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Suzuki Grand Vitara 2006 through 2008

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    manitowocmanitowoc Member Posts: 17
    Nice sites and better accessory prices than Suzuki.com, thanks.
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    xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    I hope I'm not going off-topic here, but it seems relevant. Let me know if I should have started a new topic.

    Norwoodsmn said: "But my chief concern remains the fact that the only Grand Vitara model available with a low range, (the model tested off road), has:
    1.) an automatic transmission only when a manual five speed is optimal for off road use."


    The fact the only '06 Grand Vitara that has a low range also has an automatic transmission raised the point that an automatic is inferior for "off-roading".

    I've only rarely driven a 4x4 with an automatic in 4x4 situations, but I've done a lot of rough stuff with a 2wd/automatic, and a 4wd/standard with low range. Right off the bat I'd say the latter had vastly better engine braking, while creeping down 4000' descents in the 2wd/automatic required a lot stopping to let the brakes cool off, and more brake jobs than usual.

    For climbing, they seemed about equally capable.

    Negotiating obstacles that went to the limits of the vehicles' clearance was the most interesting. With the standard, the following was the sequence to put one front wheel over a largish rock: approach in 4wd low range, but let off the gas so the tire didn't hit the rock hard enough to hit and bottom out or bounce over the rock. Then ease up onto the rock, requiring controlling the clutch and gas to keep the vehicle moving slowly, but without stalling. On top of the rock, release the clutch and hit the brake to slow the tire from dropping down off the rock. Then back to the clutch and gas to get moving again. The operation was tricky because it had to be done below the stall speed of first gear, the quick changes in operation of three pedals by two feet, and the sudden loss of engine braking when the clutch is released.

    With an automatic, on the other hand, there was no stall speed. You could come right down to a stop, then ease forward, using only the brakes and gas, and ease over or through things without stalling.

    The other thing we do a lot is traverse deep ditches, again taking the vehicles to the limits of their clearance. This requires the same operation of the pedals in either vehicle, since the slower you do these things, the less the vehicle settles on the suspension and so the more clearance it maintains. Again, I suspect that with no stall speed, and only two pedals, the automatic might just handle this better than a standard.

    Now, I've never done any "rock-crawling", so I don't know if a standard is better there. But it seems to me that an automatic in combination with a low range might be just fine for off-roading. Perhaps add a transmission oil cooler if one is going to be doing a lot of this at one time.

    Any comments on this?
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    norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Member Posts: 168
    If I might [xostnot]. I suspect we're both straying off the centerline, so to speak, as this site is probably of more of interest to the average owner. So my apologies here. But I think it still may be of some interest to new owners in the fold, to least know what the root DNA is in the product they're buying. Bear with me here. As a Sube fighter, bring on the new base full time 4wd model and it's luxo derivatives, and who cares which transmission it's equipped with? What a bargain if you don't mind the mileage and need that much room.
    To tow one behind your land yacht, you'll HAVE to order the fully optioned low range one with the neutral driveline feature, but how many of those will ever go off road?
    Got a rough road to the cottage?, maybe again all you'll ever really need is just the basic full time 4wd model. I'll be interested to see how it performs in demanding, but certainly non Rubicon Trail conditions. It could be the real sleeper here.

    As to the two wheel drive version, what I'm 100% certain about is, sans owing a body shop and/or a Suzuki dealership, I can't imagine one being used anywhere near off road. No I'm sure that's not what you're suggesting despite your having said you noticed little difference between climbing uphill in OR applications in some past model(s), wheather driving a 4wd manual or a 2wd automatic? Sorry, I don't get that part, I confess.

    But I digress. There seem to be two main contexts to address here. First, I don't think you are saying [either] that an auto box IS the best setup for offroad use, are you? Personally I never even thought of debating the point with any serious off road user, so I won't bother here. But what you don't seem [respectfully, I'd offer] to grasp is, the bottom line question here is not [even] which transmission, (auto or manual), is the best one which the very least experienced user might want to have out there to save his butt. Rather, (please), the big question looming large, at least on this northern radar scope, is, Suzuki's decision to pull the plug on our own individual personal exercise of free choice as to which transmission we'd each prefer to have to best meet our own needs.

    WHY HAVE TO PAY AN EXTRA $1.000.00, or whatever it adds to the cost of the new low range equipped GV, if you neither want nor need an automatic transmision???? Can anyone out there answer this [repeat] question? If I could hazard a guess of my own here, it might be because Suzuki may have been afraid to post the mileage figures for a manual trannie low range equipped six cylinder one, (more on Euro engine choices later), at it's North American launch. At least I hope that's the only reason.

    On another tangent, (ooops, here I go again), looking back, I'd ask you [xostnot] in your own experience, which of the full boat no holds barred mandatory luxo accessories that come on all new low range equipped GV's, did you feel absolutely bereft without, out in the outback during your own OR adventures? Was it Smart Pass, keyless entry, or maybe leather seats, (without even bothering to talk about transmission options).....? Funny, it may be ESP, but I think we'd both have the same answer(s) to that question, IE: none of the above. Don't misunderstnad me, it's truly great they're there to make the drive that much more fun out on the street. Let me interject, more power to ya there on Palm Boulevard, your ride looks truly great!
    I hope [xostnot]this helps direct you back to the MAIN points I've been trying to make.

    Give us back choice in the lineup with this great new model, Suzuki! I rest my case.
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    xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    Either I failed to mention this strongly enough in previous posts, or it was missed. I completely agree that Suzuki should have offered a version without all the luxury stuff, and with a manual transmission and the low range. I watched the advertising as the new GV entered the market, hoping the news the low range was only on the top-end version, was incorrect. I thought I already described how this is based on marketing, and people like you (and me) get lost in the rush to make money off the posers. So we're in complete agreement there.

    I'd much rather have $1000 in the bank than leather seats that I don't even like. 17" wheels? I'll have to go to the trouble of replacing them with 16's. And I have to wait 8 weeks because all the posers want the fancy model also. I believe there will be a version as you want after the new car buzz and demand slackens off. But I already waited six months for this thing to reach the market, and I don't want to wait another year.

    As for the automatic vs standard for rough-roading, I put that forward as a topic of discussion, not because I have any firm belief either way. A topic to be explored, rather than a viewpoint being forced on others.
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    norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Member Posts: 168
    Fair enough. But if this is adequately on topic?, I don't necessarily share your optomism that the rest of us will see a Utility oriented new GV any time soon, sans our kicking up a big fuss/dust. Look at the XL-7. For the past two model years, '05 and now '06, there's been no manual transmission option on 4wd models. True, it's winding down now in it's current configuration, so who cares? Again that's why an '04 4wd XL-7 with the 5 speed manual, may be what I and others end up buying soon, if Suzuki chooses NOT to offer us a new GV, one configured for off Sunset Boulevard use. Maybe you can even get your deposit back?

    To follow the end thread of your last post, do we want to go that far off road re: comparative merits of a manual vs. auto tranmission in O.R. applications? There's certainly no law agin' it, but if so I think site etiquette might be endangering logic. Why?, it's a moot point isin't it, if you want to buy a new GV this afternoon.

    As a public service re: replacing your 17"'s with 16"'s, again I'd refer you to Discount Tire Direct. I bought after market alloys there for our '02 Zuke road car, at what amounted to the same figure as list price for Suzuki's plain Jane steel takeoff rims. That's with the US/Canadian dollar exchange rate taken into account. Then used the steels for our winters. Again, check out those 16" MB Motoring 5 ones that fit the new GV, (see images on the Discount Tire web site). Pretty spiffy. We've also used The Tire Rack to get a tire that Discount didn't carry. Great outfits, both. Try Toyo's if you can find them, for a good rugged tire.

    PS Sounds like you've been unable to see many of them, but Suzuki's steel wheels on the new base GV's, are very, very attractive. Still another reason why I'd like to be able to configure a more Utility oriented one for myself, if....
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    xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    Thanks for the tips on the wheels and rims. Casual browsing had so far turned up 16" alloys on aaarims, for $82. Their nicest looking ones that will fit the new GV, and also the cheapest. But I wonder if cheap alloys are machined as precisely, and finished as durably as more expensive ones?

    In fact, I haven't seen the GV steel wheels.

    While you're specifying a rugged-use GV, I'd add to to the wish/demand list, besides the 5-spd: a bit of a suspension lift, proper skid plates, rear limited slip differential, and put the rear licence plate somewhere else. That bezel in the bumper costs a few degrees clearance, and I'm either going to wreck it or cut it off. What were they thinking?
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    norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Member Posts: 168
    YES! and to the wish list let's further add the
    "highly regarded" Euro spec Suzuki modified Renault turbo diesel. It's due to be introduced over there right about now I believe. Packaged along with the other std. features we'd like, could you live with a COMBINED city/highway mileage figure of 30.56US mpg? Me too. And thinking green here, it produces fewer emissions [even] than their two liter gas engine.... Incidentally, each and every new 4wd
    5 door GV sold in the UK, comes equipped with the low range feature....

    Re: wheels, since I don't think you've taken delivery yet?, this won't help. But for other new registered owners, Suzuki offers semi annual dealer service coupon specials. The current one includes a steel wheel deal. I tossed that one not needing it, so I don't have the details. As you other folks may be too new in the system for the computer to have sent you one of these, it might be worth checking this out with your dealer. If they're even available for the new GV?, and are not the ugly black winter round holed types, go for it. Current offer(s) up here expire December 31st.

    Back to our sport UTILITY GV:

    Dear Santa: ..................
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    manifoldmanifold Member Posts: 57
    I too agree that the automatic with lo range will suffice for the most general offroading scenarios. I think there is enough gearing options in the automatic to accomplish most tasks that a stick would. What needs to be defined is what is "offroad". I think for most people thats generally poor dirt roads, traversing shallow streams or floods, heavy snow or mud, playing in the desert or beach sand and so on. Now for extreme offroading where you need a spotter all the time to navigate a wild trail of boulders is different. For the latter case, and from what Ive seen in pictures, the vehicles are usually modified anyway. The folks that I see in those scenarios are usually using a "throw away" or old vehicle wether they are jeeps, rovers or zukis. I rarely see images of new models being used on extreme offroading or at least without any heavy modifications.

    IMHO this would be general offroading..

    image

    this would be extreme

    image

    For general offroading the new GV with auto and lo range is up to the task.
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    norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Member Posts: 168
    There's certainly no doubt Suzuki North America corporate officials would most emphatically agree with you, given the current model lineup. Is the question then, can a new auto equipped 4wd one with low range, work off road in moderate conditions? If anyone said one couldn't, I missed that.

    The point that remains once the dust or smokescreen, flying mud or whatever has settled, is, anyone still interested in their choice of transmissions is instead now being told to be polite accepting consumers, until such time as Suzuki has had an epiphany and remembers the customer base that helped get it to it's current postion in the maketplace. Sorry, no takers here.

    Good pictures. Re: the general off roading one, just out of curiosity, wonder if that Samuari had a manual or an auto transmission,(just kidding). Picture two, nice Rubicon Trail type shot.
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    manifoldmanifold Member Posts: 57
    I think it would be best if you posted a sample image of what you think is moderate offroad that way we can see. I think theres also something to be said about how one drives on the offroads. The modified suv drivers tend to drive their vehicles like battering rams. While someone with a none modified vehicle(or even no lo range) would drive a bit more gingerly and strategically in a rough road and still be able to traverse it.

    As for why suki didnt include a lo range on a base, your guess is as good as mine. As you mentioned they shouldve and I agree. I bought the premium 4x4 auto which doesnt come with a lo range. But I wouldnt say I would be inhibited in taking on general offroad conditions without a lo range as well.

    But thats just me.
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    norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Member Posts: 168
    My best old shots are on video. Let's use the widely available Whistler press event images as the example. When I lived there in the neighborhood around '89, I took my new stock Samurai up every old logging road that I could find in that spectacular corner of the Coast Mountain Range. As mentioned, I think I even recognize the test road, one of my favorites back then. I'd consider that event/road to be moderate off roading [to me]for what ever that's worth. But that's a subjective judgement. To try to bring some more perspective here, and to encourage automatic transmission owners, I'll quote the journalist who wrote for New Car Road Test.com based on the Whistler event.

    "But then we headed off the graded track to an uphill section strewn with boulders that was nothing much more than a dry streambed. No way could any vehicle without a low gear tackle this. We tried it in 4H but within yards a boulder stopped our forward movement. After gingerly backing down, we shifted the automatic transmission into neutral and twisted and pushed the knob to engage low gear. Gently easing the gas pedal, we inched up the steep mountain trail, crawling from rock to rock as we tried hard to avoid hitting the undercarriage. We weren't entirely successful, as we did misjudge one maneuver and left a small ding in the passenger side doorsill. One driver said this exercise, directed by Suzuki, was too much. Maybe it was too much for that driver but it certainly wasn't to much for the Grand Vitara. We thought it proved that this SUV has true off road capabilities with good ground clearance, approach, departure and break over angles as well as short front and rear overhangs. Good off road maneuveing might not be a trait required by most SUV buyers nowdays, but surely it is still desired by some."

    Still, I've always greatly appreciated that extra measure of very precise control of all dynamic forces involved, afforded by having a manual transmission. That notwithstanding, clearly the Whistler test shows autos will be just fine in the hands of capable owners. Though the test writer sounded experienced, they did ding that lovely new sheet metal. When I sold my Samurai to get a new four door Sidekick, after scaring myself silly in it a few times, it was in pristine condition. Later I went on to take our four door Sidekick into old silver mining country in the Selkirk range. On one "road" we stunned an ATV driver who couldn't believe we were there. How wild was it? Grizzly scat and chewed artifacts lying around. Some distance there from Palm Boulevard. Never once have I wished in such environments that I'd had an automatic instead, but as you said "that's just me".

    Let me whisper real quietly here so no Suzuki official overhears us. Truth be told I might be able to live with the manual trannie base full time 4wd, if I could just give up returning time and again to those old favorite haunts. [You read what the reviewer said about needing a low range on that test road] But I'm just not ready to cash in my chips yet. Instead I want a new GV of my own configured as I'd like it. Is that really too much to ask, Suzuki? Thanks for saying you don't think so either manifold.
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    manifoldmanifold Member Posts: 57
    If the testers deemed it necessary that a lo range was appropriate for that scenario then I would trust them on it. I certainly wouldnt mind having one but I could live without it given the scenarios(general offroad) I drive in. I guess one could say having a lo range gives one that "go anywhere, conquer anything" feeling but I dont feel limited without it. Again, thats just me. Yes, it would be a nice option to have on the base model as some customers might want that choice/combination.

    I love driving a stick. The GV was actually my first automatic. Reason why I chose the auto was because the suv is also my commute car. Where I live the traffic is terrible and its exhausting when youre on a stick.

    I think its great that youre into the outdoors / offroad scene. I think a lot of GV owners here including myself would love to hear more of your tips, techniques etc on that subject.

    Good luck on your GV and let us know how it goes.
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    norwoodsmnnorwoodsmn Member Posts: 168
    Thanks. Personally, I can't think of anything to add re: the low range and/or manual transmission discussions. Glad you accepted the word of the testers.

    Anyone done a lo rider?

    Seriously, it's great to see such a diversity of new owners comming into the fold, regardless of which model or what options [you] prefer. I just hope the sales numbers give Suzuki the confidence it seems to lack at present, to again produce a model more appropriately configured to the needs of it's traditional O.R. customer base. After all Suzuki, we're still some of your very best cheerleaders....

    Cheers!
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    packaging propackaging pro Member Posts: 32
    I am looking to upgrade the stereo system and install an aftermarket amplifier to the stock radio in my 06 GV. I need ideas on where to install the amp. It will not fit under the passenger seat and the locations in the back do not seem that supportive. Any ideas?
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    manitowocmanitowoc Member Posts: 17
    Got new 12v phone charger, problem solved, nothing wrong with 12v outlets.
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    manitowocmanitowoc Member Posts: 17
    I just test fitted my aftermarket amp under the passenger seat, it's 11" wide and just barely fits without seat movement interferrence. I have 2 amps to install, 1 under each seat. I'll have a progress report after installation.
    Locations are limited, you may have to consider mounting to the back of rear seat with some sort of custom bracket.
    I've seen some custom installs like that.
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    packaging propackaging pro Member Posts: 32
    The amp I have won't fit under the passenger seat. The factory subwoofer is under the driver seat. Did you use the factory head unit? Also, were you able to find any wiring harness/kits.
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    fslaugtsfslaugts Member Posts: 36
    I went to the dealer today because I am shopping for a new car. I liked the look of the Grand Vitara and it was on my list. I thought it was smaller than what I expected. Also the motor seemed to grow tired and strained as I exceeded 70mph. For the price I guess it's alright. But I am going to look some other cars.
    fred
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    manitowocmanitowoc Member Posts: 17
    The factory subwoofer under the driver's seat will be history with my new install, got a sub enclosure. I originally considered using factory HU but I'm having second thoughts, since it's double din, I can get a mobile vid screen in that opening(Kenwood DDX-8017)for instance.
    Check out link title or link title" for wiring kits.
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    thenewguythenewguy Member Posts: 5
    Anybody know if the '06 GV comes with an anti-theft and immobilizer setup?
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    mixbrix2mixbrix2 Member Posts: 7
    Just had the first oil change done on my 06 at the dealer. Manual says to use 5w30 oil and they put 10w30 in it. Does this matter? I would think the dealer would follow what the owners' manual recommends.
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    All my vehicles call for 5W30 but I use 10W30. Unless you live in sub-zero weather, I wouldn't worry. It gets hot here in AZ and most manuals say it's OK to use 10w30 when you stay above a certain temp.
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    manitowocmanitowoc Member Posts: 17
    5w30 flows better when cold, if you're in a cold climate during winter, 5w30 is preferred. Many dealers use 10w30 as a 1 size fits all oil, since they want to keep their bulk oil supply to one that is good for all the vehicles they service. But if your winter is cold then the dealer should have followed the manufacturer's recommendation.
    Personally, I think the 5w30 should be used regardless.
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    I've heard the same thing about the power, but we love ours. I'm not sure what the drivers are looking for in the tests. No, it doesn't have sports car acceleration. We get up to speed just fine and can pass easily. Everyone is different on what they expect as far as power. We cruise at 80mph with a full load. As far as todays standards, 185hp(I think that's the rating) is a little shy of what a V-6 can put out. So far,we also get 24mpg hwy and I'm not light on the gas pedal. I have a Chevy truck with a slightly modified 8.1 and my wife can just beat me in a drag race with our "zuki". Hardly a slug, if you ask me. You do have to get the revs up, though to make it go. I would give the zuki another chance. Fred, if there is way you can e-mail me, I would be happy to tell you the good and the bad, not too much bad, for the price.
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    fslaugtsfslaugts Member Posts: 36
    I agree budman3 the Suzuki has a lot going for it when you consider the price. I really like the design also. I know I was being very critical because I want to look at some
    other vehicles. I don't want to purchase anything for a few months.
    Fred
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    mixbrix2mixbrix2 Member Posts: 7
    I also have an Olds Bravada with the 4.3 V-6, the Suzuki seems much quicker, not to mention more comfortable and better mpg. So far the highest it's gotten is 24 mpg on a trip.
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    benbenwanbenbenwan Member Posts: 13
    anyone have problem with their outside temperature gauge? my GV's outside temperature gauge sometime didn't show the correct temperature, I started to drive my car in the morning about 20F, at noon time the outside temperature about 30F, but the outside temperature gauge still showing 20F. I have to press the right hand side button to get the current temp show (the button the change F to C). Any idea how to fix it or go back to dealer?
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    manitowocmanitowoc Member Posts: 17
    Motorweek will road test the 06 Suzuki Grand Vitara Sat 12/24/05 9am(EST)on the SPEED Channel.
    Motorweek also broadcasts on our local(South NJ)PBS channel(NJN)and(Pa,De,& South NJ)PBS channel(WHYY)
    Hope everyone gets a chance to catch a viewing.
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    vacmastervacmaster Member Posts: 1
    i am considering the 06 grand vitara but am concern about its size. i have a 17' boat that weighs around 2200 pounds. i know the vitara can tow up to 3000 pounds and am curious if any one has towed with theirs. thanks
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    I'm not sure who posted the other oil change reply, but he was right. The plastic cover isn't a big deal but wait till you try and remove the oil filter, what a MESS. Make sure the oil isn't hot because you will definately get oil on you, then try and get the filter out. :mad: Make sure your oil pan is way out front of the oil plug because it shoots out very far.
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    manitowocmanitowoc Member Posts: 17
    1500 miles and the burning smell is still there, light but still noticeable.
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    still there at 2400 miles. no smoke, yet. I guess that's a good thing.
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    xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    During my first time driving a new GV, taking it home from the dealership last evening, I certainly noticed that smell. But it was familiar because it was exactly the same as I've always gotten from having our previous vehicles treated with the spray-on oil-based anti-rust treatements such as Krowntek. This smell can linger for months. A welcome alternative to dealing with rust.

    Funny, this thing has stuff like a HomeLink system and a fancy radio frequency access and startup system, but not even a basic alarm system. Heated leather seats but no gas flap remote release. Fancy wheels and cheap lug nuts with no locking nuts. No center armrest in the back seat. Front armrests, like most new cars, in the wrong places. No extenders on the sun visors. Lots of blackened windows but no dark band across the top of the windshield.

    How do they choose the feature set, at random? Like being able to get a low range only with an automatic and 17" rims? Strange. But that's minor stuff that mostly can be dealt with. Otherwise it's an insanely excellent vehicle, let alone for the price. I'll post more comments as we put some distance on it.
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    I agree with your lack of options. Some would have been so easy to add. "Luxury" and no power seat? It takes awhile to get used to the cruise control at night without any type of backlighting. The back seats fold up only if you move the front seats forward and put that silly strap on so they don't fall down. I guess we could pay $10k to $20k more to get all the good stuff.
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    I tried, but missed the review. Anyone see it? Was it positive?
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    packaging propackaging pro Member Posts: 32
    I saw it Saturday. The review was all positive. They said they have liked Suzuki for over 6 years now and they are the small car company that surprises them. They averaged 22 MPG in there test with the GV. They recommended it.
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    xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    And the mileage readout, when in mpg, is in US gallons. C'mon, how much programming does it take to add a readout for Imperial gallons. At least it has a litres/100km setting.

    Anyway, we're off on a moderately long trip with it, including a logging road, so I'll have lots of boring observations about it next week. The manual says not to drive at a steady speed at first to break it in, so I'll let my wife do the first driving stint:-).

    Motorweek - is that the one out of Toronto with Jeremy Cato? I saw Cato's review, and they liked it.
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    I thought that title would get your attention. Read the road test and some of the replies in the forum on the Rav4. Nothing to get excited about. You still can't get the V6, but it's base price is over $26k and tested over $32k. It might beat my GV in a drag race, but I'll just flash the $10 Grand (Vitara) that I saved.
    xostnot, let us know how your road test went.
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    alpinaalpina Member Posts: 2
    I have had my 06'Luxury trim GV since November and have racked up over 3k miles. I love my GV and and have felt better about my purchase the more i drive this peppy SUV.

    I have one problem though, and it concerns the Stereo:

    I have noticed that i can connect a auxiliary music source to my GV's stereo like a Mp3 player. The manual shows how to select the function but not how to connect the apparatus to the stereo....

    Has anyone figured this out??
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    manitowocmanitowoc Member Posts: 17
    If I'm reading your post correctly, you removed the oil filter from the top, right?
    The manual states remove engine "under cover", are they referring to the protective cover under the vehicle?
    The manual calls for removing the "engine cover" regarding spark plugs.
    I've seen many mis-translated instructions before and just want to be clear on the easiest way to do this.
    I haven't really been underneath for a real eyeball of what's involved in removing the oil filter this way, but this weekend I'll run it up on ramps and take a look.
    Since you've already changed your oil, what do you think?
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    Hmm, I'll have to look again when my daughter brings it back. I glanced at it from the top and that didn't look any good. You do have to remove the plastic cover on the bottom. There are about 5 or 6 snap in plugs that are easily removed. Just pop out the center with a flat bladed screwdriver and the rest of the plug should fall out. When the cover is removed, you will see the drain plug.
    The oil filter is the real trick. It's up high and you have to be in the right position to get your arm up there. Make sure the oil isn't hot, it will get on you. After you have it unscrewed, you have to find the right spot that it will fit thru. Be careful of the oxygen sensor, it is in the way.
    I will look at it again more carefully next time for a better way, but I don't think there is one. I hope someone else will prove me wrong. Good luck and have plenty of towels ready.
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    l3ftyl3fty Member Posts: 2
    Thought you guys might like this.

    Now in their 21st year, the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada's Car and Truck of the Year awards have been based on direct comparative testing of eligible vehicles in a great variety of categories since 1995.

    Best New Sport-Utility Vehicle
    Winner: Mercedes-Benz M-Class - 659.0 points
    2nd place: Range Rover Sport - 638.8 points
    3rd place: Suzuki Grand Vitara - 637.5 points

    Sorry guys, No Hyundais, Toyotas, Hondas, Fords, Gms ETC..I guess The New Grand V did ok!, Look at the Competition, beat out by two Luxury SUVs.
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    dhamiltondhamilton Member Posts: 878
    Has anyone had luck with good deals on the base model in Dallas Texas? I looked for prices paid/buying experience for this vehicle but one does not exist. Any help is much appriciated....D
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    tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    In case you haven't already looked you may want to browse through Suzuki Vitara: Prices Paid & Buying Experience.

    tidester, host
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    xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    In the last week we did a 1700km trip with our brand new GV. Bear in mind that we never took one for a test drive, and other than this trip, we had only driven it home from the dealer.

    In this review, I'll try not to cover what the auto journalists have discussed repeatedly. This is more for present and potential owners' interest. ANYTHING I DON'T MENTION HERE, WE LIKED.

    The trip included simple highway driving, mountain roads, steepish gravel forestry roads covered with slippery snow, and some full-on fogbound highways covered with slush and unplowed snow, buffeted by strong crosswinds. (Coquihalla Connector at its finest) I also did a litttle experimenting on icy or snowy parking lots.

    My biggest positive impression is that this is a remarkably sure-footed vehicle. The most dismaying aspect was the mileage.

    The whole car seems larger than I expected, and when you stand beside it, you can't regard it as a compact. Next to a Forrester, it seems in an entirely different class. It looks more bulbous than I expected, and so it lacks the crisp side view the X-Trail has. The interior is spacious enough, and is a nice place to spend time. I trust the roof pillars are strong, because they are certainly thick enough, and impair vision when cornering.

    As for head-turning factor, it seems to have none. But the GV isn't marketed to people who need that anyway. During our trip, we didn't see a single other '06 GV, so it may be destined to be a rare sight.

    The radio seems very sensitive, maintaining reception on a station long after we lose it with other vehicles. The stereo seems fine. The ads led me to believe the radio was ready to recieve satellite programming after joining a service. It turns out you have to buy a whole electronic system to get XM. Makes me wonder if the XM-ready status is anything more than a logo on the radio, since presumably XM could be added to any radio with the inclusion of a cheap transmitter. I really appreciated the radio controls on the steering wheel.

    I liked having an ambient temperature readout, since the whole trip was in conditions a few degrees on either side of freezing.

    But the mileage readout.... It displays the trottle position with no averaging over time. Not even a second. Only on the most level roads can you attempt to keep the gas pedal steady enough at a constant speed to get a meaningful readout. This makes it pretty useless, and it's quite a shame that such an important feature has been crippled when it could so easily be modified to average over a few seconds, plus provide trip or fillup mileage. I hope it can be reprogrammed later.

    You can, however, use it to tell whether you are climbing or descending. It doesn't read above 30l/100km. Whether this is a limit of the electronics, or that is the most gas the vehicle will slurp at a time, I don't know. It also goes to zero coasting down steep descents. I think this is a false readout since I believe the engine still uses fuel when coasting. Another annoyance is that in mpg, it reads in US gallons. Doh. Surely the spec for the Canadian market could have included a simple modification for Imperial gallons.

    The cruise control is very accurate, and only varies by up to 5kph in the most roller-coasterish conditions. Normally it is almost perfect. In fact, because it is in tune with the peculiarities of the transmission, this is the first vehicle that can maintain better speed, most of the time, on cruise control, than I can by myself. You can watch the mileage readout to see exactly what the cruise control is doing with the throttle, so you can see exactly when it reacts to a change in road angle. It's very quick. Interestingly, even on a flat road, it never settles to an exact throttle level, while I was able to do this by myself.

    The headlights are fine, and the low beams provide some satisfyingly sharp beam outlines. The fog lights seem weak, and in dense fog actually reduced forward visibility by increasing the amount of reflected light.

    At first the remote locking system was a little confusing, but I soon got to like being able to unlock and start the car without fishing out a key. These keyfobs are getting a bit fat for my liking. I thought these cars came with an alarm system, but they don't. An odd thing to leave out, and I'd take an alarm system over the remote locking.

    The windshield lacks a tint band at the top, and the sun visors don't have extenders. I don't know if this is a problem since the sun never shone during the trip. Odd that half the windows are blacked out, but the windshield lacks a tint band. The wipers and the washer system work fine. The windshield is free of optical and color distortions.

    The footwells are generous. Unlike some vehicles, the legroom specs mean full-width, rather than just some narrow nook that makes the spec. The seats are surprisingly high off the floor, with lots of storage space underneath.

    I like headrests close to my head, but these seem too far forward, causing neck strain. If the angle can be adjusted, I haven't found how to do it yet. The steering wheel certainly is thick. Maybe too thick, since I got sore hands after hours of driving. Surely there is an ideal size that our hands grasp most naturally.

    Then there's the armrests. Now, in older cars, the armrests were exactly where your arms naturally came to rest, with wide flat cushioned tops. Nowdays, and the GV is no exception, the armrest on the door is a shelf in a shallow depression in the door, too narrow, too high, and too far forward. The center armrest is too low and too far away to use while driving. Do the designers of these modern cars have lop-sided bodies, or is this positioning advantageous in crashes? I don't know, but it sure is annoying. To my surprise, there was no center armrest in the back seat.

    The heated seats were pleasant. They came on hot at first, then after a while seem to shut off, then cycled on hot again. So you're always being reminded that you're using them.

    It's been pointed out elsewhere the back seats are bulky when folded, and the front passenger's seat does not fold forward to allow carrying long objects. In combination with the hatch window not opening, this reduces the vehicle's versatility for carrying long loads. In fact, the cargo space is so short skis have to be carried on the roof most of the time.

    As others have said, the controls are as good as anyone makes, and are a pleasure to use. The heater controls have the bad habit of turning on the air conditioning compressor all the time, but at least there's an indicator and a manual override. I expected the automatic heater/air conditioner would allow us to set a temperature and leave it. But as the outside temperature changed a degree or two at a time, we'd have to raise or lower the temperature setting one degree. Maybe it's automatic for a/c, but obviously we never use
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    xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    Maybe it's automatic for a/c, but obviously we never used a/c on this trip.

    Plenty has been said about the quality and fit of the interior (and the whole thing), and I can confirm that. I can add that the plastic is very scratch-resistant. This is a big complaint from X-Trail owners. We carried a lot of sharp stuff like ski poles inside, and regularly stood on the door sills to load the rather high roof rack. Not a scratch anywhere to show for it.

    The beige carpets and mats are another matter. This may suit those with antiseptic lifestyles much more than those to whom this vehicle is being marketed, like us. I turned the back ones upside down, but the front ones don't fit properly when you do that.

    The interior lights are fine, and the map lights are brighter than they need to be (or should be). There are storage bins and so on all over the place, and the glove box is generous. Too bad it doesn't have the X-Trail's cooler/heaters for cans.

    The cargo space seemed to soak up baggage better than I expected, probably due to the low floor. The hatch worked fine, except that near the freezing point, the strut would keep the door from opening fully until it had time to pass it's gas. I expect this would be quite annoying in really cold temperatures.

    The noise level was higher than I expected, and all the reviewers mentioned this. But I guess it's not a Lexus, and it was fine on smooth pavement, or below 90kph. I can see myself adding some sound insulation later. Most reviewers mentioned the spare tire rattled. We drove on some washboards, and if the carrier rattled, I couldn't tell. It seemed better mounted than the one I saw on another GV at the dealership, so maybe they've tweaked it.

    Getting into driving impressions. The GV begs to take corners fast, and I can see skilled drivers in the appropriate places having some great fun with this thing. As I mentioned at the start, the traction control, AWD and ABS make driving this car in difficult circumstances very reasurring. I don't think we ever tripped the stability control, but I did try in a snow covered parking lot. Sharp left turn and floor it. The wheels spun, which surprised me, and it turned, but there was a lot of understeer. Eased off to eliminate the wheelspin, and the natural turning radius was much smaller.

    Floored in a straight line on snow, it must have been spinning tires since the engine was racing, and I backed off. I thought the stability control would prevent that, but it didn't. The manual has a lot of information on the complex operations of the stability/traction control. On any slippery surface, however, it always took off like a shot. Amazing.

    The ABS worked with plenty of clanking noises. One time, trying it in reverse down a steep slippery little hill, it seemed it slid backwards with the wheels locked. This was in 4L. The tire skid marks confirmed it had been sliding. An experiment later in 4H on a slippery flat surface showed the ABS definitely worked then. I didn't do enough experimenting to get to the bottom of all this.

    The steering is precise, and quick enough that the manual warns about it. I suspect the reviewer who claimed it was hard to keep on-track when on-center was used to vehicles that are slower to react. It has an amazingly tight turning radius.

    A problem with these systems and capabilities is that you tend to drive faster in iffy circumstances. Perhaps our brains are wired to seek a certain level of risk, and we compensate for a more competent vehicle by driving faster. Which, unfortunately, largely obviates any gain from the systems.

    In contrast to the steering is the throttle response, which I would call imprecise to downright sloppy. As you climb a hill, you add throttle to maintain speed. The truck downshifts and gathers speed, so you lift off to maintain the speed you wanted. So it upshifts again and slows down. Annoying, but I suppose I'll get used to it. As others have mentioned, it holds a gear overly long as you crest hills. One nice thing is that it senses when you are coasting to a stop or downhill, and will give some engine braking by itself. Once you memorize the maze of shifter gates, you can effectively engine brake with the automatic.

    Once or twice, while gently increasing throttle to maintain speed uphill, the transmission downshifted two gears, jumping up to about 5000rpm. So maybe the transmission is not so smart after all, and I hope it is still in learning mode, if it has that.

    The 17" factory tires are Yokohama Geolanders. I know many people find oem tires lacking, but these seem just fine. The ride is on the stiff side, but that's ok with me. Brakes are fine, and I don't think it needs rear discs.

    We drove uphill on slippery, snow-covered gravel roads that were also washboarded. There was only slight turbulence on the washboard, and no tendency for the back end to bounce around. Just plain excellent.

    Engine power seems more than ample for starting from a stop, but with a moderate load, pickup at highway speed seemed leisurely. It's not supposed to be a sports car anyway.

    We didn't test the clearance. There are some control arms inside the rear wheels that certainly don't have full clearance, and might not take well to a good hit. It has some skid plates, and some of the exposed parts such as the exhaust system look pretty robust. I'd gladly trade a more than vestigal hump in the back floor for mounting the exhaust an inch higher to improve the breakover angle. The licence plate bezel really impairs the departure angle, and threatens to catch on things and tear the rear bumper off. I'm considering cutting it off and mounting the plate on a rubber hinge.

    Surprisingly, there are no mudflaps. The outside mirrors are surprisingly large, with plenty of room for those convex wide-angle mirrors. The only factory defect we've found is that the right side of the driver's outside mirror is seriously distorted. I don't know if it's bad enough to complain.

    The factory roof rack and bars are competent. However, the side rails mounted on the roof are not parallel, so if you need to move the crossbars fore-and-aft, you also have to adjust their width, and try to keep them centered. In addition, there are bits of plastic you cut to fit some slots in the towers, and as you move the crossbars around, these bits won't fit properly. Unless you mount the front crossbar at the very front of the rails, above the sunroof, you can't get the crossbars at the same height for long loads such as canoes.

    Lastly of the stuff I can think of at the moment, is the mileage. It's supposed to get 30mpg on the highway. We averaged 23 on the trip. Contributing to that low figure were: plenty of mountain driving, driving in slush and snow, some town driving, driving above efficient speeds, a moderate load and having a roof rack with 5 sets of skis on top. People seem to agree th
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    xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    Lastly of the stuff I can think of at the moment, is the mileage. It's supposed to get 30mpg on the highway. We averaged 23 on the trip. Contributing to that low figure were: plenty of mountain driving, driving in slush and snow, some town driving, driving above efficient speeds, a moderate load and having a roof rack with 5 sets of skis on top. People seem to agree that a vehicle will get better mileage after it has, say, 15,000km on it. But it still seems low. Our old Pathfinder can equal that, and it's a heavier, less streamlined vehicle with 15-year old technology.

    Overall, this is a wonderfully competent vehicle, and if you need to drive in difficult conditions, you'll love it. But what it loves is gas stations.

    I see many posts by people shopping for and comparing compact suv's that are not considering or even mentioning the GV. I think they're missing something that would be the best choice for many of them, and hard to beat for the price.
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    Nice write up. I was surprised that you never test drove it.
    I agree on the XM radio. I think it stinks that you have to spend another $399 plus installation. As I said before, I bought 3 portable XM units that work everywhere and it was less money.
    My driver's side floor mat is falling apart on the bottom. It's a soft foam and makes a mess underneath.
    For normal driving, rear discs probably aren't necessary, but might be better if someone does more serious off roading.
    I would have liked power seats. I'm always adjusting the driver's seat because everyone else is fighting over who gets to drive it next. I end up last. :(
    I think it's only rated at 24 mpg hiway. We've done that at 80moh with the a/c on. Power seems to be improving also with time.
    We get some head turning. I think it's still new and most people are curious. A little more time and you won't be the only one on the block with a GV.
    No serious complaints on this end either.
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    xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    The fact it was the only small suv with a low range, besides the Liberty, made it our only choice unless there was something we violently disliked about it. I read many reviews, and the automotive journalists didn't identify anything I thought would be a show-stopper for us. In reality, most of them thought highly of the GV, so I figured it was a safe choice for us.

    I decided my writeup wasn't fair in that I failed to emphasize that I didn't discuss most aspects of the vehicle, and we're content to very happy with all those things. I tended to focus on the things I don't like about it.

    I'm the type who used to calculate mileage at every fillup, and added a trip computer to our car, so I'll be paying very close attention to the mileage. It wll never be great, given the frontal area and weight of the GV, plus the unfortunate fact it can't be driven in 2wd. It would be interesting to hear some mileage figures from people who bought the base model.

    I need to add a couple of other criticisms. One is the floor carpet. It's very cheapo stuff. like you'd normally find lining a sedan's trunk. Quite a shock compared to the rich deep thick and heavy carpet in our '91 Pathfinder SE. A good place to start in cutting down the ambient noise would be to replace it with better stuff, or put sound insulation and felt underneath.

    I assume it's your mat that's failing, not the carpet. My mats have black vinyl on the bottom, with little spikes all over. So you can use them upside down (suggested by the salesman). I think I'll get the optional rubber ones, since I'll go nuts trying to keep the beige ones clean.

    Our Pathfinder has rear disc brakes, and it certainly has powerful brakes. For offroading, heat has been more of a concern for us than brake power. But with a low range, even with the automatic, it should be ok. Rear discs are far more expensive to maintain than drums, since discs are poorly protected from the crap spewing back from the front wheels.

    Another beef is the fact the gas cap cover has no remote release, and the cap doesn't lock. What sort of society does Suzuki think we live in? Come to think of it, here's my list of security stuff I have to add:
    - lock for spare tire shell
    - locking gas cap
    - wheel locks
    - security system

    Sounds like a do-it-yourself kit car!

    I'm also surprised and disappointed to find Suzuki sells mudflaps and fender flares, but you can't use them with each other. Sheesh. But, you can get Suzuki pens, watches and shirts, so I guess I should be happy. Another triumph of the marketing department.

    Do you have the accessory catalog? I do, but it has no prices. There's a website that has the prices in US$$, and most of the functional stuff is pretty reasonable.
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    budman3budman3 Member Posts: 187
    We have the Luxury 2wd. We considered the 4wd, but only to be able to tow behind the motorhome. We don't get much snow in Arizona and wanted a vehicle to travel to Las Vegas. The 3 of us and our 100# doberman fit quite comfortably, although the dog thinks he owns the entire back seat.
    Yes, it's the mat that's failing. They are sending me a new set.
    Suzuki didn't think too much on security. We already put a lock on the spare tire cover. I also assumed it had a locking fuel door. The first fill up, I looked for a lever or button and realized there wasn't any. :confuse:
    I saved this website from a previous post suzuki.autowebaccessories.com
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