2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara

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The 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara is a feature-rich compact SUV with notable off-road capabilities and an affordable price tag. For the 2008 model year, the Grand Vitara receives minor upgrades that include a remote fuel tank door opener, additional sound deadening enhancements to create a quieter cabin and an improved climate control system. A sunroof was also added to the standard equipment list of all but the Base model. Overall, performance is good, its unibody construction is sporty and athletic, but not overly daunting, and the cabin is tastefully appointed. Suzuki's powertrain warranty coverage for the Grand Vitara is 7 years/100,000 miles.

The Grand Vitara, unlike other vehicles in its class, comes standard with rear wheel drive and full time all wheel drive is optional-the vast majority of other small SUV's are front wheel drive or all wheel drive. The 3 available Grand Vitara trims are all powered by a 2.7 liter V6 that produces an adequate 185 horsepower. The standard transmission for the Base model is a 5 speed manual, with a 5 speed automatic optional. A manual gearbox is not available for the upscale trims, which come standard with the 5 speed automatic transmission. The tow rating is a respectable 3,000 pounds; however EPA estimates are below average for the all wheel drive with automatic transmission, coming in at 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.

The 3 trims available for the Grand Vitara are the Base, XSport and Luxury. The Base model has an impressive list of standard equipment including remote keyless entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, a full array of power accessories, and a CD/MP3 stereo system with 6 disc CD changer, speed sensitive volume control and steering wheel mounted audio controls. The XSport adds alloy wheels, roof rails, a sunroof, and a SmartPass keyless start system. The fully loaded luxury model includes 17 inch alloy wheels and adds heated leather seats and wood grain interior trim with silver accents.

Off-road agility is enhanced with low range gearing and almost 8 inches of ground clearance. Compared to truck based SUVs, the 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara delivers a much more refined ride on paved roads, thanks to its reinforced unibody construction. Consumers who seek a solid, amply featured and highly functional small SUV at an affordable price will find what they are looking for in the Grand Vitara.