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2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara Review

While reviewers liked the 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara's off-road capability and its high-tech standard features, they thought its powertrain could use an update. 

Pros & Cons

  • Standard navigation
  • Good off-road capability
  • Ample cargo space
  • Outdated transmission
  • Weak highway acceleration
  • Poor fuel economy for the class




Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 6.8
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 8.6
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2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara Overview

The 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara features a four-cylinder engine, which is mated to a five-speed manual transmission or an available four-speed automatic. When cruising around town, reviewers said the Grand Vitara has adequate acceleration, but most wrote that it takes time to get up to speed on the highway. Many also noted that the Grand Vitara’s automatic transmission can be slow to downshift, and that many rivals offer transmissions with more gears. The base 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara gets an estimated 19/26 mpg city/highway, which is poor for a compact SUV, but also slightly better than what more powerful off-road SUVs like the 2012 Nissan Xterra and Jeep Wrangler get. Some reviewers called the Grand Vitara’s handling unrefined and noticed body lean, but others wrote that a small turning circle makes it easy to maneuver. Some reviewers noted the Suzuki Grand Vitara's precise steering. A few reviewers thought that the Grand Vitara’s ride can be harsh, and although an available four-wheel drive system makes it quite capable for trips beyond the pavement, some critics reported that SUVs like the 2012 Jeep Liberty are more capable off-road.

Test drivers said the 2012 Grand Vitara's five-seat cabin generally provides a good amount of space in both rows, though some thought the seats could be more comfortable. The cabin is basic and functional, reviewers said, but overall, they found it attractive. The base Grand Vitara comes with a removable Garmin navigation system, an auxiliary input, automatic climate control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and remote keyless entry. Cruise control, leather upholstery and Bluetooth are available. Reviewers liked that the gauges are clearly marked, and that large knobs make it easy to adjust climate and audio settings. The Grand Vitara's cargo area has 70.8 cubic feet of space with the second row folded, which is an excellent amount of space for the class. Still, test drivers said that the side-hinged cargo door can make it difficult to load cargo when parallel parked in a small space.

Other SUVs to Consider

The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport uses less fuel and comes standard with Bluetooth and a USB port. Additionally, some reviewers wrote that the Outlander Sport offers controlled handling and strong brakes.

Reviewers said the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is extremely capable off-road, powering through nearly any terrain. The Wrangler also comes standard with a V6 engine, and test drivers agreed that it provides ample power.

Compare the Grand Vitara, Outlander Sport and Wrangler »

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