay $300.00 for labor, and the dealer eats the extra cost beyond the 2.6 by the book hrs. Suzuki allows for the removal of the dash, etc. to replace the heater core. It takes the dealer all day long to do this job, and mine will be the third one they've done here at this dealership in ye Norwoods.. They tried to stick me for the cleaning of the carpets, but this wheel SQUEAKED badly in response over it!, so the dealer will pick up that multi day job, (cleaning, drying out of carpets), as well.
    So I guess take some heart from this out of warranty sad story. Never owned another vehicle that did this, ever....

    See consumer reports current annual car review issue for data on the Suzuki XL-7. In prior posts here, I'd expressed I thought I might just pick up a used '04 XL-7, which was the last one offered with both a manual 5 speed tranne, and the low range transfer case. Figured they must have gotten better with age, so... Wrong, the 2003 model was more reliable. Go figure...

    Keep a postin'. We're all interested how they prove themselves on down the road.
  • xostnotxostnot Posts: 232
    Choosing between the FJ and the GV would have been agonizing, had the FJ been on the scene when we chose the GV. The FJ is unbelievably ugly, and I'm not sure I could live with those vestigal back doors. We usually carry passengers. But the off-road performance relative to the price would have been very difficult to ignore.

    We did some "off-roading" with the GV this weekend, including one event of coming to a halt with diagonally opposite wheels spinning while in 4L. Which surprised me, because you could hear the traction control system chattering away trying to do something about this. But the TC system did work the rest of the time, and the GV did better than I expected as far as clearance is concerned, while going through ditches dug across the old logging road. In fact, it did almost as well as our '91 Pathfinder did on the same road a year ago. I lightly scrapped the bottom somewhere in the middle once, and put a few scratches on the muffler, but did not touch the licence plate bezel on the back bumper. The automatic allowed more precise speed control while climbing through the ditches than I'm used to with a standard transmission.
  • vitdeanvitdean Posts: 9
    As I have been studying the handy dandy service manual that I bought, (well worth the little over 100 bucks) I found that with the all time 4wd version without the switch on the console, you can undo a bolt on the transfer case and lock it in 4wd high range by turning a lever then replacing the bolt. I have not done this, (I have the all time 4wd) as I have no need. Just wondering if anyone has done this and if it will void the warranty.
  • dclark2dclark2 Posts: 91
    The XL7 was shown today. It looks huge, supposedly bigger than the Torrent/Equinox. It has a reinforced frame like the GV.
    Two interesting things:
    It has that 3.6 motor!It has 250 hp and 244lbs of tq, yet claims 23mpg on the highway. Again, despite more power and a much heavier vehicle, it gets the same mpg as the current GV!Put this into the GV and it could get 24-25mpg on the highway. I'd count on it!
    The top line XL7 is only $29K. I say only because it is the first under $30K vehicle (at least awd ) that comes with navigation.
    Getting back to the first item, I can't see the GV soldering on '07 with the same old 185 hp-it'll get either a 3.2 or 3.6 vvt motor
  • Please advise source for remote oil filter kit. I changed mine using 3/8 drive cap wrench part no. A257 (80 mm) from www.autopart.com. Even with custom fit wrench, getting filter out was a chore, and I was concerned with possibly damaging the O2 sensor wire.

    My GV is manual tranny 4-wheel drive (full time no low range). Anybody know why they don't call this all wheel drive?
  • vitdeanvitdean Posts: 9
    Squiggle underneath behind the left front tire. There is a good sized hole in the suspension frame ( much nicer on jack stands) that you can get your right arm and hand with tools if need be up in there to get the filter on and off. The owners manual and the service manual states to go up next to the oil pan, you are going to remove that cover under there to get to the drain plug anyhow, I found the hole in the frame to be better access. The sensor wires are routed through a bendable clip, just bend the clip with the wires out of the way making sure not to stress the wires. I'ts really not that hard to get to the filter. As for the difference between all wheel and four wheel drive, poke the question in a search engine, a lot of info.
  • xostnotxostnot Posts: 232
    Norwoodsman was interested in some pictures of the GV with a canoe on the roof, so I've posted a couple of shots in my CarSpace.

    On the front, I removed the plastc cover over the tow loop (best to get underneath to see how to remove it to avoid damaging the tabs), and the second vesitgal hook that lacks a removable cover.

    On the back, I used the muffler bracket and the tow loop. I didn't bother trying to protect the paint from the ropes because the ropes are fairly soft and we weren't driving long.
  • desertbdesertb Posts: 2
    I noticed on our new GV that the muffler bracket is very rusty. We live in the desert and have no snow, no rain ,no road salt. GV has about 1k miles on the car. Anyone else notice this hunk of rust.
  • budman3budman3 Posts: 187
    We also live in the desert, but did notice the very rear hanger by the muffler with some surface rust. The other ones looked ok.
    I'm not sure how, but I noticed some rust on my rear seats where they divide in the middle. It must have come from the hinge when I had them folded up but don't know how the seat would have been wet, unless the dog hasn't told me something :blush:
  • budman3budman3 Posts: 187
    I couldn't find the TSB from pitstop.com as was previously mentioned about the front tires being out of alignment. It's covered under 12mth/12k mile adjustment warranty and my local dealer fixed it. The front end toe was off by 1.5mm. Sure doesn't sound like much but the tire wear was obvious.
  • xostnotxostnot Posts: 232
    That's odd. I found a light stain that looked like rust on the leather covering of the front passenger seat. I couldn't figure out how it got there.

    We too have various underbody components with surface rust. Maybe this happens during the trip by ship from Japan. But we've driven on salty roads, so I'm not surprised.
  • norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Posts: 168
    Reaching back a few posts here, yes, the FJ Cruiser is too funky for me too. But out there in the dirt....
    Which brings me back to your need for aftermarket rims and tires. I'd particularly look forward to reading how it's going there in the field after you making this "essential" move. Noikan's Vatavia line looks interesting, actually with seasonal crossover off road use and road comfort, all built in there too. Hawk those low profile alloys for the oem steel wheels and the right tires! Easier said than done, I understand, and the alloys do look "foxy".

    Nice to see the ice finally thaw off some fav lakes now, eh? I, and the trout grow restless...Happy trails to ya!
  • xostnotxostnot Posts: 232
    As far as the tires go, no tire will do any good if it's in the air:-) Although the articulation on the new GV may be good for an independent suspension, I don't think it's as good as the old Pathfinder. So a traction control system on a fully independent suspension vehicle simply has to work properly, rather than be a band-aid solution.

    Whether our lakes are still frozen depends on their elevation and latitude. We were headed for saltwater, and the structures in the pictures are berths for the ferries we used to cross Georgia Strait to get closer to our paddling destination in the Gulf Islands.
  • whysterwhyster Posts: 14
    Hi slinky1,

    So is the GV getting a bigger engine/more power for '07?
  • dclark2dclark2 Posts: 91
    "So is the GV getting a bigger engine/more power for '07?"

    I'd be shocked if it didn't. I will hang on to my jetta wagon until the '07 models comes out. Driving around in a 50mpg diesel wagon and waiting to see if the the '07 has more power/mpg makes a lot more sense than selling it now and getting an underpowered, noisy GV with 23mpg.
  • budman3budman3 Posts: 187
    The GV is far from underpowered and noisy. Of course it doesn't get the mileage of a diesel. Why even whine about it here or keep hoping for major improvements? You don't see me in your VW forum whining about a smelly diesel, do you? Why not accept the GV as it is or look at something else that suits your needs.
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