Suzuki's Grand Vitara has to be the most under-the-radar vehicle on the market. Despite that, this is a credible entry for small SUVs. The driving experience is by no means class-leading, but it meets expectations.
The 3.2-liter V-6 provides sufficient thrust and is quite smooth. Steering is on par with the segment, lacking in feel, but responding as you expect. The five-speed automatic provides drama-free gear changes on the way up, with slight pulses on down shifts. Body control is a bit loose, but not egregious.
Styling, both inside and out, doesn't hold up quite as well. The exterior lines appear dated while the interior uses a strange faux finish on some of the interior trim pieces. To my eyes it appears to be an imitation of marble, which is a bizarre choice even if Suzuki could create a more convincing finish. Suzuki's navigation strategy of offering a Garmin unit in a pop-up door is a weak substitution for an integrated unit. Sure, the price is good (free, as it's standard), but those who want a Garmin can go to their local electronics store.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor