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Suzuki Grand Vitara (2005 and earlier)



  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • dimensioner,

    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!
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    My Mazda Protege (amazing car) was mildly damaged in a no-fault fender-bender, and the insurance company arranged a rental car for me - I ended up with a Suzuki Grand vitara V6, 2000, 4WD with 1200 miles on it. I know that rental cars are not usually in the best condition all the time, as people do not drive them well - despite the rental companies' efforts to keep them in good shape - but here are my impressions anyway.

    This is by far the most powerless V6 I have ever driven - for the amount of power it does deliver, it is a gas guzzler!
    Ride quality is quite disappointing compared to a mitsubishi montero I rented recently, which had even more miles on it
    The feel, build, quality and performance do not even begin to compare to the newer crop of vehicles - particularly the Mazda Tribute and Ford Escape (am i right in understanding these are in the same class as the GV)
    The price apparently is as high as that for the Montero, Tribute etc.
    Lots of niggling vibrations and knocks and rattles
    Rear leg room is ridiculously little - got to be less comfy than even a tiny two-door hatchback.

    As such, I wonder what leads to so many people having bought this car (I see a fair number of GVs on the roads) - considering the price, which is comparable to what I feel are better-value small-SUVs

    Do I just have a real lemon from the rental company - but some isues are constants - low power, gas guzzling, small rear seat etc?

    Just curious to see what people's experiences are - I am considering buying a small-SUV ina few months and am eliminating possibilities - I am really stuck on the Mazda Tribute for now, waiting for the second model year when they typically iron out the first year recall/defects!

  • I know this is a Suzuki site but since the Tracker and the Vitara are so similar I thought someone here might help. I have a new 2001 Chevy Tracker LT. It runs great solid no vibration. I do notice a slight sing in the 4wd shifter. This goes away when I shift into 4wd but is noticeable in 2wd at about 40-50 mph. It's not real loud but I do notice it. Has anyone else experienced this? I like to know because I'm sure they'll tell me that all of them make this noise.

    Thanks Dave
  • Dave, when you go to the dealer and they give the line that they all do, take them up on the challenge. Ask to go for a ride in another one on the lot so they can show how they all do it. They will most likely change their story. What do you mean by singing. All the vibration problems happen at the same speeds as you indicated. Most people with the vibration problems call it a hum, a low toned one. Some people have had a wine coming out of their rear transfer case and have gotten it fixed. Maybe this is what you are hearing?

    Chris Murphy
  • Hi Chris,
    It took me awhile to figure out that the noise I was hearing is coming from the transfer case shifter. It sounds like a Heater fan on a very low setting.(only makes noise when moving) If I shift into 4wd the noise goes away. It's not that bad, but the rest of the truck is very quite and I do notice this. If I move the shifter slightly forward without shifting into 4wd the noise is amplified.

    Thanks, Dave
  • I have the Escape and Grand Vitara in my mind but i am not sure which one is better for me to buy. Can anyone help me or give me some advice?
  • There were two reasons why we purchased a Tracker 2001 LT, price and value. (I know this is a Grand Vitara site.)

    We got a small SUV, body on a frame (not uni-body), rear wheel drive, which means never having to replace CV boots or joints at about $250.00 a side, chain driven cams, (no timing belt replacement at about $300.00 every 60,000 miles)body cladding, shielded gas tank, etc., for a drive out price of 19.3 which included, tax and title, and all the other fees, too. I know a Honda with similar features couldn't even come close to it in price.

    As far at the V-6 is concerned, it is nothing to write home about. It is a whimpy 6, and it does gas milage is 20-21. But considering you will never have to replace a timing belt on it and that its first scheduled maintenance is at 100,000 miles, you save quite a few bucks.

    So far after owning it for 4 weeks, everything works great. The ride is smooth, the tracker is stable at high speeds. No vibrations.

    It is small, but it is hard to find a SUV built like a truck at its price.
  • rhb8rhb8 Posts: 1
    you mentioned an improvement by Michelin M/S tires on the GV. Can you give a model type and size? I'm still under warranty, but sure want to get away from those slick things that come with the vehicle (snow's coming)!
  • cosmo2cosmo2 Posts: 61
    As I have written earlier, my wife rented a GV auto for a weekend after we had owned our 1999 Tracker 4-door manual for over a year. Talk about affirmation of a wise purchase. All that #273 said about the GV is true. However, #278, the 2.0L 4 banger has all the advantages of the V6 without guzzling gas, and it has torque at lower RPM's than the V6. The Vitara/Tracker unit is a good small utility vehicle (forget sport), but the GV add-on's degrade the basic design. It looks like Chevrolet is bent on following Suzuki's bad example with the V6. I hope Chevrolet does not make the same mistakes with the suspension/tire add-on's and the ugly cladding. The basic unit is the best small four door FWD utility vehicle on the market until Jeep adds two more doors, a real back seat, and a real cargo area to the Wrangler. The car-based mini-utes are just ugly alternatives to Subaru Legacy and Audi station wagons.
  • Yo Cosmo 2. Go to see your Zukini Vitara dealer and right after that go to Chevy man and drive ZR2. I drove one and I like it even more than LT or Zukini GV. Not to mention looks of it. Insides are almost identical, both are made in Canada CAMMI plant by now anyway( some of GVs come from Japan). The only thing I do not like is a ZR2 decal on the doors, hair dryer and thats it in couple minutes. It would be very easy. I done it to three trackers before.
  • Yo Cosmo 2. Go to see your Zukini Vitara dealer and right after that go to Chevy man and drive ZR2. I drove one and I like it even more than LT or Zukini GV. Not to mention looks of it. Insides are almost identical, both are made in Canada CAMMI plant by now anyway( some of GVs come from Japan). The only thing I do not like is a ZR2 decal on the doors, hair dryer and thats it in couple minutes. It would be very easy. I done it to three trackers before.
  • Sounds like a winner. 2.7 l engine, longer wheelbase. Maybe my love for Chevy ZR 2 is over, who knows????
  • zane7zane7 Posts: 1
    I was at the Phoenix auto show yesterday and saw the jx-7. Anyone seen one at a dealership in phoenix?
  • vmk1vmk1 Posts: 1
    The new model is on the Suzuki website now.
    My first impression is that it looks great.
    So far my only complaint with my 99 would be if there was only a little more room in the back.
    This new model looks interesting.
  • I am interested in the new suzuki xl 7 My family is skeptical about suzuki products. They claim it will fall apart in three years and I will be disappointed. The saleslady I talked to said they are great cars and rarely come in for service. Anyone out there have any experience with this
  • big_guybig_guy Posts: 372
    I had a '93 Suzuki Sidekick JLX (the 4-door hardtop). I had it for 7 years and besides regular maintenance (oil, lube, filter) I had to replace the tires twice and had to replace a water pump. It was a great vehicle. It traveled very well in the snow and performed well off-road as well. It never developed any rattles or squeaks . . . although the wind noise was pretty high at freeway speeds. I would probably still own it except I now have 3 children and the '93 Sidekick only had 4 seatbelts so I traded it in on a mini-van.
  • Casey38, I had three Geo Trackers so far. They are made on same assembly line as Suzuki. The only big repair on two of them was replacement of timing belts after 68000 miles on first one and 63000 miles on second one.The third 1996 Geo 4 dr is still without any service and under warranty. There is a lot of people making comments and most of them never had one. See for yourself the ratings in Consumer Reports. Go for it, I am waiting for ZR2 to be more available so I could push for a good deal.
  • Here's the direct link to Edmund's First Drive of the 2001 Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7, By Karl Brauer. Good review. What do you think? ;-)

    Pocahontas, Host
  • dmac8dmac8 Posts: 54
    I'm pre-disposed to buy this truck because of the spec., body on frame, V6, true 4WD etc.

    After reading a lot of the posts on this board, my wife and I drove one. It happened to be a 00 Limited, with 1400 miles on the clock.

    When I started it up, there was a loud ticking from the engine, Sales guy said it was because it had sat on the lot for several days. His response told me this question had been posed to him by someone else.

    Fair enough, we drove it, it warmed up and the noise was still there. To drown it out required the radio on pretty high, or the AC and fan at a high setting. Goofy move to put a prospect in a vehicle with problems he already knows of.

    Other observations from the low speed test drive were the vague feeling steering, choppy ride and much less oomph than one would expect from the V6.

    Overall, the truck appears to be really well made. Some of the handling and ride issues are, IMHO, facts of life with a short body on frame vehicle.

    The only other vehicle we will consider in this class is the RAV 4, which we have yet to drive. Aside from the Toyota price premium, it carries the reliability reputation.

    I have a 5 year old Toyota Landcruiser which has been almost flawless. As that is also body on frame, I'm familiarr with what to expect in terms of minor rattles etc. However, it is quiet at high speeds and there is very little wind noise.

    Question is, can you expect to put a lot of miles on the Grand Vitara without the host of problems on this board (RAV 4 board is much more positive).

  • I'm not sure about the Limited that you drove (the situation seems suspect. Was it a demo car?) but I think the major issues dealing with vibration and steering have been resolved with the 2001 model. I have a 2001 CAMI truck with 5000 miles so far and there are no hints of any vibration. You have to remember even Toyota and Mazda/Ford are having major problems with their new generation mini-utes (look at the 2001 Rav4 discussion and read the papers about the windshield wiper breakdowns and fuel leakage problems on the Tribute/Escape).

    You're right about some of the "shortcomings" being inherent. However, even these have flipsides (e.g. The gas mileage is decent and parking is a breeze). If you can live with these things, I think the GV will be an enjoyable car that lasts you a long time.

    On a side note, the CAMI plant (I guess this doesn't pertain to the Limited and XL-7) is already "legendary" in the GM world. I have a friend who is a GM engineer and he tells me that the main reason GM agreed to the CAMI cooperative was so they could see how Suzuki makes cars and implement some of these ideas themselves (it definitely was not for financial reasons b/c they're losing money on it). My friend works for Cadillac and they're redesigning ALL their models from the ground up with many manufacturing ideas "borrowed" from Suzuki. While Toyota is still the industry standard, I think engineers agree that some companies, like Suzuki, are not too far behind.

  • dmac8dmac8 Posts: 54
    Thanks for the response.

    I like to keep vehicles for a long time and add on the miles. To accomplish that, I recognize good maintenance is critical.

    I have an 86 Acura Legend with 149,000 and one of the reasons I keep spending money on it is the fact that people have these vehicles with in excess of 400,000 miles.

    The Grand Vitara strikes me as a robust little vehicle that seems like it should hold up. With normal preventative maintenance, can you get 150,000 trouble free miles?

    This is pretty much a given with most Toyota and certainly Honda products. If you contemplate that sort of life cycle, the upfront cost advantages are not significant.

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