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Old 15th October 2007, 19:28   #1
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Default Test Drive of Suzuki Grand Vitara on horrible roads and other reports

Today I test drove the Grand Vitara. I drove it in the same roads as my Safari 3.0L test drive, and in addition did some highway driving and little more advanced off-roading in my office grounds. Got an automatic test drive car, so not too sure how MT would feel like. Three well built guys came with the TD vehicle, my wife and almost 11 month kid also joined me, totally 5 adults and one baby during the TD.

Ride & comfort: Soaks up bad roads very well, not up to Safari's ride quality, but reduces it to very tolerable levels. The front was very comfortable while the rear seats were quite satisfactory (so said Wife), can't reject this SUV on ride-comfort. Getting in is not like a truck, but more like a car. The driver seat is very comfortable, similar to Baleno but not low like Baleno. Very good visibility, didn't notice any blind spot in the front, has a good commanding view. The twisty AT gearshift was irritating to shift, but then I am not considering an AT. Feels like driving a car, this is an excellent city car, easy to handle in city traffic and has a small turning radius (5.5m).

Fit & Finish: Doesn't have that luxury feel, but very clean finish. Doesn't feel cheap either. Integrated HU looks nice, plays MP3/WMA CDs too. No upgrade possibilities though.

Highway Performance: Good highway performer, good high speed handling (AWD), didn't notice any body roll. No breath-taking pull, but a steady cruiser. Eats away potholes unnoticed at higher speeds. The brakes were well-modulated and precise. I braked hard on a slope and it stopped surely.

Hilly road performance: The AT starts hunting and revvs a lot while climbing steep hills. But that happens only if you want to push it hard. When I did off-road climbing in crawl speed, the torque was very adequate. This is not a performance oriented car, can't be pushed, but does the job at a steady pace. Again, no body roll in the twists.

Off-roading: I think it is a competent off-roader if not extreme off-roader, the approach/departure angles are 29 and 27 degrees. I didn't switch to 4H or 4L (central diff locks), but did all the off-road stuff in AWD mode. There was no bouncing or bobbing when I climbed up or down tiny hills. The 200mm GC was evident, nothing touched the under-body anywhere. I was impressed enough to google about GV's off-road performance. Found some good articles:

2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara First Drive
2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara Review

Looks: Very clean lines and photogenic, but can be easily mistaken for a Swift or a SX4 in the front. It will be hardly noticed on the road, which fits my need perfectly.

Verdict: Very capable bad road vehicle offering very good ride-comfort (but not up-to safari level). But I feel this may be a better off-roader than Safari, it doesn't roll like Safari and is very steady off the road. But then I haven't experienced the 4x4 Safari. It doesn't take off like the old Baleno, but then I had 3 extra adults at the back adding at least 200Kgs. It might perform better with just my family. The standard safety features were all there like ABS, dual airbags, EBD and traction control thanks to AWD. This is not an exciting car to drive, but a very satisfactory car that meets all our requirement. This is something even my wife is willing to drive unlike the Safari.

I ordered the Test drive without much expectations, but it turned out to be a contender. The black and silky silver are available in 15 days, any other color will take 3 months. They only keep safe colors in inventory (actually it is in transit on a ship). Black is the most moving color.

Last edited by Samurai : 15th October 2007 at 21:41.
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Old 15th October 2007, 23:56   #2
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I was searching for the FE figure, finally found it in ACI.

Quote:
Owing to its heavy off-road gear, the Vitara returned a disappointing 6.7kpl in the city and 9.5kpl on the highway.
Source: :: AUTOCAR INDIA - CAR AND BIKE MAGAZINE ::

But my feeling about off-road ability was spot on, it is indeed a capable off-roader at the cost of fuel efficiency.
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Old 16th October 2007, 00:22   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
This is not an exciting car to drive, but a very satisfactory car that meets all our requirement.
So, decided on the car?
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Old 16th October 2007, 00:28   #4
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Not yet, that FE is not encouraging. I wish to hear from existing GV owners, but we don't appear to have any GV owners here. I drew a blank even at mouthshut.
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Old 16th October 2007, 00:32   #5
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True. It is quite car like to drive. And I also felt, that although it does not have outright performance, it is a lovely vehicle for those who like to drive.
The front seats, seating position, the steering, the handling .. luverly.

If only they had launched it with a diesel at that price. I think it costs 3L more than the VX 4x4 Safari.

Btw, it's supposed to come with a sub-woofer. Were you able to locate it?
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Old 16th October 2007, 00:53   #6
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expect 7-8 kmpl in town and around 10 for highways from the manual version, i somehow felt the car very handsome looking
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Old 16th October 2007, 01:15   #7
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With a full load of passengers, your ride quality would have improved and pickup would have dropped. So, you need to keep that in mind.
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Old 16th October 2007, 08:07   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuvc View Post
Btw, it's supposed to come with a sub-woofer. Were you able to locate it?
Nope, didn't look for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
expect 7-8 kmpl in town and around 10 for highways from the manual version, i somehow felt the car very handsome looking
Yeah, lots of photography potential. But it is also a very tough car, although it doesn't look it. This is no softroader like I presumed.

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Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
With a full load of passengers, your ride quality would have improved and pickup would have dropped. So, you need to keep that in mind.
Probable, those 3 guys added about 200Kgs to the 140Kgs of my family and 1600kgs of the car. So we know it doesn't bottom out at max load. A slight drop in ride is acceptable considering the ride was very good at max load. Besides you have to note I intentionally went over every imperfection on the road, not something I would normally do.

The stock tires were 225/70R16 Yokohama Geolander M+S. Are these all terrain tires?

Last edited by Samurai : 16th October 2007 at 08:09.
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Old 16th October 2007, 08:31   #9
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Hey,

Right after reading your Safari 3.0 TD on horrible road, I had requested you to try GV.

You must have already referred to my TD report at http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/new-in...tml#post509267
.

It's a wonderful vehicle except for FE and overall engine performance.
Those who own the DDiS version in Europe are all praise about it.

Good to see you did not compare build quality and lack of rattling with that of Safari (there simply isn't any comparison).

The only thing I have heard about the MT is gearshift is very notchy. I am waiting for the MT to be available - it seems all TD vehicles with dealers in Pune are AT!

Awaiting your buying decision and a long term report on MT. It's a very very handsome SUV (at least for me).
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Old 16th October 2007, 09:13   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post
Right after reading your Safari 3.0 TD on horrible road, I had requested you to try GV.

You must have already referred to my TD report at http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/new-in...tml#post509267
At that time I didn't take it seriously since GV was nowhere near my horizon. I don't test drive cars unless I have serious intention to buy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post
It's a wonderful vehicle except for FE and overall engine performance.
Those who own the DDiS version in Europe are all praise about it.
That's one danger, just like how diesel Swift killed the Swift Zxi, they might introduce DDiS GV in few months and kill the value of petrol GV.

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Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post
The only thing I have heard about the MT is gearshift is very notchy. I am waiting for the MT to be available - it seems all TD vehicles with dealers in Pune are AT!
Yeah, that is very odd considering most Indians don't buy AT. The TD chaps were trying to teach me how to use AT, then I pointed to my Santro AT, that silenced them. The MT notchyness, hopefully that is similar to Baleno, it might go away with usage.

My routine driving is limited to 300Kms a month if I don't take to the highway. In other words, GV will see more highway action than city if I go for it.
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Old 16th October 2007, 09:23   #11
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So, can we look forward for an Endeavour review too? Or is Ford a no-no ?
Somehow I've observed, US returnees seem to hate Ford with a passion.
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Old 16th October 2007, 09:41   #12
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My two cents:I drove my friends Vitara MT and was not overtly impressed.Reminds me of a diesel car when you crank it up.I dont know whether it was the fault on the car I drove.Another irritating factor was the engine noise above 3000 RPM.It was very sluggish over 3000 RPM.My friend says he likes the 4WD when he used it in his estate.And he gets an average of 7-8 KMPL.

If you compare it to Safari,although in different segments,both has lots of pros and cons.But is it worth 15 odd lakhs is the question.
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Old 16th October 2007, 10:06   #13
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And Captiva is just round the corner...going by the praise received by the Optra Magnum diesel engine, this should be one intereseting vehicle to look at.

BTW, has anyone tried to keep aside the soft corner we have for Tatas and then objectively compare the engine parameters (like noise, performance, gear shift, etc) of GV and Safari? GV will win hands down. And interior quality of safari - don't even go there!
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Old 16th October 2007, 10:12   #14
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I had my heart on the GV initially but my budget was not with my heart , so had to look elsewhere.

I was not too much concerned with the FE and could have lived with it, just because I liked it so much but alas!!
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Old 16th October 2007, 10:29   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
expect 7-8 kmpl in town and around 10 for highways from the manual version, i somehow felt the car very handsome looking
Jaggu, that figure is not acceptable. Period. My friend's Vitara gives 7.5 in Delhi/Gurgaon traffic.
And it's a V6. On highway (during our Manali trip) it was giving more than 12kmpl with proper load.
Quote:
And Captiva is just round the corner...going by the praise received by the Optra Magnum diesel engine, this should be one intereseting vehicle to look at.
Yes Samurai, do not discount this thought.
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