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Average User Score
4 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 2 reviews
2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 2 reviews
As 2005 marks the end of the first generation of this compact affordable SUV, Suzuki drops the plain old Vitara base trim, leaving only the Grand Vitara badge. The 2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara comes in LX and EX trims, both offered with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. The 4WD system features both high and low-range gearing, meaning it can be taken off-road. In fact, many reviewers and owners felt it performed better off-road than on. Skid plates are standard across the lineup, to help protect the small 7.5 inches of ground clearance.
The SUV seats up to five in two rows, with split-folding rear seats. Unfortunately, compact translates to less legroom, and here it's the rear passengers who suffer. While there is 41 inches up front, backseat drivers must cram their legs into 30 inches of space. The cargo area starts at 23.4 cubic feet and turns into 50 with the seats down. A cover and tiedowns are standard, but the 2005 Grand Vitara can be equipped with a cargo net and roof rails. The rear door opens to the right instead of the left. There is a rear window wiper. The whole package rides on the truck-like body-on-frame chassis. Though featuring a V6, the 2.5-liter 165-hp engine fails to shine in the acceleration department. Matched with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic, the powertrain puts out 162 ft-lbs of torque at 4000 RPM. Fuel economy is another complaint, though no one expects much from an SUV. Still, the 17/20 mpg and sluggish engine can't compare to other SUV competitors.
What the 2005 Grand Vitara does offer is good initial bang for the buck, though resale value is not high. The base LX trim is well endowed with full power features, heated mirrors, a CD player, cruise control, and remote entry. The EX adds a sunroof and sportier elements such as alloy wheels, foglights, and a rear spoiler. The SUV earns high marks in crash tests even though it comes only with dual front airbags. Side curtain airbags are not even offered as an option. ABS brakes are standard on all 4WD trims and optional with the rear-wheel drive.
Critics and owners seem to disagree on the worthiness of the 2005 Grand Vitara. A strong warranty (7 yeras/100,000 miles powertrain), praiseworthy off-road skills, front legroom, and the long list of standard features for a low price seem to outweigh the negatives in many driver's minds. These negatives include a noisy ride, poor V6 power, limited rear visibility, and a stiff suspension that makes bumpy roads very uncomfortable.
by Ann Jackman
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