Suzuki hoped that a mid-size pickup would appeal to its wide base of motorcycle, ATV, and marine customers, but the Equator has barely registered a blip on the sales charts since its debut for the 2009 model year. Still, without the resources to conceive and create a truck of its own, Suzuki picked a solid donor in the Nissan Frontier. Like the Frontier, the Equator is built in Tennessee and offers a choice of four- and six-cylinder dual-overhead-cam engines, but the Suzuki's are covered by a longer factory warranty (seven years/100,000 miles). Unfortunately, our favorite Frontier powertrain -- the V-6 with a six-speed manual gearbox -- isn't available in the Equator. In fact, the only stick shift is a five-speed bolted to the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, an engine offered exclusively in extended-cab models -- which, by the way, feature old-school flip-up jump seats that are best suited for people built like (and with the dexterity of) female gymnasts. Equator crew cabs come with practical back seats and the powerful V-6, and optional features include heated leather front seats, a sunroof, and a roof rack. Japanese-badged versions of American-branded or -built pickups haven't fared all that well in recent years (think Isuzu i290/i370 and Mitsubishi Raider), and so far it appears that very few of Suzuki's loyal power-sports customers have taken the plunge on a new Equator. With the recent demise of the Ram Dakota and the Ford Ranger, however, the Equator might get a new lease on life.
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