Review 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara: the smallest truck in the U.S. remains its old, friendly self


Just about the same machine since 2006 – this is to say, that the Grand
Vitara is still the same “nice” machine. Yes indeed, the 2010 Suzuki
Grand Vitara’s main change is its portable navigation system and some
minor trim changes. The rest of the Suzuki remains its old, friendly

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara is rather basic compared with its peers.

I was going to compare it to a Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester as they
fit within the same bracket. Then, it dawned on me – the Suzuki Grand
Vitara could make an ideal camping vehicle! With the economy being what
it is and ownership costs rising on all types of vehicles, the Suzuki
Grand Vitara represents a solid value and a killer warranty (7 years or
100,000 mile powertrain).

Suzuki’s grand Vitara is the smallest truck for sale in our market. Yes, it is
a ‘real’ truck because of its body on frame design. This in turn gives
the Vitara a rugged undercarriage and a good (for its size) tow rating
of up to 3,000 lbs – more than enough to yank a tent/pop-up trailer

Do you want 4-wheel-drive (4WD)? Ya’ ain’t getting it with a 5-speed
manual transmission. That’s only available in the rear wheel drive base
model. A five-speed automatic is the only way Suzuki sells its Grand
Vitara which is a shame as the 2.7 liter V6 puts out a mediocre 185
horsepower and 184 foot pounds of torque – a manual would help.

Try a SX4 Crossover if you want 4WD and a stick.

As it stands, the 4WD Suzuki Grand Vitara drives nicely, handles
predictably and is a pleasant all around Colorado car. What stands out
is its actual ability to do some rough-house off road rambling. That’s
a real, locking low-gear in there – good for some medium duty off
highway ability. Few crossovers can hope to match the Suzuki in the
rough – other than the Jeep Patriot with Freedom Drive II… and for the
money and towing capability (and better transmission) I would pick the
Suzuki Grand Vitara.

My biggest gripes deal with low power (seriously – it needs 50 more
horsepower) and its swing-out cargo door. I don’t mind 0 to 60 mph
times in nearly 10 seconds – but to not have access to the cargo area
because some dope pulled up too close to your rear bumper is hard to


The interior is nice enough with seats that are comfortable all around.
For me, I would have liked an additional inch of legroom and lowering
ability (there is a ratchet lowering/lifting handle for the driver’s
seat). I love the navigation device which is the size of an iPhone and

There was good room for a baby and child’s seat with a nice amount of
storage room in the cargo area – just not as much as many competitors.
Sightlines are acceptable with small blind spots at the rear corners.
Driving comfort was acceptable and the Suzuki had good road manners for
a SUV.

What chaffed some might not bother others with this simple, rugged runabout's slightly tippy movements when pushed hard.

With prices starting less than 20K and going up to a bit under $30,000
for a fully loaded ‘Limited’ V6 – the Suzuki Grand Vitara represents a
good value (especially with the excellent TRANSFERABLE warranty).

There was one thing that did inspire me with the Suzuki Grand Vitara; I
caught sight of a family in one (a 2008 I think) towing a trailer, both
covered in red mud zooming back from Moab, Utah. At a gas station, the
owner of the mud covered Vitara waived at me and asked how I liked


He reminded me that the 4WD system in the Vitara can be put into
‘neutral’ freeing the drive train from the free-rolling wheels, thus
becoming a snap for an RV to tow (and not accumulating any mileage or
wear & tear on the drive line). Good stuff for Colorado campers I
should say. After the brief conversation, he told me that after 100,000
miles and loads of abuse, the little Suzuki has been totally reliable
and a joy to own.

I guess that’s the best endorsement for the little guy.

Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car
sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out
of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to
enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his
page HERE. Photos by: N.D.

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