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Suzuki Grand Vitara (2005 and earlier)



  • My wife and I purchase a new 1997 Suzuki Sport Sidekick JLX and have had nothing but trouble. At
    32,000 miles the engine slowly began self destructing necessitating a new short block at $3200 plus labor. Now at 72,000 miles, the auto tranny just blew up. The vehicle has been maintained at levels exceeding the manufacturer's recommendations (all my cars and trucks have gone at least 250,000 miles with NO problems under my ministrations: current truck, a 1987 GMC Jimmy, has 301,000 and is still going strong). Dealership Suzuki techs are undertrained. Parts are horribly expensive. The warranty period is woefully inadequate. Suzuki had little to say after a detailed complaint was filed. We wisely purchased a third party extended warranty when we bought the vehicle, and it has paid for itself five times over before the current tranny problem. Get any perceived problem diagnosed IMMEDIATELY! It will likely save you a bundle. I hope you all don't have the same problems we had. Good luck if you already have one!
  • Although this is the GV site, I thought someone
    might be able to help me diagnose the source of a
    squeak in my 95 4wd 4dr. Sidekick JLX. There is
    a sqeaking noise coming from the left front whenever I drive the car in cold weather. It goes away after a time, and hasn't seemed that serious but I would like to know what it is. I never hear the noise in warmer months. By the way, I love this
    little truck. It's been very reliable, great in snow, comfortable and with the five speed, has
    some spunk. I want something a little bigger and
    more powerful, so I'm opting for an Xterra now, but
    the Sidekick has been a great little vehicle for
  • bofeybofey Posts: 1
    I also bought the Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited. I was a little above the $20,000 mark when the included accessories of floormats, bumper guards, and mud flaps were included. I researched many of the competitors and nothing compared to the Suzuki. The Suzuki is definitely the best kept secret around. I have previously driven Honda and Toyotas and the fit and finish is on par with these vehicles.
  • rbalkrbalk 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 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.
  • orlyorly Posts: 5
    I just got a 2000 GV. It's very noisy when idling, dealer recommended using 20W50 oil, because the GV engine runs very hot. Says it's the lifters that have sediment on them. I never heard of a passenger car using 20W50... but, it's still under warranty...

    Other than that, I love it. Besides, the rear seat is perfect for mounting a rear facing car seat with a base!

    I had an '89 Sidekick JLX, and put 185K miles, and was still going strong when sold.
  • moe54moe54 Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Vitara(not Grand). Recently when I depressed the clutch pedal, there was a "knock" that I felt in the pedal. This came on suddenly, no previous noise. My husband had me move the gear shift around and depress the pedal while he observed inside engine compartment. Nothing unusual. The next day the noise was gone. Help!
  • woody72woody72 Posts: 73
    Interesting that the '01 Tracker (4 cyl) manual emphasizes not to use 20W50. I use 10W40 but I don't know why they don't recommend 20W50. If my mechanical knowledge serves me right on an overhead cam (both 4 and 6 cyl) you don't have lifters, the cam lobes move directly on the rocker arm. Don't know why your idle is noisey other than in general these engines are noisey. Mine is noisier above 3000 rpm. I'd get another opinion. In case you are unaware Chevy Trackers are Suzukis.
  • I recently rented a 2000 Grand Vitara - and enjoyed driving it a lot so I decided to buy a 2001 Grand Vitara Limited. Haven't picked it up yet. The price, including tax, was $22,627.00. Is this a good deal? Which warranty does anyone recommend. I have most recently owned Saturn's which I found very reliable. Noticed the steering and brakes aren't the greatest on the GV but like sitting up high and the price tag isn't too much more than my Saturn SW2. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • woody72woody72 Posts: 73
    Consider looking at the Tracker. It has 2 models with a V6. GM has (or maybe had) a generous rebate on these. Check Chevy's web site under current offers. I bought a '01 Tracker in mid Dec and received a $2000 rebate which I believe ran out Jan 15, but GM has been known to extend these. I initially was looking at Suzuki but settled on the Chevy because of the price and the fact that these vehicles are identical except for standard/optional equipment. Good luck
  • Thanks for the info. I've already bought the Grand Vitara Limited though. No complaints so far!
  • I have a 1995 Sidekick. At about the same miles, I had to put an entire manual transmission. It just started sounding like an airplane taking off one day. Last October, at about 98,000 miles, I had to put a new clutch and some other parts of the transmission on. I am on my third clutch (including the one that came new on the car).I am not hard on the transmission, I have been told that I am actually easy on it compared to other MT drivers. I also agree about the warranty. It just happens that everything happens right after the deadlines. Also, both of my headlights went out at the same time and both tailights went out at the same time. According to the dealership "nothing was wrong with my electrical system". I am very dissapointed in this vehicle. I had intentions on keeping it for longer when I bought it, but my husband and I are looking for other types of SUVs now.
  • I had a 1977 Suzuki Sidekick. It was the best car I ever had. I put over 100.000 miles of abuse on the car. And it always responded reliably. I live in Florida, so my recreational driving is in the Everglades. And I mean it when I say "IN". My sidekick's button saw the mud and water on a regular bases. Often, driving through grassy marshes, I hit rocks that stopped the car. There was no damage ever. When I got stock in the mud, the larger vehicles that came to tow me had to stop at about 100 yards from my car or they would get stock. Most larger vehicles would get stock much sooner than the Sidekick.
    I always heard that the Sidekick is unstable. I never felt that it was. Once, Driving through Alligator Alley, I hit a deep, but narrow hole as I was changing lanes. At about 75 Miles per hour, the front right tire came off the wheel. The car suddenly skidded. I did not manage to get control on time, so By the time the car was going straight again, I was driving on the grass, on the right side of the road. The problem is that that grass is on a 45 degree incline and there is a marsh on the bottom. As the car was tilted 45 degrees , following the grassy incline, it started skidding , rotating the back towards the right. I recover control when the car was going backwards. Knowing that my front tire was gone, I was happy to go backwards. Eventually, the car stopped. We were inside the marsh, in water and mud to the bottom of the doors. But the car had not stalled. The engine was still running. I shifted to 4WD low, and drove out of the marsh and up the grassy ramp (about 3 floors up). The people that saw us going down could not believe that we were alive. They took us out of the car and checked us up from head to toe. We knew that we were OK. Thanks to the Suzuki, we were unscratched. Afterwards, My wife and I talked about how we never felt like the car was going to flip over, even though we both expected it. We also realized that if we had been in another car, the towing cost to get the car out of the marsh would have been considerable.
    So, When I decided to replace the Sidekick, what kind of car would I choose?
  • When I went to exchange my Sidekick for a new Grand Vitara., I was a little upset. I liked the roughness of my Sidekick. The Grand Vitara. seemed more like a luxury car than like a real SUB. So, I went to Honda and via dealerships. The via dealership didn't even have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. I was told that SUB drivers don't really want or need 4WD. So, I left. Taking a quick look at the Honda was enough for me. It is not an SUB. It is a car that pretends to be an SUB. I thought of checking the Toyotas, but I knew that the RAV4 is not a real 4WD either. So, I read all the specifications of the Grand Vitara. and figure that it still is a real SUB trying to pass for a car. So, I bought a Grand Vitara. I just hope that it will be as good as my Sidekick.
    So far, I like the way it rides. I am used to the carder suspension of the Sidekick. But I'll get used to the softer suspension. I like to feel the road. When I wanted a soft suspension, I bought an Oldsmobile. It was like an airplane on the freeway. My Suzuki should let me feel the road.
    I normally carry children on the back seat. So, I don't find the back to be small. Actually, my Sidekick was smaller. Smaller is better. If I wanted a large vehicle I would buy a Durango, a MC, or some other bulky, heavy, hard to park absurd vehicle.
    My Suzuki does not make any noises while I drive. I do hear the wind at high speed, and that is fine with me. I never heard the wind in my Old.
    The acceleration is more than fine. I get to 60 in about 10 seconds. In other words, I am the first one out of the traffic light or the tall plaza. When I wanted more acceleration I bought sport cars. But since I left my twenties I stopped desiring that thrill. What matters to me now is that I can pass easily at speeds under 75 MPH.
    I think that the complaints about acceleration and roughness that the reviewers are giving the Suzuki are leading Suzuki to go in the wrong direction. My brother just bought a 14 year old Samurai and I am jealous. He drove it up stairs that were almost like a wall. Perhaps I'll get one of those too. I hope Suzuki does not go the luxury way. Those of us who like rough small, gas efficient cars need Suzuki.
    A complaint about the Grand Vitara. is that it gives me only 19 MPG. The Sidekick delivered 22MPG in heavy traffic.
  • We purchased a 2000 Grand Vitara (V-6 plus 5 speed manual) in October 2000. Driven daily as freeway commuter (100 miles roundtrip); very little start and stop town driving except for weekends. Comming up on 10K miles and have developed an engine knock that sounds like a wrist pin/rod knock to me. Have to listen closely to hear it, but it is there. Seems to be most pronounced when engine is warm. Never heard this knock until our first oil change at "Jiffy Lube" and were advised (by "Jiffy Lube" to use their premium half petrolium and half synthetic oil). The Suzuki manual did not advise against this half/half oil combo; so I felt relatively safe in using it. Has anyone else experienced this faint rod knock sound? This SUV has never been driven hard. Driven daily at a consistent speed of 65 to 75 mph. I have only gotten into the throttle a few times and never touched redline.
  • Yikes, that kind of noise would scare me too. I have the 2.0 I4 with 3K miles and although the engine is generally noisey I haven't experienced a specific knock. It seems unlikely the oil change could be responsible, although I haven't heard of mixing petrol base and synthetic even though they are compatible. Change back to your usual oil and see if the noise goes away, if not I would take it to a good foreign auto mechanic and have him listen with a auto stethoscope and with that info see your Suzuki service manager. Good luck, keep us posted.

    I just installed from GM accessories a quality made skid plate package which included a large front plate and a long narrow transfer case plate, both from heavy gauge steel. This design is much better than Suzuki accessories plate which hangs down from the frame with brackets. GM's bolts directly to the frame. It fits from '99, 2 dr. and 4 dr., 2 and 4wd.
  • While driving the 2001 V-6 Tracker, made by Suzuki, the third to fourth gear shift in the automatic transmission seems to shift into a neutral position, then goes into fourth gear. This has happened twice in the last month. It will go into neutral for maybe 1 second. When I mean neutral, I mean the engine will increase in RPM, like it is out of gear, then with a clunk the transmision will active again and will be in fourth gear. Has anyone had experiences with this? The vehicle is 5 months old with 6,000 miles on it.
  • hhlshhls Posts: 10
    I was close to buying a 2001 CR- EX, Automatic, including dest chg. $19,670, but I'm not completely convinced to go with Honda. I've been seeing the Grand Vitara around and now I'm in the process of researching it and learning more about it. Can anyone share info they've learned by comparing the CR-V to the Grand Vitara? I lean toward Honda because of the reputation for reliability, but the GV seems to be a great value... Thanks in advance for your comments.
  • If you like a car that looks like an SUV, the honda is probably better than the Suzuki. Although I have heard and read that the Forrester is better as a car-like SUV than the honda.
    If you plan to get off the road, the Suzuki is the only small alternative.
    I had a Sidekick for three years and gave it 100,000 miles. Now I have a Grand vitara. In 7 weeks I have added about 4000 miles to it. It seems perfectly fine.
    Overall, I would not buy any thing other than a Suzuki.
  • ibtissamibtissam Posts: 1
    I am in the process of shopping for a new car

    I really like the GV
    I was offered one for $18000 with 13000 miles
    I would trade my Mazda 94 with 50.000 miles for $3500
    is it a good deal
    please some advice on what goes wrong with NV and if it would last for 100.000 headache free
    thanks for your respond
  • andgieandgie Posts: 1
    I need to buy a new car and was looking at basically everything, when I fell in love with the GV. I think I got a really good deal on it. The only thing that is holding me back is that I dont know anything about Suzuki.I dont know anyone that has owned one before either. I was also considering the Rav4 but got disgusted with Toyota and its lack of standard options. Any help or comments would be greatly appreciated.
  • I would tell a HELP!! to read the Chevy Tracker Town Hall comments. Eventhough Suzuki makes both GV and Tracker, the Chevy is cheaper due to rebates.
  • mjordan3mjordan3 Posts: 1
    In spite of all the P*#$@#g & Moaning I hear about this vehicle from the "Acura driving press review types", having owned this thing since August 2K has made me realize what a gem of a car (ooopps) SUV this is. I mean its really neat, and unique. I have never had problems with it, and it behaves itself perfectly in all ways. Gas mileage could be better - but it beats the heck out of the cookie cutter mold of the Honda, Toyota and whatever else we're hip to drive around town and 'Oh, look what i've got parked in MY driveway' crowd.

    Therefore, in certain terms, I highly recommend this understated ride to the discriminating dude or dudess who wants things a bit different when the V6 mill is 'fired off', subsiquently followed by unplanned urban vehicular adventures to the local shopping mall followed closely by a torturious trek to the fast food joint drive thru. Its even good enough for five hour drives back and forth to Florida - In sumptious leather decor wrapped comfort I might add, y'all! Henceforth, thinking about buying one are you? . . .well go ahead - you'll have no worries at all.
  • 88218821 Posts: 2
    very disappointed w/ performance of gv in snow. I had a near mishap, & my wife slid into a snowbank 2 weeks ago. gv feels "out of control" in certain conditions that cars are doing fine in. traction very poor-rear end fishtails easily. called body shop to check out status of repairs, & there were 2 other gv's in there!!!
    Bought this for winters in ne pa, but will be getting rid of come next winter. feel much more comfortable in 2wd subaru legacy. what's the use of 4wd if vehicle is too light-what i'm hearing now.
    need to hear from others on how their gv reacted in slippery conditions.this thing is a MAJOR disappointment!!
  • orlyorly Posts: 5
    My 2000 GV V6 has 24K miles. Around 20K miles i started to hear a similar knock. Dealer said it was sediment in lifters, but I didn't think so.

    Took to another dealer, who actually inspected it and determined that a timing belt tensioner had come off, and was knocking around in there. They ordered the part, and replaced it at no cost (under warranty!).
  • roseb1roseb1 Posts: 2
  • gsxr8ugsxr8u Posts: 1
    Reading around in here I see some problems I have not had with my GV. I bought it new in March 99, and it's a great vehicle, gets around good in the snow (Iowa) as long as your in 4wd, and has good cargo room for a mini-Ute. I now have 33,000 miles. I use it to tow my motorcycle quite often, and it tows well. I am a little dissapointed in the stereo system, with all that car makers are putting in for sound systems now, they need to work on that one. I have had no major problems, and only had it to the dealership twice for unusual rattles that got repaired at n/c. In the notes above, I noticed someone that went to Jiffy Lube and they said they put in a 50/50 blend of synthetic and premium. I worked at a Jiffy Lube for 2 years, and my advice would be to never let them talk you into anything but Valvoline 10/30. They are not trained as mechanics, or anyone you would want to ask for car advice, unless it's a air filter. They are trained to sell the expensive services and oil. Synthetic is good for motors after they have been broke in well, but once you go to synthetic, you shouldn't go back. I don't know if that would cause the knock, but hopefully you have consulted a mechanic.
  • isellpotiacisellpotiac Posts: 122
    your GV does not have a timing belt, it has a timing chain.
  • orlyorly Posts: 5
    You're right isellpotiac, it's a timing chain. That's one of the reasons I bought the GV in the first place!

    Still running great. I just put in new speakers and CD player... Other than that running great.
  • ckyeungckyeung Posts: 9
    I read from the edmunds website that GV is assembled in Japan whereas Tracker is assembled in Canada? Is that really the case? I thought the two vehicles are almost identical. If they are assembled in different countries, they may be different in terms of their reliability. Any idea?
    I appreciate your help in advance. Thank you
  • zeke707zeke707 Posts: 74
    The Chev Tracker and Suzuki Vitara 2 & 4 dr trucks are built in Canada by Cami. (See I believe the engines and transmissions are built in Japan, shipped to Canada and installed in the Cami built units. Don't have any idea on reliability of Japan vs Canada built. Many of the posts I read about the Cami built trucks indicate if you maintain them they will last for many miles (over 150k and more).
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