2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara Ultimate Adventure Edition FWD (Front Wheel Drive) (931)


This week we’re looking at the 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara Ultimate Adventure Edition FWD (Front Wheel Drive).

Consumer Reports thinks it is noisy and sluggish and has poor fuel economy at 19 overall. I can’t take too much exception with that evaluation but didn’t find it all that noisy. But as I note below, it struggles with the 166 horsepower that some will find annoying. I did not.

Consumers give it only a “B” in most categories but it gets an A- in ‘Quality’ which is for me the most important measure. I agree with the comments, as it has always been a steady reliable brand. Consumers also rate it high in performance which I do not agree with since fuel economy is not really good for an inline 4-cylinder engine.

If you don’t have a burning need for speed and jackrabbit starts, like me, you won’t get too excited with the performance. But while I’m on the subject, I test all cars over challenging mountain roads and I was pleased with the road hugging quality because of all the high tech control features that are standard. Even sports cars found no need to pass. Impressive.

General Information:

Parts content – US/ Canadian 1%, Japan 88%. It is assembled in Iwata, Japan; Classification is SUV. Cars from Suzuki: Equator, Grand Vitara, Kizashi, SX4 Crossover & SX4 Sport.


It never ceases to amaze me how inconsiderate or inept too many are on our highways. I suspect with rare exception they don’t do it on purpose to piss off other drivers, but rather because they are just don’t have the experience. We live in a great melting pot in the United States where you are sharing the road with a wide variety of folks in driving (transportation) experiences.

Go, for example, to countries where there isn’t such diversity in the modes of transportation. Everyone pretty much employs the same kind of vehicle. Whether the vehicles are Camels, Donkeys, motor scooters, bicycles or older automobiles – everyone is pretty much in the same kind of vehicle in those lesser developed countries. Animal powered travelers don’t crash into each other very often and the wild fast and furious driving habits (and skills, I might add) in Asia or Italy where 1 liter engines or less (25-100 hp for example) make clones of all travelers. You won’t see a wide variety of speeds.

But in the US you have all those levels of driving experience coming together using the Highways. The result is uncontrolled chaos. It’s a wonder we don’t have more traffic accidents for the very reason that putting a ‘camel jock’ in a car on a freeway in the US along with a Vietnamese immigrant with motor bike mentality all together with the vast majority of drivers who were ‘born in the USA’, guys and gals alike. They were raised behind the wheel and grew up burning the rubber off the tires at every stop sign or signal and the combination of drivers makes for an interesting day of driving. The opposite would apply if all those US bred guys and gals went to Saigon, for example, and tried to travel along with the madness of closely packed masses all on motorized bikes with no formal order or etiquette. But they grew up in that environment and are as comfortable in those travel conditions as US drivers are on US Highways. But they weren’t driving at 70 and 80 mph on a 5-lane freeway.

It’s kinda like a ‘Jalopy Derby’ with junk cars to Rolls Royce’s all vying for position in a “Street Race” we call a commute.

Handling & Performance:

This Suzuki struggles with acceleration a bit, but other than that, it does what it has to do with 166 horsepower. And although it sports all wheel drive the fuel economy suffers.


Right in there with the competition that is pretty generic with the exception of the distinctive Jeep Wrangler and Mitsubishi Outlander with a bold distinctive grill.

Fit and Finish:



This segment of the SUV market is very close and the Suzuki is aggressively competitive.

Conveniences and comfort:

Most everything you need and you won’t be giving up features for the reduced purchase price.

Consumer Recommendation:

Pretty tight grouping of very similar SUV’s. I’m partial to the All American rough and tumble Jeep, but it is very difficult to pick out the best of the best. It’s midsize and if you can live with 5 seating and average space for cargo this is a very cost effective market segment.

Recognized Competition:

Suzuki Grand Vitara $24,000, GMC Terrain $ n/a, Kia Sportage $28,000, Honda CR-V $22,000, Hyundai Tucson $25,000, Jeep Compass $24,000, Jeep Liberty $23,000, Ford Escape $30,000, Jeep Wrangler $28,000, Mazda CX-5 $28,000, Mitsubishi Outlander $25,000, Nissan Rogue $26,000, Subaru Forester $28,000 and Toyota RAV4 $26,000.

Good News:

Well priced, good styling albeit generic, good size on balance, and great list of standard stuff.

Bad News:

Only fair fuel economy.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 166 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, auto trans, zero maintenance timing chain, front wheel drive, electronic brake assist ABS 4-wheel disc brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution, stability control, traction control, full size spare and cover, front – side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, LATCH system, power windows locks and mirrors, steering wheel audio controls, Cruise Control, keyless entry with panic alarm, voice activated NAV, touch screen display, traffic info, Google search for Gas, ATM & food, climate control, CD/ AM/FM audio with MP3 aux jack, (Ultimate Adventure standard) – heated front seats, Leather wrapped steering wheel, 18” smoked alloy wheels, fog lights, side view mirror turn signals and water resistant 2-tone seats.

 Gas Stats:

$3.69/ Gal avg. July 17, 2012


For more information.

19 City and 23 Highway MPG


MSRP $23,949.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair


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