For some reason, there are a few auto companies whose models we seem to drive more than others. For many years, it was Suzuki, from those tiny Aerios, to its Sx4 line of crossovers to its lineup of SUVS, we drove ‘em all.
We’ve known the Grand Vitara, for a few years now, for example.
The Grand Vitara is comparable to the Equinox, Ford Escape, Subaru Outback, and Honda CR-V, but strikes us as a little more luxurious.
There is a touch of maturity to this car, seeming less like a “mom car” than one a young twentysomething could drive, with no funny looks from his friends. We drove the 2.4-liter four-cylinder version of the Grand, as it’s the only offering for 2012, with automatic and rear-wheel drive, though its available with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
With the Arroyo Seco Parkway between Downtown and Pasadena as our prime staging area, the Grand Vitara was well-meaning, but sluggish from a standing start. At freeway speeds, you’ll get a little extra if you really need it, but don’t expect miracles.
There’s a surprising amount of legroom and comfort for the driver, which means that everyone else has less room, but unless you’re transporting a hockey team and their sticks, most humans should ride comfortably.
The Grand Vitara is safe enough, with front side and side-curtain airbags, stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes, but apparently doesn’t score well in safety tests. Nonetheless, we found, as we do each year, a lot to like in the Grand Vitara from comfort to roominess. There is little or no danger of winning any races, though.
Our test model came with all the available options including real-time safety camera, a premium seven-speaker audio system; There’s also Bluetooth hands-free calling, which every car should have, end of story.
Call us softies. We like Suzukis. We think they’re an underappreciated line with just enough show to make up for the lack of go.