Review: Suzuki Grand Vitara 3dr (2005 – 2014)

Rating:

Cute looking, like old model SWB RAV-4. Useful low, flat luggage area with side opening door.

A bit cruder to drive than RAV-4, yet still a vast improvement on old Vitara. No spare wheel on back from July 2010 to December 2012. Production ended June 2014.

Recently Added To This Review

9 July 2016

2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara (no mention petrol or diesel) used 5 litres of oil between 79,000 miles and 84,000 miles. Reason could be failure of rear crankshaft main seal. Read more

1 December 2014

Suzuki Grand Vitara 2005-2014 shown to be the 3rd most reliable SUV in Warranty Direct's claims records. Read more

4 September 2014

Waterpump seized, shredding timing belt of 2010 Grand Vitara 1.9 diesel (Renault F9Q engine). Resultant damage to engine to cost £4,500 to fix. TMING BELT, TENSIONER AND WATERPUMP NEED CHANGING... Read more

Suzuki Grand Vitara 3dr (2005 – 2014): At A Glance

It may not go down well with everyone, but I really like the styling of the 3-door Vitara. The car is about as close as it possibly could be to the old 3-door RAV-4 without infringing some sort of artistic copyright. And, since you can't buy a new 3-door RAV-4 any more I can see woman buyers flocking to a Suzuki dealer near them.

Suzuki Grand Vitara SWB 2006 Road Test

What does a Suzuki Grand Vitara 3dr (2005 – 2014) cost?

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Suzuki Grand Vitara 3dr (2005 – 2014): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4005–4150 mm
Width 1810–1870 mm
Height 1695 mm
Wheelbase 2440 mm

Full specifications

You get up into the car very easily thanks to no sill at all and a nice, high driver's seat. Despite the short cabin there's plenty of room for a five foot niner behind a five foot niner and the rear backrests recline slightly to make the seats decently comfortable.

If you have a dog, the rear seats tumble-fold forwards (just like the old RAV-4's) leaving a flat floor and the side-opening rear door (also just like the old RAV-4's) leaves a sill low enough for even a Yorkshire Terrier to jump in. I used the car to shift some heavy boxes of books and they were very easy to load. The door has a gas strut that makes it stiffer to push when you are about to obscure the offside rear lights with the spare wheel.

Child seats that fit a Suzuki Grand Vitara 3dr (2005 – 2014)

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What's the Suzuki Grand Vitara 3dr (2005 – 2014) like to drive?

The disproportionately massive, Tonka toy 225/65 R17 Bridgestone Dueller tyres, standard on all 2006 Grand Vitaras, not only look good, they ride ‘speed cushions' and kerbs very well indeed (one good reason for running an urban 4x4).

However the short Vitara doesn't drive quite like a short RAV-4. The main reason is it's basically rear-wheel-drive whereas the RAV has always been basically front-wheel-drive. So though it has rack and pinion steering and fully independent suspension you have to make allowances for its height and short wheelbase. And out on the motorway you soon find it's fitted with a speed limiter.

This comes in the form of exceptionally low gearing, offering a mere 18 miles per thousand rpm. You don't need a calculator to tell you this equates to a lot of noise if you try cruising at 80. You just need a pair of ears.

The big mirrors make it easy to watch the traffic coming past you, and, of course, easy to park because you can see the kerbs. You quickly get used to the way it drives, though. About town the low gearing allows block changing from 3rd to 5th and it's perfectly happy in 5th at 30.

A clever feature is the way the soft side body colour rubbing strips blend into the bodywork so well you don't think there are any until you feel them with your hands.

It's not economical. The combined figure is 32.5mpg and the urban figure is 26.6. And it didn't arrive full so when I brimmed it after 170 miles on the trip the average of 38.2 can't have been accurate. So that's something to bear in mind. About the same consumption as a MINI Cooper, which isn't economical either. And, though a completely different car, is probably on the same wish list as a short Grand Vitara. The icing on the cake would be an automatic.

I liked it, though. I can understand criticisms that it's not a proper 4x4 but very few people who buy one will want a proper 4x4. It's an oddball car, chosen simply because people like its cute and chunky looks rather than for any logical, rational reason. And for townies it's brilliant over speed humps.

 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.6 35 mpg 14.4 s 189 g/km
1.6 16V VVT 33–34 mpg 14.4 s 199–210 g/km
1.9 DDiS 39–40 mpg 12.8 s 183–189 g/km
2.4 32–33 mpg 11.2 s 201–205 g/km

Real MPG average for a Suzuki Grand Vitara 3dr (2005 – 2014)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

90%

Real MPG

25–38 mpg

MPGs submitted

36

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Suzuki Grand Vitara 3dr (2005 – 2014)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best car used car for ground clearance?

I currently drive around 6000 miles a year, all short journeys but often down rutted tracks. I am looking for a second-hand car with good ground clearance for around £5k. I am looking at maybe a Suzuki Jimny but would be grateful for any other suggestions. I currently have a Polo.
We're huge fans of the Suzuki Jimny, but you might find it a bit old fashioned after your Polo. It certainly doesn't drive like a hatchback, with vague steering and little in the way of sound insulation. A Suzuki Grand Vitara will be nicer to drive, while an SX4 might be a better compromise between a car and a 4x4. Also, consider a Toyota RAV4 - they're good to drive, and the 2000-2006 RAV4 is available as a short three-door model.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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