The Japanese debut of Grand Vitara XL-7 was held in the fall of 2000, and the world premiere took place in early 2001 in Detroit. This is the largest Suzuki car in the entire 80-year history of the company. The impressive index is indicated by the index XL-7 added to the name, which stands for Extra Large, and seven means the number of seats.
At the base of the car is the stretched standard spar frame of the usual 5-door Grand Vitara. The wheelbase has increased from 2480 to 2800 mm, and the length has increased from 4195 to 4685 mm. The SUV has turned out more solid and respectable than its progenitor. The main advantage of Grand Vitara XL-7 - a spacious lounge, which has three rows of seats and can accommodate 7 people. The car is very roomy and functional. First, due to a significant increase in the base. Secondly, the rear doors are much longer than the front doors, and this made access to the third row of seats more comfortable.
And, finally, due to the stepped roof construction rising above the second and third row, the XL-7 ceilings are quite high even for tall people. But there is one caveat, if in the front and in the second row passengers of medium height can sit comfortably, then there is very little legroom in the back. By folding the rear seats, luggage space can be increased to 2.05 m³. Salon XL-7 is extremely tight and does not bother with extraneous noises and the sound of the engine running, and the vibration of the suspension is reduced by the developers to a minimum. The driver's seat is quite comfortable and has a wide range of longitudinal adjustment, however, at the backrest adjustment is stepped.
Landing is almost vertical, but comfortable. The steering wheel with a well-chosen cross section is located at an optimal angle (the range of adjustments is such that it allows you to find the ideal position). The instrument panel is as modest as it is functional, all vital information is read at a glance. Paddle switches perform standard functions, however, cruise control is also entrusted to the right. The center console looks somewhat archaic: in its upper part there is a long row of buttons responsible for the distribution of air flow, just below - three old-fashioned horizontal engines, which control temperature, intensity and the location of the air flow.
Between the seats there is an automatic transmission selector and a transmission shift lever. There are three of them: 2H - rear-wheel drive, 4H - permanent four-wheel drive and 4L - permanent four-wheel drive with a reduction gear. Separately, I would like to note the high quality of finishing materials of the salon Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7. The standard set includes: central locking, electric mirrors and power windows, 12-volt connector for rear seat passengers, cruise control, climate control system with air filter, adjustable armrests for the front seats, second and third-row folding seats, tinted glass and rear window heater.
The Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 Plus received additional rear climate control vents, a separate airflow control dial, an AM / FM receiver with a built-in CD player and 16-inch aluminum discs. In the Touring package relies ABS, rear spoiler, electric sunroof, audio system with built-in player for CD / audio cassettes and automatic box. "Top" Limited models are also equipped with leather interior. Regardless of the type of configuration, there is a 173-hp 2.7-liter V6 engine under the hood of the car. When creating a fully aluminum engine technologies used in the manufacture of motorcycles were used. Its capacity is enough to cope with a trailer loaded up to 150 kg.
This model can be equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox or automatic. The automatic transmission can operate in 2 modes: “normal” and “power”. Grand Vitara XL-7 was created, above all, as a family car, and therefore the manufacturer focused on ensuring its safety. The sturdy frame structure of the body with crossbars provides reliable cab protection and is designed with built-in deformation zones at the front and rear. Of particular note are reinforced front and rear struts, as well as beams inside each door, protecting passengers from side impact.
The newest security systems include dual airbags, constantly burning low beams, rear door locking, child seat anchorages, and a standard first aid kit. Side airbags are available as an option. Sometimes the Grand Vitara XL-7 of the first years of production is reproached for the lack of aggressiveness of the exterior, but Suzuki specialists worked on this when it was time to somewhat refresh the exterior of the model. After modernization in 2003, the car acquired a more recognizable and distinctive look. Large searchlights, headlights, combined with turn signals, received polycarbonate caps, and the grille lit up with a wide chrome strip.
Recycled and the front bumper, now it makes the car a little longer and therefore more solid, but the geometric cross suffered with it. It is noteworthy that the top version of the Grand Vitara XL-7 is equipped with sixteen-inch wheels with special design wheels, which you will not see in any Suzuki. The main new part of the cabin is the instrument panel with optical illumination. Red arrows and white-lunar scales of devices flash only after turning the ignition key.
By the way, before the starter starts spinning, a greeting appears in the window of the electronic odometer, and turning off the ignition is accompanied by a kind "See you!", After which the devices smoothly go out. The front panel is made in a classic style and created from scratch. Simplicity is gone, conciseness has appeared. On the center console there are three round climate control knobs, the rotation of which rims can be used to set the temperature, fan speed and air flow directions. To the right of the handles there is a wheel that controls the intensity of the air supply to the rear seat area; and just above them they found their place electronic clock.
The old steering wheel was successfully replaced by a new one - with three broad spokes and a large emblem in the center of the hub. In addition, the steering wheel rim is quite pleasant to the touch and has an optimal cross-section and diameter. The steering column is adjustable only on the angle of inclination. On an average sofa moderately spacious. The central tunnel is not very high, there is enough legroom. But on the third-row seats only children can comfortably accommodate.
In addition, the luggage compartment in the 7-seater version is quite small. Therefore, if there is no serious need in the rear seats, they are better folded - you get 5 seats and a large trunk with a flat floor. Grand Vitara XL-7 has good visibility. Headrests with holes do not overlap the rear view, and almost vertical front pillars do not interfere in turns. Oval side mirrors show everything that is happening on the sides of the car, and due to the high height they can be adjusted so that you can see the road behind, and what takes place in front of the rear wheels, which is especially important during off-road maneuvers.
From the point of view of design, the upgraded XL-7 has practically not changed - the body on the spar frame, McPherson pillars in front and the rigid rear axle on the springs at the rear, all wheel drive connected without center differential. But on the engine worked, making it a little more powerful. The power unit capacity of 2.7 liters V6 24V now has a power of 184 hp and it is aggregated either with a 5-step “mechanics” or with a new 5-step “automatic”. For some European markets, a 2.0 liter R4 8V turbo diesel with 109 hp is also offered.
The main element of the new Grand Vitara XL-7 is asphalt roads, although the classic frame construction, four-wheel drive, low gear allow the car to feel confidently on the roads.