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Suzuki XL-7



  • tistevetisteve Posts: 142
    Finally the stars aligned (weather, time, surf) and we took the Xl-7 down to Hatteras for a day trip on Saturday.
    The Xl-7 did pretty well. The ride down was very comfortable, the racks were loaded up with my two surfboards and the beach chairs. The sand was fairly packed from an earlier high tide, so it wasn't real soft and deep like it usually is. This is my first automatic 4x4 so that took a little getting used to, but it did fine.
    I was most concerned about the ground clearance, but the suspension stayed fairly firm and didn't allow the bottom to hit the sand too much. The tires floated Ok, but traction was minimal. Some better off road tires would make a big difference.
    Tried 4lo just for the heck of it, but as I thought it would, it just shifted on up to third and fourth gear quickly and it was not neccesary to have it in 4lo. Oddly, reverse worked really well, went where ever I steered it to.
    Overall, quite a competent beach buggy. It does have some limits, but normal beach driving was fine.
    Now it's an official off roader! Now for some mountains trails....
  • Well, it went much better this time than the first time. I had a much better idea of what to expect and how to do it in a way that worked for me. I had ordered a bulk piece (12 X 84) that I used for the hood and fenders of my XL-7 and while it took some work I get it right. Now I can leave the bra on and not have to worry about water and dirt under it since the finish will be protected.
  • Happy to hear it passed the test. You are correct about the tires but then most of us would not use it on the beach anyway. Happy to hear you enjoyed it and it did good!!
  • Just took delivery of my '01 Touring 5-speed on Friday night. This is one great truck. Some may recall that I had a very good experience with my '95 Sidekick, so I'm looking forward to a long and trouble-free ownership with this one too. I just hope the mileage isn't too much of a disappointment (I was getting 30 mpg in my Sidekick).

    I look forward to participating more with this group, now that I can speak first hand about the XL-7.
  • Now that is a rare one. I drive mine to work in traffic in the DC area so I could not use a 5 speed and if I had wanted one it would have to had been a special order. I do not think there are any 5-speeds in the mid Atlantic area. Did they have it sitting on the lot or was it a special order? Good luck on the MPG. I get 22 on mine and that is good.
  • tistevetisteve Posts: 142
    Welcome to the club of fellow XL-7 owners and future owners. We all think it is an under appreciated buggy that is a great value for the price.
    Good Luck!
  • I happened to get lucky. We live in the Milwaukee area, and the dealer where we bought our Sidekick just happened to have the only 5-speed in the area (I called around). It was silver too (my first choice -- a disappointment to my 4 year old, he wanted green -- a true Packer fan!). I was really happy with the deal we struck too (guess they wanted to cement a relationship with us after the first purchase). Anyhow, we live in a rural area outside of Milwaukee, so a 5-speed is no liability (we -- my wife and I -- both prefer manuals). 90% of our driving is highway, or highway-like driving.

    Did it take some time to get up to 22mpg, or has it been consistent from day one? One of the "tricks" I attributed to getting such good mileage in my Sidekick was airing up the tires above recommended. I'm running 36psi all around the XL-7 and have found that in addition to the lower rolling resistance, it seems to handle better too. The ride hasn't seemed to suffer either.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The other advantage of higher TPs is you don't get the Ford Exploder effect. On my Trooper manf spec is 30/35 F/R I usually go with 35/40 on mine and find it yields better milage, handling and safety.

  • MPG-mine belonged to the owners wife--who was also the sales person I bought it from--and had 5k on it when I got it so I really can not say. However, as you most likely know, it usually takes a few thousand miles for the true MPG to show up.
    You are doing what many of us are doing with the PSI. I run 35 PSI all around and you are correct about it not riding any worse and steering better It appears the tires on these wear really poorly on the edges due to the low PSI recommended by the factory.

    One more note: you sound like a person who does some work on their truck. The oil filter is a real bear to get to and it is really messy to change. I run synthetic in all my vehicles and with the XL-7 it is even more important due to the hassle of oil changes. I do a new filter and oil every 5k.
  • So far I have been impressed with what I have seen and read about the Suzuki XL-7. However, I am concerned about safety. True it did well in the 40 mph crash test, but did horrendous with 5 mph bumper test (shattered rear windshield). Has anyone seen the video clip of this event. It didnt look very impressive. Do you think it was a fluke or is this a real concern? Did the 2002 model address this potential problem in any any way? Would a trailer hitch help prevent some damage?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Don't forget those tests are highly theoretical. We Trooper owners had the same problem with ours. But in real world tests... The rear is quite safe. 2 examples I bring up are:

    1) Lexus LS400 rearended my buddy's dad in his '92 Trooper (woman was on the phone, though the light was green) totalled the lexus, and hit the trooper. The rear window didn't break, although the door got pushed in. Impact was aproximately 25-30mph. (the front seats actually broke 1 of their bolts on impact)

    2) I was on the trail and a guy got out of his trooper w/o setting the brake, and left it in drive. It rolled down a hill right into the 2000 trooper in front of him, hit was about 5-10mph, no broken glass, both rear doors needed replacement though.

    The test they use in those videos is slamming, un-braked, into a steel pole. The only place that would happen is @ a mall parkinglot, if you aren't watching what you are doing when backing up. I personally like real world tests.

    On a side note, in a real world accident, your rear will lift and the vehicle striking you will dip, causing their car to hit your rear bumper rather than the tire.

  • The reason for the poor showing is the pole they used in the test is centered on the rear of the truck and and it hits the tire carrier and that damages the entire rear of the truck. This is inherent in any SUV that has the tire on the back: Honda, Rav4, CRV, etc. It is not a structure problem. Now then, some of the above have the tire carrier off set so the pole does not hit the carrier. As for 2002, I doubt it. The 2001 and 2002 are basically the same.
  • "On a side note, in a real world accident, your rear will lift and the vehicle striking you will dip, causing their car to hit your rear bumper rather than the tire"

    Yeah, but what if you get hit by a minivan or another SUV? What you are assuming is that you yourself will be slamming on the brakes very hard to avoid hitting the car in front. But what if you are not and are just sitting there? There is no height advantage there and the tire will get pushed in. A buddy of mine with a RAV4 was rear ended by a Honda CRV in exactly that situation. Guess what? The spare tire was hit and the rear window broke, as did the trailer hitch/bumper underneath which also damaged the muffler. You are also assuming that the vehicle hitting you from behind has significant nose dive. Have you seen a BMW 3-series under heavy braking from 70-0 mph? There is virtually no nose dive, practically only one or two inches dipping of the nose. There are many other cars like that out there.

    I think it is all a matter of weighing the pros and cons. Both underbody and exterior spare tire designs have their advantages and disadvantages.
  • To the previous poster: What are the advantages and disadvantades of an underbody spare tire? What are the advantages of an exterior spare tire?

    To any anyone: Are bumper guards available for Suzuki XL-7's? If so would they be helpful or just a waste of money?

    Thanks for your help
  • For all you knowledgeable XL-7 folks, please comment on this discussion. There is a new discussion on the main SUV board. Thanks
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Hey matt at sell rear protectors that go into a std. hitch mount. Check out pics of mine at Very sturdy 1/4" steel tubing.


  • On the spare tire. There are two sides to this. The one on the back makes it much easier to change the tire in the event of a flat. The one under the truck means you have to use a wrench to lower the tire by means of some special device the tire is attached to. You then have to get on the ground and pull the tire out from under the truck. You get really messy. The one on the rear is only a liability if you back into a pole or something like that. I am looking for one of the after marker sonar devices that I can put on it so I do not have to worry about it. However, I am very conscience about it. Myself, I will take the tire on the back.
  • So, how is everyone's MPG doing these days? I am still stuck at about 22 where it is most likely to stay since I have a little over 7K on her. Still solid as a rock.
  • Just checked mine over the weekend. Got 22.6 with 600 miles on it. Still hoping for better in the coming miles.

    Taking mine back in for an alignment and to repoint the washer nozzles. If this is the worst that I find, I'm even more pleased than when I bought my Sidekick!
  • Just filled her up and got 21.7 for 296 miles, all in the city and going to work.
  • momx2momx2 Posts: 14
    I acquired a 2001 Suzuki in late August. I love the vehicle, but did have a problem. Early one morning(after loading the kids in the car) I noticed that the back passenger tire was completely flat.
    Well, my husband was soon on his way and replaced
    the tire with the spare. Upon inspection of the tire, (he thought I pick up something in the road the night before to cause the flat) he discovered that there was what he describes as a "crack" in the wall of the tire. I did not pick up something in the road. The tire did not have a single scratch near the crack" to indicate that I bumped something in the road. I called the dealer to see about replacing the tire. The dealer could not help me. They referred me to a facility that could help. The manager at this "tire chain" said that the warranty would not be honored due to the fact that they are not sure why the tire "cracked". The cost of the new tire will exceed $135.00 and is on special order because they do not have it in stock. I will be without a spare tire for at least a week. I love the car, yet I am disappointed. I heard that the tire pressure must be monitored on a frequent basis, but with less that 3,000 miles on the vehicle? Any advise??? Help please.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Not quite sure what you want us to help with. You should inspect your tires visually at every other fuel up. Tire pressures should be checked on a monthly basis. And yes occassionally there are bad tires that come out. $135 for a suzuki size tire seems a bit stiff. I pay only $100 for my trooper ones and these are 245-70-16s.

  • Most tires are covered by the tire manufacture, not the car company. You should get it replaced as a defective tire by the manufacturer since there were no obvious hits or dings on the tire. It sounds like a manufacture defect and should be replaced for nothing. If you can not get any satisfaction from the tire people you are dealing with go to you owners package and in it should be the information on the tire and a hot line to call. It usually is a toll free number. It sounds like this tire dealer is just trying to make a buck.
  • There is a way to check your pressure without using a pressure gauge. You can go to a large auto parts store and pick up a set of four devices that go on the tire stem where you put air into the tire. Once the tire is at the proper pressure you put this small device on and if the pressure goes two or three pounds below what it was when you put it on a little red warning pin will pop up to let you know the pressure is down.
    A little more expensive is a tire pressure warning system that can be put inside each wheel that sends a warning to a small box that you mount on your dash or someplace that you can see easily that says the pressure is low.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    While Greyhounds' idea is a good one, it still will never replace a physical visual check of your TP and tire condition. By actually getting out ever other fuel-up, and physically checking the tires visually, you'll see things such as abnormal wear, cracking, or tears in the sidewall, all of which can lead to a dangerous blowout. Let's just learn to be a little responsible, or is that too much to ask for Americans anymore? :)

  • I agree about nothing replacing physical checks but these can help as an early warning between checks. A quick look in the morning or just prior to going some place.
  • I'm looking to get a trailer hitch on my XL-7. Was hoping someone could recommend a place with the best price. From my searching it looks like the hitch that fits the XL-7 is the Draw-tite 41537? Are there any other hitches that work?
    Also noticed that there were some skid plate accessories? Anyone purchased one of these? What was the cost and what kind of quality were they.
  • tistevetisteve Posts: 142
    I agree with the other guys, that tire should be replaced at no charge whatsoever. At only 3,000 miles is certainly still under warranty. Those Bridgestone/Firestone guys are probably burned out by replacing so many Firestone tires that they are trying to not give any away if they can.
    You might want to try another Bridgestone dealer, there are usually a few around if you're in an urban area.
    Unless they can prove a road hazard (nail, screw) or that you whacked it hard enough (which would leave some kind of mark) they should replace it for free.
  • clay11clay11 Posts: 17
    Living in Canada, pricing will not be of much relevance to you. But as an FYI...had a Hidden Hitch trailer hitch installed for $350CDN which included a Class III hitch, 7-pin plug, mount with 2" ball, wiring and installation. Gave it a solid workout on a recent roadtrip and all went well. I understand Suzuki can install a hitch except that it is only a 1 & 1/4" mount and that its hangs down from the rear of the vehicle, somewhat like a step. The dealer service manager did not particularly recommend this and even the sales guy has a Hidden Hitch on his XL-7. The HH model (do not have the specific number handy but can get it off the hitch if you really need it) sits tightly up and behind the bumper and I believe is the same model recommended for the Grand Vitara. Hope this helps.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I have a HH on my trooper. Excellent hitch, excellent fit, and it is truely hidden, except for the square box for the receiver.

This discussion has been closed.