What does the world need now? At this moment, I sincerely doubt the answer lies with more pickup trucks, but here's Suzuki's offering - which is little more than a warmed-over Nissan Frontier.
That isn't, mind you, a bad thing. Using a frame derived from Nissan's full-size Titan pickup, the Frontier is a solid, rugged, and capable pickup - so too, then, is the Equator. Apart from the front sheetmetal (which curiously resembles that of a Toyota Tacoma), the Equator is all-Frontier from the A-pillar on back. The same goes for the interior, which - aside from Suzuki-embroidered floor mats and a chrome 'S' on the grille, is just as you'd find it on the Frontier.
I'm not normally a pickup person, but over the six days I drove the Equator, I found myself falling for the truck. It was plenty practical for both cargo (I was an inch shy of fitting a double mattress in the bed) and passengers (four adults rode along to help move said mattress), and the powertrain - a 4.0-liter version of Nissan's exemplary VQ engine mated to a five-speed automatic - propelled the truck along without breaking a sweat. Yes, it shudders its way around broken freeway like a good, old-fashioned body-on-frame pickup, but it refrains from breaking any spinal cords or inducing motion sickness while doing so. I'd argue it's a great truck - but then again, so is the Frontier.
I can't tell if a Frontier by any other rhinoplasty still looks as sweet. I'm partial to the Frontier's front clip, and Nissan also offers a host of package and trim combinations one can't find on the Suzuki. Though American Suzuki hasn't yet released pricing or package information, I'm predicating the Equator will cater to the same "crowds" who buy the Isuzu I-370: those who want a name-brand truck, but with a lengthy warranty and a cut-rate price.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer