Suzuki hasn’t exactly received good press for a number of years — and understandably so. Prior to the all-new 2011 Kizashi, no Suzuki product has particularly stood out in the minds of the media and consumers alike. Sure, pricing is affordable, but build quality and powertrain capability tend to suffer as a result.
But if there really is an exception to every rule, the Grand Vitara might just be it. While far from spectacular, this compact SUV holds its own in one of the hottest, most competitive segments of the automotive market. The model may seem to age quickly despite last year’s facelift, but it manages to retain its key attributes and overall appeal.
Aesthetically, the 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara won’t blow you away. In fact, it’s one of the last vehicles people will notice in a crowded parking lot. Still, there’s no denying its assertive lines and character on the road.
Some might criticize its conservative approach, especially at a time when competitors keep raising the bar in terms of flashy, radical designs, but the folks at Suzuki have spoken and they clearly prefer function over form. Sporting the same old truck-like exterior, the Grand Vitara makes a strong statement: "I’m a rugged SUV, not some funky crossover."
It’s a shame that fit and finish undermines its credibility. A quick look beneath the hood shows a couple of hastily-executed details, including a botched paint job.
Inside, the level of refinement goes up despite the ubiquitous hard plastics. The center console brings climate and audio controls together in a modern interface where brushed aluminum accents add some visual spice. I also liked the easy-to-read instruments and the appropriately-sized steering wheel, the latter offering a solid grip.
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