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Suzuki Grand Vitara (2005 and earlier)



  • Hi All,

    I had gotten my GV with the window gard accessory, when I brought it back to the dealer complaining of excessive wind noise the mechanic/technician that went on the test drive with me, said it was probably the window gards. So he took them off, and WOW there was a significant (70-80%) reduction in wind noise, there is still a little but I can live with it. I'm going to try "gone2sea"'s idea of keeping the rear windows open a bit.

    I'm not familiar with "safety siped" tires can "djwood" or anyone else educate me (and others)

    Thanks Much
  • Went on a road trip this weekend....they adjusted the throttle which did help the acceleration, but at 73-78 mph the vibration is still there. You can physically see the steering wheel shaking and feel it in the seats. The a/c didn't leak, but they have wrapped the outside with some sort of heavy plastic, so of course it won't leak inside. Do you think that is normal? and do you have any ideas at all on the vibration? They said they did some sort of high speed test on the tires and didn't see any vibration, but on the road there is.
  • Spoke to a few retailers about tires and rims for the GV since I travel a fair bit through the snowbelt here. For the GV, I have found the following that are in the 236/60R16 size.
    Hakka Q's
    Michelin Arctic Alpin's
    Bridgestone Blizzak MZ-02's
    Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice
    Toyo GP-4's with the Microbit Technology (Walnut shells in the rubber)

    Cost wise, they are all pretty close except the Toyo's being cheaper.

    My question is (Based on your experience with these tires, and not based on what we read in Consumer Reports or otherwise), what do you think will be best for a location with black ice, snow, and freezing rain as part of the environment????
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    My wife just called from the dealer, sure enough, he claimed because the tires have more than 20,000 miles on them, they refuse to do anything other than adjust pressure. The truck has 20,100 on it, so they cleverly pulled the 20K number out of thin air. They thoughtfully lowered my tire pressure to 26 psi. What a deal. Also, they claimed not to feel the shake in the steering. Seems like a whole bunch of contradictions going around.

    Ah, dealerships. I wish instead of warranty, I could get $$ back and do all of my own work instead. At least it'd be done correctly.

    Kelly B
    '99 JLX+, 5 speed
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Akashino, sorry but I've used only Yokohama Guardex 600's. They use a similar 'crushed walnut' technology, only using nylon fiber, it works remarkably well. I've got a set of four on our Dodge Intrepid, and the car is almost as sure-footed as when driving in the dry, truly amazing. Another nice thing about them is the Yokohamas have their snow/ice tread all the way to the wear bars, unlike the Bridgestones which become all-season tires halfway through.

    I've heard the Michelin Artic Alpin is just wonderful on ice, giving up some snow traction. Looking at how the tire is heavily siped, I can believe it.

    Kelly B
    '99 JLX+, 5 speed
  • I have a Suzuki sidekick 1994 with 125000 miles on it. Only major problem was wiring harness needed replacement at 110,000. I drove a GV 6 cylinder this weekend and the engine sounded really bad. dealer claimed that it was a compression noise which would disappear after 1000. Has anyone noticed the noisy engine? My sidekick is very quiet, you can't tell if the engine is running or not but the GV sounds very tinny.

    am thinking of trying the gv 4 cylinder next weekend. I love the car, the price but am afraid of the engine noise.
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Listen to another one. Mine, with the hood up, doesn't shake or make noise, 'cept for the engine-driven fan. Sounds like there was something wrong with the one you heard.

    Kelly B
    '99 JLX+, 5 sp., 20,200 mi
  • You must be a mechanic??? Well, I thought the same thing (imagine, a woman that can come up with these ideas...) but wanted to get another opinion. Don't think I will say anymore to the dealer...will deal directly with the Suzuki/Attorney General's office now. Let them decide if my car is a "lemon"...thanks for all your help!!!
  • I have a 1999 with 2850 miles on it. There is no vibration from engine with hood up or down, in park or in gear, and sometimes I forget that it's already started by the time I buckle up and adjust everything. Very little engine noise except under hard acceleration above 3000 rpm. Try another. Only complaint I have is tire noise at 60-65 mph. No vibration, just noise. I've reduced it by using 30 to 31 psi instead of 26 as I think Kellyb suggested many posts ago. Other than that very happy.
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Thanks for the praise, and yeah, I probably should be a mechanic, but being a mutual fund portfolio manager pays better. Also, my wife sometimes points out things I miss. It isn't a gender thing, it's a way of thinking, and having an interest in things mechanical. I've taught her how to do brake work and stuff like that, she's more than willing to learn how it all works and goes together, even if I do the work. She gets recruited for garage work more often than not, and she enjoys it. Of course, she also like sitting on the garage couch and supervising.

    Good luck with the Lemon Law!!

    Kelly B
    '99 JLX+, 5 sp., 20,300 mi
  • to supe93,

    If it wasn't for the tachometer, I'd never know my GV's engine was on under 3000 rpm!

  • bko12bko12 Posts: 2
    Until I found this site I thought I got the one bad apple concerning my 1999 Vitara. I have experienced the vibration and the chintzy attempts by Suzuki to eliminate the vibration. It has been extremely frustrating because I too really love this vehicle. I only wish I would have found this site sooner. On 23 November I go into arbitration for a replacement vehicle with the BBB and Suzuki Corp. I would appreciate anyone who could email me with their experiences concerning the vibration. Suzuki Corp has stated they are unaware of a problem with vibration in any of their vehicles. I want to submit them as exhibits for my case to defuse their attempts at ignorance. I would really appreciate your responses, as many as I can get. If I am sucessful I will gladly assist or share my experience with anyone who is attempting to pursue the lemon law.
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Hmmm, Suzuki doesn't know about it, eh? Then they should read the thrashing they got in the last issue of Automobile. They dealer said steering wheel vibration is endemic to the vehicle. Good luck, but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts the new one will do it, too.

    Some people seem to have cleared it up with new, non-OEM tires, picky tire balance, and an alignment. Personally, I think the trucklet needs a steering damper, but if Suzuki admitted that, they'd be on the hook for what could be a few hundred dollar recall on each vehicle.

    Kelly B
    '99 JLX+, 5 sp., 20,600 mi, steering shake=yes
  • bko12bko12 Posts: 2
    I think it is very odd that so many people have this same problem and no one is reporting it to the National Highway Transp. Safety Admin. I checked their site only 19 people have submitted complaints. The complaints are sent to Suzuki and they are provided time to fix it. If too many reports are submitted the NHTSA they can force Suzuki to do a recall on the tires, rims, driveshaft,....whatever the problem is. I called the NHTSA, they said normally 50 complaints and they start looking into it. If they confirm the defect they can direct Suzuki to recall. What irks me the most is Suzuki's attitude that its a little problem and they just putz around fixing it. 4 months and mine is the same, they do alittle fix here and there but nothing that actually eliminates it. When I called I spoke with the Suzuki reps they all said it was the "first" they heard of it. Thanks for the letting me about Automobile Magazine, I am taking the copy with me. Incase I am "stuck" with this vehicle what kind of tires should I be looking at getting? Thanks again.
  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Thanks for the info, NHTSA will have another complaint today.

    Tires, well, I prefer Michelin for passenger car tires, BFGoodrich, if you're looking for an aggressive all-terrain. These are just my personal choices.

    Speaking of tires, even with 9 inches of the white stuff this morning, I managed to get out of my rather steep gravel driveway with the nearly shot OEM tires. The GV is like a mechanical goat, pure and simple. Well, it hasn't developed any offensive habits, yet. ;-)

    Okay, it did take me a half a dozen tries to actually get all the way to the top, but I had to 'plow' it first.

    Kelly B
    '99 JLX+, 5 sp., 20,400 mi
  • After reading the above posts, I bought a copy of the dec 99 Automobile magazine. They certainly did trash the GV!

    Aside from the persistent vibration, I thought the rest of their criticisms were kind of bogus. It certainly would be nice if someone got to the bottom of this issue.

    After reading it, I am glad that we got the standard (if what they say about the auto and power is really true).

    Our GV experience is very different. It's a pleasure to drive, handles great, is quiet, ours handles very well at highway speeds and always feels stable. We've never felt any lack of power for passing, etc--just the opposite.

    I agree about the superb off-road performance. Once you set it in 4L and hit the rough stuff, the machine just begs for more!

    I read the review aloud to my wife, and we mostly just looked at each other and wondered how we could have such an overwhelmingly positive view of the machine when these people could hardly get themselves to say the words "grand vitara" without puking?

    We laughed when we read Megan McCann's summary at the end. The on-road performance was so bad that she was afraid to take it off road lest it snaps in half..? Come on! Megan is clearly an imcompetent twit.

    What they feel is bad, we seem to love. 4 doors, solid construction, extremely reliable..etc. When we camp or go on an extended trip, we pull a little trailer--storage problem solved.

    I can honestly say that this is my first and last copy of Automobile I'll ever buy. I'm not saying this because they trashed the car we bought, but because their review was so blantantly weird...

    I'm left wondering if a bunch of consumer reports hippies decided to leave and form their own car magazine?!

    My 6 year old really did love the issue though, since he could recognize most of the $50,000 plus cars because of all the training Need For Speed III and NFS High Stakes has given him.

    Apparently, the Automobile wirters can't seem to review an $18,000 4x4. I guess they are too used to reviewing all the machines that most of us can't afford. I guess I'll take their petty critisicms as a compliment.


  • kellybkellyb Posts: 23
    Actually, most of the 'writers' for Automobile are Car & Driver rejects from what I took as a housecleaning @ C&D several years ago. I've been a C&D subscriber since 1980, so I've seen a bunch of changes, and the departure of the now Automobile folks, was a welcome one, IMO.

    Personally, I can't give a magazine which doesn't even do their own performance tests much credibility.

    Honestly, their test way biased against the vehicle from word one. I don't know how they can live with themselves. Fortunately, I didn't buy the magazine, I read it at the stand. Initially, I felt guilty, but quickly got over it.

  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    Sorry, I've lurking here for quite some time and after reading the above comments about the Automobile review, I had to go out and buy a copy. In my estimation, the review is fair, but incomplete. When I read these things, I look for positive points, negative points, and what the writers look for in the total package.

    For example; CR does a nice job of spelling out what they expect from a vehicle. Too bad what they expect is a soft riding economy car with a cargo space. Their review gets my vote for "most out of touch." At least they are honest about it. You can read that right up front and recognize that CR is looking for a wagon, not a truck.

    Oh yeah, back to Automobile. While they don't spell it out like CR, the writers make it fairly obvious what they think these vehicles should be capable of. The criteria are also much more complete than CR's. They provide good examples of the problems and don't just say "it sucked" with no explanation.

    What I take issue with is the fact that the writers don't mention more of the things that the GV has going for it (styling, towing, ground clearance, and low gears). Too many negative points and none of the things that people might fall in love with. For a review to be complete, it has to mention everything about the vehicle, not just the good or (as in this case) the bad.

    For someone like Gone2sea, who is down-sizing from a Blazer, the onroad manners (one example) of the GV are a step up. While they aren't as good as a CR-V, Forester, or RAV4, the bottom line is they are good enough (for him). The rest of the vehicle's positive traits obviously make up for it. Automobile left too many of those out of the article.
  • Hi varmit,

    I'm surprised they belittled the reliability despite noting it so many times.

    I also felt like they selectively made the decision to not take the machine to the dealer to get the vibration worked out. Then they noted how many complaints the vehicle got on the vibration.

    That would be kind of like reviewing a Blazer when the ECU died and they didn't bother to get it fixed. Everyone who tried to drive the thing would make a log entry, so the result is that the thing just sat there for the whole long term review while everyone complained they couldn't drive it off the lot! This is an extreme example, but you get my point. Oh gosh--the brakes don't work right, but we'll just let everyone who test drives it for the next year complain about it, and then we'll tell everyone that all we got were constant complaints! I'm sure that when things happen to other vehicles, they go to the dealer and get them fixed, and this stops the constant stream of complaints...

    They did note that the Suzuki salesman said the problem was indemic to these vehicles. I've never talked to a salesman who could even explain exactly how the 4WD system works on the car either. Not very authoritative.

    Your statement about the reviewers just wanting a wagon reminded me of a story I saw on the network news last year. It was after the crash test results of various SUVs. They started the segment showing SUVs plowing through mud and the rough stuff. Then they showed both cars (with real bumpers) and SUVs in similar fender benders. Of course the SUVs with their sheet metal bumpers did very poorly. Funny thing is that they never showed the cars trying to go through the same terrain as in the opening segment with the SUVs. This kind of one-sided reporting is what we saw in the Auto review.

    Basically, my feeling on reporters these days is that most of them couldn't objectively investigate their way out of a paper bag.

  • Maybe some of you guys can help me out. I have owned a GV since December of last year (21,000) miles on it. I love the car. I experience some vibration in the steering wheel but attributed it to the truck like nature of the vehicle. Just how much vibration are we talking about? Also since this is essentially the same vehicle as the chevy tracker (at least suspension wise) has anybody heard of complaints from tracker owners? If there are no complaints there I would imagine it would have to be attributed to the tires, right? Since I dont beleive the trackers have the bridgestones on them and the suspension is the same. I do agree the bridgestone duelers are awful tires. I am to the point where they need to be replaced already. Great discussion, great insight and great little truck! Let me know what you think!

  • This forum was very helpful in helping me to make a decision to get a 2000 4-door Vitara, so I thought it only fair to post a message with my report on it.

    For me it was Sportage vs. Vitara. In fact, originally I was interested only in 2wd. I eliminated the CRV and RAV 4 on price, and the fact that they are car-based. The Sportage was the emotional favorite going in. I had a soft spot for that car. I like the looks. Once I started researching on the web it became clear that Kia has troubles. In the Sportage forum here at Edmunds it was downright nasty. Of course, the GV had it's share of complaints here too, but they seemed moinor: vibrations, rattles.. that kind of thing. Over at the Kia forum, the niggles were major. SO that made the decision easy.

    I drove both the GV and the plain Vitara and decided the 2.0 liter 4 was enough for me. I think it has plenty of pep. The dealer talked me out of 2wd drive because of resale value (I'm in New England).

    Anyway, the 4 door Vitara JLX is a fantastic buy if you are looking at small SUV's. The motor is quiet, the ride is free of all the vibration problems I've been reading here about the GV. Off road it is very solid and a pleasure to throw around in the dirt. I looked at Trackers, too, but couldn't get the options I wanted at a price as good as the Vitara JLX. This thing is a sleeper because the GV is getting all the attention. You should really consider this model if you are looking at the GV, and if you really don't need the extra power of the V6 - which only felt a bit more powerful to me when I drove it against the 4 cylinder Vitara.

  • Congratulations. Best of luck with the Vitara


    99JLX+ GV, 4000 miles
  • For the last week and a half, we've been on a vacation that contained quite a bit of driving in our GV JLX (which now has 6700 miles on it).

    We have two kids, so there were 4 of us in the vehicle. I gotta say that we had a very comfortable trip. The machine handled excellently, got good gas mileage (averaged 23 mpg), was very quiet, and had barely enough room for all our stuff without putting anything on the roof.

    We came back from our trip very impressed with the level of comfort we had on the trip. The trip also included some 4 wheeling in the Sitgreaves National forest, and the JLX was a complete blast :) The rougher the logging road, the more fun we had. Then back on the pavement at 80 mph, and the machine was just as smooth as could be.

    7 months after our purchase, we have no regrets and would do it again.

  • I have a 99 JLX with the clarion tape deck. I've had it for about 3 months and have blown 3 tape decks!! The dealership can't find the problem, and they think it's something I'm doing. I don't plug anything into the power tap, or use any other electronic appliances in the vehicle. I don't have a garage (they thought it could be a garage door opener). They say there's no known problems with the radio, but I'm suspicious since the same thing happened on the demo unit I had while mine was in the shop. It didn't happen while I had it, but a few days after I turned it back in.
  • k7pak7pa Posts: 1
    I am planning on towing my GV behind my RV. Anyone have any experience doing so? Any known restrictions when towing the GV? Thanks in advance.
  • There are no restrictions on towing GV. Key is to make sure you have transfer case in neutral setting on 4WD selector. There are other things to do also -- owner's manual covers them all.
  • We have 20000 miles on our GV and it is wonderful.I do have to admit that we are Suzuki people having owned eight of them over the last 15 years.I will say that the GV does need a steering dampner.There is more feedback in certain bumps than anyone we have ever owned before.The tires are terrible.They are no good in snow and yes they are too wide for the vehicle.The steering is my major objection.It is very poorly engineered in this regard.As far as reviews are concerned the magazines have never liked Suzukis.I consider myself an expert on cars and I think their products are excellent
  • popoypopoy Posts: 2
    I recently test-drove a 2000 Grand Vitara JLX 5spd. I found it to be a very pleasant and capable ride. Power delivery due to high torque ratings was smooth. The sticker on the truck was $19749. I brought it down to $19000 with tax, title and tags included. Does anybody have an idea of what a good/better price is for the little kicker? Thanks to anyone who can help:-)

    To the guys wondering about the steering wheel vibrations on the GV; it must be a problem with the wheels and tires not balanced properly, or maybe a slight misallignment of the wheels. The truck i tested was free of any rattles or vibrations. Hope this helps any.

    *** I noticed that the shifter was a tad rubberry when shifting. Any thoughts on this?
  • rbalkrbalk Posts: 15
    Right on ... But the shifting will be smooth if you make a few shifts.
    There is a EGroup 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 automatcilly subscribed. You can click and see for yourself.
    Good Luck and enjoy the new mailing list.
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