by J.T. Hills
SGN Contributing Writer
- Completely Redesigned for 2007
- Larger more powerful engine
- Upscale luxury features for modest price
- Wide turning radius
- Automatic transmission seemed confused at times
- Interior ergonomics not necessarily intuitive
When one tends to think about Suzuki you tend to associate it with motorcycles, maybe boat motors… unfortunately for Suzuki, you don’t think of mid-sized family crossovers. The new for 2007 Suzuki XL7 does a lot for the underexposed auto manufacturer. The XL7 is an extended version of the Chevrolet Equinox with optional seating for up to seven passengers and a peppy 3.6 liter V6 engine that betters its GM counterpart. After a week with the 2007 Suzuki XL7 Limited, I’ve compiled a brass tacks list of highly technical scientific data based upon observations, experimentation, tabulations, inspections and so forth. Here we go:
Is it really okay to name a family vehicle after a tag line for a personal ad?
The 2007 Suzuki XL7 is the predecessor of the grandest of Vitara’s, the Grand Vitara XL-7. The previous generation was a truck based rear wheel drive SUV where as the current model is a car based crossover that shares the same platform as the before mentioned Chevy Equinox and Pontiac Torrent. The 2007 XL7 model is 9.3 inches bigger than the ‘06, 2.1 inches wider, and has a wheel base that is 2.2 inches longer. So, it’s bigger, wider, longer--that’s all good. In addition to an all new exterior and increased dimensions, the XL7 also comes with a more refined sophisticated interior. With all this space, I decided to take it on a road trip and do some camping in Eastern Washington.
The XL7 Limited comes with a 3.6 liter V-6 engine that delivers 252 HP and 243 lb ft of torque. Suzuki gives it a zero to 60 rating of 8.0 sec. The two wheel driver version that I tested gets an estimated 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. In the 800 miles I put on the car, I got a mixed use rating of 22 mpg. The V6 engine is pretty peppy with smooth acceleration and plenty of power to pass at freeway speeds. At cruising speeds though, it tends to shift a lot when trying to sustain an average speed. There was a lot of speeding up and then slowing down when not using the cruise control. Handling was on par with many crossovers in this category, although not necessarily invigorating or exciting. The XL7 does have a large turning radius, which makes parking more of a challenge. Also, the Suzuki would do well with a rear back-up camera. There tended to be a lot of blind spots and the outside mirrors did little to compensate for this.
There is plenty of room in the cabin for four adults and a couple of kids, although with the third row seat up, cargo goes on the roof. The Limited edition comes standard with nice touches like leather seating surfaces, dual zone climate controls, and a seven speaker audio system. For some reason, the designers decided to put the power window controls in the center consol. Maybe to give it more of a European flair, but the design detail was lost on me. The test vehicle came equipped with an optional touch screen navigation system combined with a sunroof. The XL7 also has an available DVD entertainment center, but for some odd reason you can’t combine the Nav and the DVD together. The Nav system works pretty well. I have a sister who works as a trainer on a horse ranch out in some God-forsaken wheat field in the middle of the state. It took me to the town, but wasn’t able to locate the ranch on the country roads. Unfortunately, it doesn’t let you know you’re about to get lost until you’re out in the middle of no where in 100 degree heat and nothing in sight but a grain elevator… At least the air conditioner works very well.
OK, for a before tax price of $30,149 what do you get?
The 2007 Suzuki XL7 Limited 2WD comes with a base price of $27,949, and comes with an impressive list of standard features that come as options on many of its competitors. A quick look at the favorites includes:
- 252 hp 3.6 liter V6 engine
- Five speed automatic transmission
- MacPherson strut front suspension with multi-link rear suspension
- Self leveling rear suspension
- All-season traction control
- Driver and front passenger front airbags, side curtain airbags
- Anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control
- Flat tire monitor
Comfort and Convenience
- Dual zone climate control
- 7-speaker audio system
- 6-way power drivers seat
- Leather appointed interior
- Heated front seats
- Remote start
- Fog Lamps
- Power windows, locks and mirrors
- Platinum Touring Package that includes Touch screen navigation, power sunroof, 17” chrome wheels ($2,200)
- XM satellite radio receiver ($300)