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2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara Review

The 2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara offers a comfortable interior and good off-road performance, but its on-road ride isn’t great and it has low safety ratings. As a result, there are better all-around used compact SUVs.

Pros & Cons

  • Good off-road capability
  • Spacious and comfortable interior
  • Bouncy on-road performance
  • Below-average fuel economy and safety scores for the class




Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.3
Safety: 8.6
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara Overview

For 2011, Suzuki dropped the V6 engine from the Grand Vitara, leaving just a four-cylinder. When it was new, reviewers thought the four-cylinder provided adequate acceleration, but they also noted that the Grand Vitara struggled with steep inclines. Also, auto critics disliked the Grand Vitara’s outdated standard four-speed transmission, which they said hampered performance, though the Grand Vitara does have an available five-speed manual transmission. Either rear- or four-wheel drive is available, and fuel economy is a bit low for the class. The RWD Grand Vitara gets up to 19/26 mpg city/highway with the base engine, while 4WD models get 19/23 mpg.

While test drivers praised the Grand Vitara’s off-road performance, they complained about the Grand Vitara’s truck-like ride and noted its bouncy on-road behavior. Reviewers also felt that the Grand Vitara’s steering is vague and that it exhibits significant body lean around corners. The Grand Vitara’s safety ratings fall below the class average.

For the most part, reviewers were impressed with the Grand Vitara’s interior quality and comfort. When it was new, test drivers thought that the materials looked somewhat upscale and had plenty of standard features, including a navigation system. Also, reviewers said that the Grand Vitara’s seats were comfortable and supportive and the rear seats recline for added comfort and have ample legroom. However, even with plenty of storage space, auto critics disliked the back door that swings out instead of lifting up, which complicated loading and unloading cargo.

The base Grand Vitara comes standard with automatic headlights, keyless entry, automatic climate control and a Garmin navigation system. Upper trims add features like cruise control, foglights, push-button start, heated front seats and a sunroof.

See the full 2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you’re seeking an excellent off-road SUV, you should consider the 2011 Jeep Wrangler. When it was new, reviewers felt that the Wrangler had a bumpy ride that wasn’t suited for on-road driving, but outmatched most SUVs in terms of off-road performance. However, the Grand Vitara has slightly better performance and interior quality. Still, the Wrangler comes with standard four-wheel drive and has a more powerful engine than the Grand Vitara.

The 2011 Subaru Forester is a good choice in the class with its generously-sized interior and standard all-wheel drive. When it was new, reviewers praised the Forester’s car-like handling. The Forester also gets better fuel economy than the Grand Vitara.

Compare the Grand Vitara to the Wrangler and Forester »

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