Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited V6 4WD
While it's built using the unibody construction that typically categorizes a crossover, the Grand Vitara has a lot in common with a more traditional SUV. Its boxy shape and general proportions suggest a vehicle that's a downsized truck, rather than a hopped-up wagon. As its mechanicals indicate, it also has some off-road potential. There's a low range, a locking center differential, and hill-descent control.
At $28,448, the Suzuki Grand Vitara is significantly cheaper than the other two crossovers here. However, it also comes up short on content, without satellite radio, a power driver's seat, or a USB audio input. The navigations system is just a small, portable Garmin unit that's tucked into a flip-up lid on top of the dash. It's an affordable solution, but so is buying a Garmin from your local electronics store, and it can't provide the larger screen and more complete features of an integrated unit.
The current-generation Grand Vitara was released for the 2006 model year and already it feels and looks tired and dated. The simplistic exterior design fails to stand out, and the cabin's style and materials are more suitable for a $17,000 car. The interior execution is clean and well assembled, but the cockpit clearly lags behind the competition. For example, the faux burl wood accent pieces are both unconvincing and out of place in this Suzuki.