DALLAS, May 31, 2012 — The 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara is a compact SUV with a light, easy feel that makes it more for the buyer looking for light off duty versus hard and heavy driving. Another plus not to be ignored is the large cargo space for long haul driving.
Added for 2012 is one additional trim called the Ultimate Adventure Edition, and there is also a new design on the tailgate, but with the new design the full-size spare tire is also missing now.
It’s a nice looking vehicle to be sure and the standard features are above par with some extra goodies that often come only as options, like the automatic climate control and the nav system, but the lack of power under the hood is a real downer if you have a meatier engine in mind.
Competition here is the Hyundai Tucson and the Kia Sportage or you might even take a look at the Honda CR-V and the Toyota Rav4, the latter two being a bit pricier.
For trims there are four to choose from the base, Premium, Ultimate Adventure Edition, and the Limited. For the base you get standard features like 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry, power accessories, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, and even a trip computer.
On the midrange Premium trim, there is all the base model goodies and then add to that a rear privacy glass, heated mirrors on the 4WD models, and cruise control. Also optional on the four-wheel-drive are 16-inch alloy wheels.
The new trim Ultimate Adventure Edition has 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, integrated turn signal mirrors, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Going for the top-of-the-line, the Limited model adds a sunroof, roof rack side rails, a tailgate mounted spare tire, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, and seven-speakers for the ultimate audio experience.
Under the hood is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The standard is a five-speed manual transmission on the base model and on the higher end versions there is a four-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the lineup too, and unless you choose the base trim, you can also opt for four-wheel drive. On the Limited, the four-wheel-drive also has low-range gearing.
Like all other compact SUV’s safety is featured with stability control, traction control, antilock disc brakes, full-length side curtain, and front-seat side airbags.
Inside, the 2012 Suzuki Vitara holds five passengers and the interior is attractive enough, not trendy like some we’ve seen in this category, but easy to read dials and gauges make for a comfortable experience overall.
Long-legged folks in the back seat will have room to stretch and that’s always appreciated. The Limited’s leather upholstery also adds value too, but the cloth upholstery is just as easy to get used to in some of the other trims.
Not having a place to store my CD’s and cell phone was a bit of a drag, but I managed for the week while driving it. But for bigger items the cargo space is 69 cubic feet and the seats do have a 60/40 split in the rear for added room.
Overall driving, save for the slower start in the four-cylinder, it’s a perfect “about town” vehicle and the ride is quiet unless at higher speeds on the highway at which point the din is noticeable.
Should You Need to Know: There is a good powertrain warranty on this one so that’s a highlight to consider. The rear door hinged on the passenger side of the vehicle brought a complaint from some of my travel companions, so take note there.
Miles Per Gallon: I had the Grand Vitara Ultima with 19 miles per gallon in the city and 23 miles per gallon on the highway.
Cost: This one came in at $24,569, not bad.
Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.
She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at www.unregularradio.com.
Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books.
Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from www.historypress.net. You can also follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13.
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