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Suzuki Grand Vitara (2005 and earlier)



  • car19car19 Member Posts: 3
    Satisfying Performance
    courtesy of The Toronto Star
    March 20, 1999

    New Grand Vitara brings Suzuki back into the mainstream.

    Suzuki has an honourable history of making rugged little sport-utes that could use
    more power. Now, with a V6 under the hood of the all-new Grand Vitara, the
    problem is solved.

    Suzukis and I go back a long way. My first contact was with an SJ410 Samurai
    over 15 years ago. Equipped with a buzzy 1.0 L engine and a four-speed manual
    transmission, the vehicle was woefully inappropriate for cruising North American
    highways. But it sure was tough.

    Soon after, Suzuki brought us a revised Samurai, the SJ413. It was wider, rode a
    bit more smoothly and was motivated by a bulletproof 1.3 L engine - backed this
    time with an overdrive tranny - that still lacked power.

    Fast-forward to 1990, when I had a sneak preview of what would be the four-door
    Sidekick. Its 80 hp still wasn't enough. In 1992, computerized fuel injection brought
    power up to 95 hp - into the realm of the barely adequate. Although it lacked the
    snap and the reserves we Canadians prefer, the Sidekicks in both convertible and
    four-door format were charming vehicles that defined their class.
    My university-bound son Rob drove a JLX four-door and loved it.

    With other manufacturers rushing into the sport-cute class, Suzuki made a valiant,
    but foolish, attempt to maintain top spot in 1996 with the Sidekick Sport.
    Richly equipped and gussied up with plastic cladding, the Sport lost the purity of
    the original. And although it was certainly enthusiastic enough, the 1.8 L 120 hp
    four filled the cabin with racket.

    At the same time, Japan, the U.K. and other drive-on-the-left countries received an
    otherwise-identical Vitara Sport equipped with a 2.0 L V6. A good friend in
    Bermuda owns one and it is both quiet and quick.

    For 1999, Suzuki brings the V6 and Vitara nameplate to North America and takes
    up the challenge again with an all-new double-downsized sport-utility - a direct
    replacement for the Sidekick Sport - dubbed the Grand Vitara.

    The styling works. Gone is the endearingly clunky but dated look of the Sidekick.
    The shape is now aeroform and modern. On the Grand Vitara, the luxo touches of
    colour-keyed plastic cladding and wheel opening flares are still with us. But the
    solid stance and tall greenhouse have also been preserved and the
    adventuresome, purposeful spirit of the original four-door Sidekick has resurfaced.
    I'd call it handsome. But those of a certain age and gender will likely see plenty of
    cute in it.

    Suzuki has also introduced a less grand Vitara - built in Ingersoll alongside the
    similar Chevrolet Tracker - powered by a 127 hp 2.0 L four. The Vitara and Tracker
    are available in either two-door convertible or four-door hardtop versions.

    A fully loaded Grand Vitara JLX with a five-speed manual lists at $26,495, with auto
    it's $27,995. The less-loaded JX comes in at $23,495 and $24,995.

    Although the successful combination of sleek and cute will likely sell a lot of
    Suzukis, it is the Grand Vitara's quad-cam, 24-valve V6 engine - punched out to
    2.5 L and delivering 155 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque - that will regain the coveted top
    spot in the niche for the Japanese manufacturer.

    Notwithstanding that the V6 has no competition, it is a marvel in its own right -
    built with all the weight-trimming technologies that Suzuki has borrowed from its
    motorcycle experience (thin wall this, hollow that). Performance with the
    four-speed overdrive automatic is satisfying, at last.

    The Vitara scoots through traffic, completes highway passing manoeuvres with
    poise and displays a sense of self-assurance that no previous Suzuki 4x4 had.
    Weather conditions during our test period eliminated the chance for normal
    acceleration and fuel-use tests, but at the Car of the Year testing last fall, AJAC
    recorded an official 0-100 km/h time of 10.7 seconds with a manual transmission.

    Transport Canada fuel consumption estimates (automatic tranny) are 12.6 L/100
    km in the city and 10.2 L/100 km on the highway.

    What we did get to try during that period were all manner of snow and off-road
    challenges. In these, the Vitara excelled. Four-wheel drive can now be engaged
    on-the-fly up to 100 km/h. But what you are engaging remains a simple direct-drive
    system which, for my money, still out-performs sophisticated full-time

    I tried hard to get stuck, but failed. Avoidance manoeuvres on a snow-packed
    parking lot again revealed the worth of four-wheel ABS - providing you know how to
    use it. Mumbling along in low range on an icy and convoluted off-road trail proved
    to me that the latest Suzuki has lost none of the wilderness talents made famous
    by its predecessors.

    And, with that, I should point out that the Grand Vitara remains the only true 4x4
    truck in its class aside from the two-door-only Jeep TJ. The others - Honda CR-V,
    Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester - are cars with truck-like bodywork. The Vitara
    continues to use a separate body joined to a full boxed ladder frame. Ladder
    frames are both blessing and curse. They're strong and durable, but they flex and

    The flexing directs some of the torsion to the body structure, creating creaks -
    ultimately rattles and misalignment of panels - and it plays hob with the engineers'
    attempts to tune the suspension. Earlier Suzuki 4x4s fell prey to both of these.
    But the designers, apparently with an eye to the Third World, steadfastly
    maintained that the vehicle's off-road skills were due in part to the frame's

    I didn't buy that. I felt that the previous models' road-going behaviour and body
    integrity were being compromised in favour of unpaved travel. Which leaves me in a
    quandary. I'm one of few folks who go off-roading and, when I do, I'd like
    it to be in something as capable as a Suzuki. My son spends a lot of time
    bad-roading and I'd like him to be in something that handles predictably.

    On the Grand Vitara, the cabin structure is rigid and isolated from the frame's
    motions, eliminating squeaks, creaks and wear. Remarkably, this frame does
    seem to work in concert with the MacPherson struts up front and the well-located
    coil-sprung solid axle at the back. As a result, the newest compact 4x4 provides
    competent handling both on and off the road.

    I'm a believer.

    Suzuki gets one of my gold stars.

    Freelance journalist Cam McRae, who writes on light trucks
    and vans, prepared his assessment based on long driving
    experiences in a Grand Vitara supplied by Suzuki Canada.
  • gone2seagone2sea Member Posts: 33

    I have 10,000 miles on my GV. It replaced a 1995 Jimmy because I simply was fed up with General Motors and wanted to stay away from anything related to them. However, the GV behaves exactly like the Jimmy it replaced because the engine to weight ratio is identical. It also tows 3,000 pounds with ease even though the North American rating is 1,500 pounds (it's rated at 4,000 everywhere else). Best of all, it has a strong V6 engine, a weight distribution of 53% front 47% rear (it rarely spins rear wheels even in heavy rain in 2WD), and is an absolute breeze to park. Lastly, at 10,000 miles I am getting 23 to 24 miles per gallon in mixed highway / city / and rush hour driving. Never got that from a Jimmy.

    Hope this helps.

  • twogvs1twogvs1 Member Posts: 1
    My 1999 GVJLX was replaced in Nov by Suzuki Canada with a 2000same.The new one came with after market alloys and Michelin Mxv4+ tires.It shakes shimmies and wobbles too but not as bad.Bridgestone tires are not the only problem.Does anyone know more about a problem with 4wd release mechanisms?Do I have to wait for a recall?Help!
  • ddssjsk9ddssjsk9 Member Posts: 36
    I had my 1999 Chev Tracker bought back for vibration problems. Chevrolet still maintains
    vehicle's are operating as designed. I guess they
    are saying the vibration is a design element. ???
    Who knows? If I were you I would file for buyback
    on the second one, but ask for a refund this time.
    You would not be the first person that has
    received buyback on the second vehicle.
  • bouybouy Member Posts: 14
    Can you please tell me what type of vibration problem you had on your tracker, at what speeds and how loud was it? My Tracker has had a vibration problem for a long time. The Chevy dealer I went to also maitains it is a design element! Also how did you go about returning your Tracker if they were so stubborn. Please E-mail me at [email protected]
  • gvownergvowner Member Posts: 1
    As a new '99 GV owner (okay, almost new), I am very happy with the vehicle. It does everything at least well, and some things very well. I test drove all the SUVs in its class and thought the GV competed with all of them on many levels (regardless of price).

    I have spent a lot of time driving a Porsche Boxster and I own a Volvo 850 turbo wagon, both cars are very enjoyable (and different). Even when compared to them I still think the Suzuki GV is a very good vehicle.
  • futbolflakafutbolflaka Member Posts: 1
    i am looking for a small suv for my very responsible 16 1/2 yr old daughter & i am wondering if this is a good veh? is it safe? are there any maintenance problems? what is the general experience outthere? i live in glendale & i could not locate a dealer close enough & i wonder where do i take the veh for service and maintenance? any comments would be helpful. thx
  • doody0599doody0599 Member Posts: 1
    I am thinking of purchasing a 2-door vitara. Most of the postings discuss the GV...Does anyone have a 2-door convertible vitara that they can comment on?
  • tominnovatominnova Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone have a feel for the benefits of going with the extra cost for a GV Ltd. ? Also like to know if anyone has heard of any GV changes in the offing for the 2001 GV ?
  • devildog34474devildog34474 Member Posts: 1
    has anyone done anything to up grade the performance of thier gv? i would like to up grade to a better air filter or some form of induction. and also some exhaust upgrades.
  • bordsourcebordsource Member Posts: 95
    Just as a side note, Suzuki is rallying up to introduce a larger SUV this fall. Supposedly this SUV is based on the GV platform, but is 12.3 inches longer, blah, blah. However, this vehicle is NOT the new Grand Vitara, Vitara, etc. It will be exceptionally roomy (155.6 cu. ft.), but it may be a tad slow, seeing that the show car at least used the GVs V-6 mated to a 4-speed auto. That combination in a GV is rather tepid, let along in a larger, heavier vehicle. Hopefully Suzuki can find another engine.

    As for is the GV safe...check out That's the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They've tested the GV and rated it "Acceptable". That's a misnomer, however, as it is the second-best rating. The GV was bested in crash tests only by the Jeep Wrangler and the Subaru Forester, the only small SUV to achieve a "Good" rating from the institute. Aside from that, the GV is a solid little trucklet. Both Automobile Mag and C/D took GVs through the long haul with zero problems (but not necessarily zero complaints, especially the folks at Automobile).

    Happy motoring!
  • john440john440 Member Posts: 2
    I currently have 20,500 miles on my GV. GE Auto Warranty will extend the warranty (engine, electrical, drivetrain, A/C, computer, electrical are covered). The cost to extend the warranty to 80,500 miles/ May 2005 is $747.00. I think the deductable is $50.00.

    This is the best deal I've found. Any comments? Worth the gamble?
  • benn1bobbenn1bob Member Posts: 5
    John440 - did the Suzuki dealer offer you this warranty? Mine's due in any day and I'm sure I'll hear this pitch. I generally don't buy these things ('cause I've never once needed them) but this does sound like a good deal.

  • john440john440 Member Posts: 2
    No, I found the GE Auto Warranty on the internet. It was the cheapest and was the only company name that I recognized. I've already had at least $800 worth of warranty work done on my GV (Rack & Pinion steering unit and the electric fan in front of the radiator). I think that I may go for it. John
  • gogaryogogaryo Member Posts: 1
    I am considering to purchase a GV by next week, but I am concerned about the reliability. It does not have a record of longevity and reliability like the RAV4 and CRV. Anyone have any info on the reliability on the GV?
  • evercruiseevercruise Member Posts: 2
    I, too am looking at buying a GV. I have spoken with a few mechanics, even some at competitors lots. They all seem to feel that you can expect at least 250,000 out of the car if you take care of it. As to reliability, I don't know. I have been reading all of the responses here and there seem to be a few bugs that they are having problems addressing. Before plunking down any money and driving one off the lot, I feel the need to research that part of it a lot more. Good luck on your decision.
  • rbalkrbalk Member Posts: 15
    There is a eGroups mailing list for the Suzuki
    Grand Vitara owners. You are welcome to subscribe.
    Only you can do is just send an email to
    [email protected] with blank
    subject and message and then you are automatically
    subscribed. You can click and
    see for yourself.
    Good Luck and enjoy this mailing list.
  • benn1bobbenn1bob Member Posts: 5
    Took delivery of my new Grand Vitara JLX+ last night. Tried to talk the dealer into disabling the passenger side airbag. They would not do it due to "Liability problems".

    Does anyone know if there's a good way to disable one or both of the airbags? Is this something I can legally insist on? I have four kids I'd like to be able to haul in this thing, but I don't want to put one in the front seat next to the bomb in the dash.

  • sbunchsbunch Member Posts: 3
    Doug! Where did you find the Yokohama tires in oem size for the gv? I have not been able to locate them anywhere and even said they couldn't get them for me. I am down to about 3000 miles left on my Bridgestones and panicking because I'm gonna have to buy some more crappy tires. I only have about 20,000 on these things. I know everyone hates them so enuff said. Help!
  • dougf340dougf340 Member Posts: 9
    for sbunch....where do you live? In Massachusetts there is a tire outlet called townfair tire which has the Yokohama Geolanders in stock....There approx.$110 each and well worth it..i got mine from townfair tire in Auburn MA. Give them a call for local dealership in your area
  • dougf340dougf340 Member Posts: 9
    url is NOT towntair
  • vitarafreakvitarafreak Member Posts: 9
    What is a Callmini conversio? Is it for four banger or six? Any good sources for aftermarkets?
  • ericyeh2000ericyeh2000 Member Posts: 1
    For my 2000 Suzuki GV, why can't I use 4WD on dry, hard surface as stated in the owners manual? Does anyone know what would happen if I did use the 4DW (4H, or even 4L) on dry, hard surface?
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Member Posts: 61
    If you are lucky, Eric, you will just have four bald tires in less than 10,000 miles. If you are unlucky, you will be replacing all or parts of your drive train. The GV does not have an all-wheel-drive system that includes mechanical, fluid, or electronic devices to compensate for the different speeds of the four wheels in normal driving conditions. It has a part-time system designed to give maximum traction in off-road and very poor-traction conditions. The system is designed for situations where one or more tires have poor traction. In mildly slick conditions, like wet roads, you can actually get worse traction with the GV in 4WD because the drive train forces the wheel with poorest traction to spin.
  • rch2rch2 Member Posts: 1
    I agree with the last post - and that's exactly
    why I just purchased this vehicle - a reliable 4WD mechanism that does not depend on AWD computers, fluids, etc..

    Quite frankly, by the nature of the question, you should also follow the owner's manual to a tee about engaging the 4WD periodically (I hope it says this, I scanned it briefly but found it pretty lacking). You will find any 4WD vehicle very costly to maintain if not maintained properly. Don't worry about short distances on dry pavement - you need to engage all gears, high and low, in 4WD, once a month, to maintain it - be sure to engage reverse as well in 4WD.

    Question: Has anyone installed an aftermarket power sunroof yet? How about the CD changer - it's been 2 weeks and my dealer still can't give me the proper cable to connect the radio to the unit (Clarion changed their fitting '99 to '00)?
    I'm beginning to be concerned about potential dealer problems - they don't know anything about this vehicle.
  • vitarafreakvitarafreak Member Posts: 9
    I have a chance to buy a 1999 GV JLX 5 spd for $ 13990 but there is a problem! Steering wheel is "shimming" around center position /Starts around approx 35mph/,GV also pulls to the right. Is this a problem covered by Suzuki warranty? Any sugestion or comment would be appreciated. GV is otherwise in super condition. THANKS to all helpers out there.
  • rbalkrbalk Member Posts: 15
    There is a eGroups mailing list for the Suzuki
    Grand Vitara owners. You are welcome to subscribe.
    Only you can do is just send an email to
    [email protected] with blank
    subject and message and then you are automatically
    subscribed. You can click and
    see for yourself.
    Good Luck and enjoy this mailing list.
  • suzukiservicesuzukiservice Member Posts: 1
    I am a service advisor at a suzuki dealership and I have run into a lot of owners complaining about improper steering and shimmying at 60kph and up.
    What we have done to rectify this problem is replacing the rear differential. Sometimes all you need is a wheel alignment. In some cases it has been the fault of the tires. On the latter two problems you should bring it in for service before your 20,000km is up or they won't cover it under your basic warranty. Hope this helps.
  • stshepardstshepard Member Posts: 12
    I have a 2000 JLX+ GV that I ordered (I wanted the 5 Speed and the Anti-Lock brakes they are very hard to find on dealer lots) First let me say that I just love my Truck, it's easy to drive and park and handles great in just about all situations. I have noticed that it can get very wild if the back end starts to slide out, (Which it will do pretty easily if the roads are slick and the gas pedal is goosed at just the wrong time) I currently have the Bridgestone tires and I've got about 27,000 miles on them, they have worn very well, but I rotate them as directed every 7500 miles. I admit that I really hate these tires because they seem to be very slipperey, I know tires have been discussed before here, but I haven't seen anyone discussing putting car tires on the truck. I've noticed that there are quite a few "performance" radials available in the standard size. Since my truck never goes off-road I'm thinking i'm going replace the Bridgestones with a sport tire. Since the GV is so light (about 3200 lbs) there shouldn't be a problem running these tires, after all, my oldsmobile weight quite a bit more than the GV and uses a similar tire size.
    As for the shimmy in the steering, I didn't even realize this was actually a problem, (Stupid Me, i guess) I have noticed it sometimes, but it seems to associated to the condition of the road more than to the truck itself, Also, I've notice that they shimmy seems to subside after I've driven the truck for a while.
    Some other neat information, The Factory stereo is pretty good, but the speakers really suck, I replaced all 4 of the speakers with much better after market speakers and the sound is much better, there still isn't much bass, but that's more because of the design of the rear-roof speaker locations than it is the fault of the head unit. Overall I really like my truck. By the way, I check the Yokohama tire web site and they claim not to have the Geolander in the GV size but tirerack seems to have them, isn't that courious?
  • dan127dan127 Member Posts: 4
    I've been reading these messages for quite some time on behalf of my girlfriend, who is seriously considering this vehicle. However, the steering wheel vibration (as well as that on the dash mentioned by other owners) has me a bit preturbed.

    There was talk on a "movement" with the NHTSA to get the problem rectified en masse... any progress? I'm pretty sure this hasn't been discussed any further, but in case I missed it, my apologies.

    So... anyone have an answer? :)
  • justjimmyjustjimmy Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 GV and I love it. I'm in the market for new tires and I am considering new wheels too.

    Currently I have the stock tires 235-60R16. I want to up-size them to the tallest and widest tires I can put on is.

    Any thoughts as to how big I can go without the tires rubbing?

  • jlvjlv Member Posts: 14
    Will the Vitara work for a tall person? Is there enough leg room? Is entry/exit easy?
    [6'5" (36 inseam)]
  • weiwei71weiwei71 Member Posts: 8
    Should be enough in the front, but almost impossible in the back unless the driver is a kid.

    wish helpful

  • christopherjchristopherj Member Posts: 1
    Question: Has anyone installed an aftermarket
    power sunroof yet? How about the CD changer
    Yes, 1999 GV for $995.00 had Hollandia TVS Moon roofs Tilt Vent & Slide installed. They also have for $695.00 installed Hollandia Emerald. see
    I found a photo of an '99 GV installed with ASC840 sunroof.
    A 6-disc CD changer is available at Clarion CDC635 from Great Lakes Audio Video Inc for $185.00
    Good Luck
  • stove1stove1 Member Posts: 53
    The 2001 Ltd Grand Vitaras I saw last week all had factory sunroofs. Much better quality than aftermarket units.
  • brown64brown64 Member Posts: 8
    I am 6'2 and have more than plenty of head space
    in our 2000 (limited) gv, just got it yesterday night and it is sweet! I have gotten a load of info off this website to aid me in considering
    which mini-suv we would buy. I have been searching and going from dealer to dealer looking for a good deal for over a year, it finally paid off! we got a 2000 white limited gv with 15,000 miles for a great price and $2000.00 trade for our 1987 honda accord with 192,000 miles on it.
    It rides really smooth and the wife loves it, initially she was not to crazy about the JLX+ cloth like interior, but when she saw the leather inside the limited, she smiled and said "this is really nice". We also opted for the 6/year or 75,000 mile warranty which the wife also liked. Over all this was worth the wait. we are excited and fired up! I hope this helps some of you who are still trying to figure out what to buy, just compare prices, and saftey along with engine power. We love our mini-SUV. good luck.
  • weiwei71weiwei71 Member Posts: 8
    I was looking for a mini-sports for its high sit and wonderful visibility. Not quit concern about the off-road performance or acceleration or someother fun driving staff. Basically used as a safe commuting vehicle.

    Testing drove tracker, GV, CRV. Don't like RAV4 for its high price and look. Won't consider rangler and cherokee classic due to their outdated shape or too wild shape.

    Has to admit that CRV scores higher than GV for out major purpose for the following items: rear seat leg room, luggage room, and those tiny but considerable design. For example, they use the sink, which used to hold the spare tire of civic (CRV was design from civic), as a cooler, and reshape the cover as the foldable picnic table. What a simple but tremendous design. I still have to admit it that Honda is quite good at those tiny comfort design although I was wondering how to get the water out of the sink?

    While everything counts favorate CRV instead of price. CRV is so popular here that not a single one can last for more than one week. But my GV was there for more than one and half month (At least this is the time I saw). Now I know there was a big chance for big saving. As the new year model pushing in, the dealer's patience is lost.

    What I got finally is about $5500 difference from the CRV after considering the finance. That is about 25% total value! What I have got is essential a vehicle that fit my requirement plus ability to go offroad (I may try once in the future just since it can do that). Think about what you can do with $5500. The tail and roof rack can conpensate the storage insufficience; $500 is going to cover the difference of the MPG saving; $1000 back up the disadvantage of suzuki reliability verse honda if extended warrenty is not a choice. You still save a lot! The only thing is the rear seat leg room. But just as the CRV salesman asked me how often I went offroad, I would ask How Often to have people sit back for a two people family? Don't even mension they still could sit in unless they have to.

    Car purchase is difficult. My opinion is don't buy the car you want! Try an alternative. You won't regret the money you saved. In addition, there always another way to get Rome!

  • ggarciaggarcia Member Posts: 2
    I recently purchased a 2000 GV and am experiencing a severe vibration which becomes more prominent above 45 mph. It happened the first day I purchased the vehicle and "seemed" to disappear. It has evolved again and is constant. Took it to my dealer and they rebalanced the tires which seemed to help a bit. They are now telling me it could be 1. the drive shaft needs to be rebalanced but first they want to try to 2. "force balance" (?) the tires on a dino machine????? Is there anyone out there who can assist me and provide me with guidance??? Please refer to comment 249 re: replacing the rear end differential. P.S. I love truck but am losing confidence in service rather quickly. Appreciate any help / guidance. Thanks!
  • rbalkrbalk Member Posts: 15
    There is a eGroups mailing list for the Suzuki
    Grand Vitara owners. You are welcome to subscribe.
    Only you can do is just send an email to
    [email protected] with blank
    subject and message and then you are automatically
    subscribed. You can click and
    see for yourself.
    Good Luck and enjoy this mailing list.
  • stshepardstshepard Member Posts: 12
    hey JLV, I'm not nearly as tall as you, but I have a 35/36" inseam. I fit fine in the front of the GV. The seating position is very different than a typical car, much like sitting in a chair. If you haven't yet, go test sit one, it might surprise you.

    As for the Vibration concerns.
    My truck did have the vibration problem as well, but I found that one of the tires had a severely different inflation pressure than the other three, after I evened out the pressure and rotated the tires to vibration has all but dissappeared. I'll keep you posted if the vibration comes back.

    by the way, mine is a 2000 model 4x4 with a five speed transmission and the alloy wheels.
  • ggarciaggarcia Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info... i'll check out the website on Suzuki... wish this vibration will go away... have an appointment on Monday to have tires force balanced... dealer made me wait a whole week and I drove around w/vibration 200 miles... hope vibration does'nt cause damage to any seals or bearings, etc. I want to enjoy this vehicle!!! How is it in the snow? I'll find out soon enough I'm sure!
  • queeniexoqueeniexo Member Posts: 2
    Just found this town hall while looking for a new vehicle.
    FYI - I just had a 1999 Suzuki GV JLX+ automatic 4x4. I had 2 MAJOR accidents in it. Over $6,000 in damage each time. Plus each repair took over a month each to get parts replaced. My steering wheel was off center too and it did shimmy at high speeds. Both accidents were due to spinning out of control on wet & snowy roads. Both times I was doing well under the speed limit to be cautious because of weather and have never had an accident before in my 14 years of driving. Don't get me wrong, I too LOVED my truck, but this is just a warning to be VERY careful on wet roads. It is a very light vehicle with not the greatest of traction or control.
  • dimensionerdimensioner Member Posts: 5
    Sorry to here about you troubles. You didn't say, but I hope that you or anyone else wasn't hurt. Was your steering wheel off centre and the shimmy with your vehicle occurring before the first accident? If so at what mileage did it start to happen. I have not had the opportunity to drive in the snow yet. GM is now trying to resolve my problems. Getting it fixed before the snow comes was a big concern for me. I too have been in an accident due to snow with another vehicle and that was why I purchased the first two Trackers. They worked well in the snow. They are a light truck and I don't think I would buy one that isn't a 4x4. Due you feel the first repair had any bearing on the second accident? All the best in your vehicle shopping.

    Chris Murphy
  • indianakohindianakoh Member Posts: 8
    I wanted to let everyone know that you can purchase a locking fuel cap for the 1999-2001 CAMI SUVs. I'm not sure if it fits the earlier models. It's made by Stant and the model number is 17595. I bought it at for $22.51 and it fits perfectly. In fact, it looks suspiciously like the optional locking cap on the Suzuki website...
  • bjfloridabjflorida Member Posts: 2
    I purchased my GV 1/99 & now have 20,500 miles on the vehicle. After about a week, I noticed the vibration in the steering wheel and gas pedal at about 35-45 mph. I've never had my tires rotated or anything, and I don't know the tire pressure. After this Firestone fiasco, I checked my tires. The rear are fine - the wear is even and acceptable for 20,000 miles. I found that the inside edge, about 1.5 inches in from the edge of both the front tires has absolutely no tread. Worn completely bald. The rest of the tire shows normal wear.

    Does anyone have any ideas why this would happen? I don't go off-road, I don't have four-wheel drive or ABS and I have an automatic transmission. I noticed several months ago that the vehicle was slipping and sliding on wet pavement, and when going over dry railroad tracks or bumps.

    I really love the vehicle otherwise but have had the same problem with the recirculation lever sliding out of place. I wish the seats had lumbar support.
  • queeniexoqueeniexo Member Posts: 2
    Thankfully, no one was hurt. I was a little stiff, but that was the extent of it.
    Yes, the shimmy and off center steering wheel were there before the first accident. I am guessing it was around 20,000 that it started. I didn't think much about it and I'm not sure if it had anything to due with the accidents.
    The first accident was in the snow. We bought new tires after that thinking it might have been bad tires, but the second and worse accident was in the rain with new tires. It seemed as if it was a traction problem. It seemed as if the front end would skid if the road was wet no matter what speed I went.
    After watching the NBC special on SUV safety this past week, I think I may go with a front wheel drive car. Good luck getting your repairs done properly.
  • johnny099johnny099 Member Posts: 1
    With 14 months and 11,400 miles on my 99 Vitara 4dr. has been steady 18-20 MPG with A/C and Auto on hilly terrain in West Penna. and 25-26.5 MPG on trips of 400 to 800 miles.
    Nuisance defect was hard to fix: driver side window sticking. Took 4 trips to dealers....
    Other than that... GREAT
  • SfMikailSfMikail Member Posts: 2
    Reached 53,011 miles today on my 1999 GV JLX+. I remain very pleased with this vehicle. My main gripe used to be the somewhat harsh ride. After replacing the stock Bridgestones with slightly larger Michelin's M/S tires - the ride is much smoother and handling is noticeably better. The GV has been very dependable and durable. Thankfully, I have not experienced many of the problems or issues posted. Price and quality was a big consideration when I bought this vehicle and I still consider it money well spent.
  • dimensionerdimensioner Member Posts: 5
    To Dan127,

    I am not from the U.S. so I personally can’t lodge a complaint with NHTSA. If you go to you can search for any complaints already listed. There are many for the Tracker and Vitara. I don’t know if they have done any investigation into the problems.

    To queeniexo,

    One of the biggest complaints owners of Tracker/Vitara’s have is the vibration and tire wear. Then you watch the Dateline special and you really have to wonder just how safe are you. I would be very specious of your first accident, as a light truck they can have a traction problem in the rear end, not the front. I really wouldn’t want one without the 4x4 option and drive it with caution. Handling can be quite unpredictable if the alignment of your wheels or vehicle structure is off even a small degree, even with new tires.

    To bjflorida,

    This is a command occurrence with these vehicles and one that could prove to be a dangerous one. You have a serious alignment problem if you tires have gone bald on the inside with in 20000 miles. The experience you are having when going over the railroad tracks is commonly called, bump steer. This is something that an ill repaired collision vehicle gets. Your tires are wearing because they are fighting to go in another direction. When you hit the bump the tire goes up and off the ground. As it is in the air it can now relax and when you come down the tires are pointing in another direction and this causes the vehicles poor handling. Get it checked out now before you end up in a position like queeniexo. Mine was doing the same thing on the driver’s front tire and had that ugly vibration and shaking problem. The wheels were aligned but it didn’t solve the problem. The handling of the vehicle is just disgusting. GM has my vehicle right now and is trying to resolve the problem. When I get it back I will let you know what they did to correct it, if they do.
  • bjfloridabjflorida Member Posts: 2

    thanks for the information, I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. I only wish I had read your response before I let my son take my GV tonight to his high school homecomming dance. I've already contacted the service department - got an appointment Monday. Do you have any recommendations for tires for my RWD automatic that never goes off-road. No snow, just rain. THANKS!
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