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I wanted to do a quick write up going over if an 2006-2014 Suzuki Grand Vitara is right for you. I live in Suzuki’s secound home BC Canada, and have owned all 3 gens of the grand vitara. 93 sidekick 01 xl7 and now this one a 07 grand vitara. I still have my 93 but my 01 no longer.

Right away the Grand vitara and XL7 of this generation are very different and I will not comment on the xl7, only the grand vitara. I own an 07 grand vitara fully loaded. Mine is red with a beige leather interior with wood grain accents. Power train is all Suzuki with the updated 2.7L V6 which is an updated design on the old gen (01-06) xl7 motor with the new one sporting VVT and an updated intake. These motors fixed the timing chain issues that donned on 2.5/2.7 motors from the previous generations. Check your oil often and changes on time are paramount. This is paired with a 5 speed auto. The transmission shifts smooth, but is quick to downshift in cruise control going from 5th cruising at 2k rpm to 3rd at 4.5k rpm. It is easy to see when a hill is coming and turn off cruise to manage the hill yourself. The trans does have a weak point- it does not give the option for being in secound gear. Only L,3,4 and drive. Coming down an FSR in L is too low and 3rd is too quick. it would be a better trans to have 3rd be replaced with a 2nd gear option. Mine was kitted with the selectable transfer case with the switch and the ability of 4L. This makes trails a breeze and just the right amount of torque. The vehicle with its lift and all gets about 400-450KM a tank for 52-55 litres. If you didn’t have the lift and tires I’d hope it gets better but that’s what I am expirencing. With a rooftop tent I got 325KM out of the same 55 litres. The 2.7 was only available in 06-07 vehicles and was replaced by a I4 or a gm 3.5. Out of the three the most reliable would be the 2.7 then the 3.5 then the i4 in my opinion.

Suspension and underbody: When I bought mine it came with a 2 inch suspension lift. It does give the vehicle more height and bigger tires were fitted (245/65/17). The suspension is independent all the way around with cv shafts powering the vehicle. The vehicle is all time 4wd but shifts power from one axel at a time front to back so only rear or front is powering the vehicle along unless put in 4x4 lock. The cvs and unibody construction probably would not hold up to every weekend abuse but that will have to wait to stand the test of time. The radiator is really low on the front, so if considering to do any hardcore wheeling a skid plate is a must. I do not have one fitted at this time.

Interior:

I am a big guy at 6’4” and 260LBS. Suzuki’s have always been good at giving head room even my 93 has tons of space. But the vehicle is a compact, leaving a small console for drinks and a cubby. The doors in the front also sport cup holders with the rear getting a fold out dual holder attached to the centre console. I find the vehicle quite comfy with the seat all the way back and a slight recline, but leg room could be roomier. The rear seats leave little room but recline back to remain comfy. Mine is beige heated leather. The seats have held up so far and heat nicely. The controls for the HVAC do look a bit gaudy but I do appreciate the use of real buttons and dials. The ac blows cold and has been used through heat waves this summer. The little screen provides updates on if the seatbelt is not fastened. I find the sensitivity on the passenger side a little light, with items like a heavy bag, or grocery’s setting off the seatbelt sensor. The steering wheel controls worked with the factory stereo but I have since upgraded. My factory stereo had the aux mod installed, but was quiet. I upgraded to a JVC apple car play stereo now and it is better. The speakers are ok but I will be replacing and installing an amp. The sunroof works as well and is quite nice and a decent size. The previous owner ripped out the inner fender liner leaving the road noise to be quite loud. The exhaust is stock but the motor is quite growly as well. If you like peace and tranquillity do not remove the fender liners. The fuses in the interior are an odd size, and are called low profile mini fuses. Important if one goes out.

Dog kennel:
This is a big one for people out there. I searched for a while to see if a kennel would fit with the backseats up. (Big plus as I am a k9 handler) I have a kennel 365 and I would like my backseats functional. And I can report a size L fits with the backseats up and a slight recline! I have a length wise door so it is perfect for the trunk area. It leaves little room for the leash/vest and my own uniform but it all fits in the back leaving the front a bit fresher.

Feel free to drop comments as I am here to help everyone and want to make people feel confident in their Choice of considering a Suzuki. It is much more refined than that of the past generations making it a welcome change on the road, but the trade off offroad is a less capable vehicle, but the 06-14 grand vitara hold their own.
Extra goodies:
2 inch lift
245/65/17 all terrains
Cb radio installed into the side of the passenger side center console with the antenna on the roof with a magnet mount. It has a 3ft fire stick attached.
Portable vhf radio
Sirus xm receiver attached to dash and connected to stereo via Aux.
JVC touchscreen apple car play stereo.
Ditch lights that attach via a mount to the hood that doesn’t require drilling as it is a clamp on and you tighten allan keys to clamp it on.
TRE snorkel.
Weather Tech colour matched floor mats.
Roof rails off eBay.
Roof top tent from local supplier.
Dash cam hardwired.
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The vehicle is all time 4wd but shifts power from one axel at a time front to back so only rear or front is powering the vehicle along unless put in 4x4 lock.
Third gens are full time 4WD, with both axles being driven ALL the time - early production were fitted with a pawl & cam limited slip center differential, later models have an open center differential and rely on the traction control system to brake which ever wheel has lost traction.

There are a couple of issues, or potential issues, you have not mentioned, possibly because you have not experienced them, possibly because you acquired your vehicle already lifted.

Off of the show room floor, third gens are "vertically challenged" and prone to dragging the exhaust and the rear control arms when taken off road - suspension lifts are often problematic, with the rear bush on the front control arms being easily damaged, and on lifted vehicles prone to early failure - I am about to replace the control arms for the second time with just around 60,000 kms on a stock height third gen that does not get taken off road, but does see a fair bit of poor road surfaces.

I am in fact curious as to how the previous owner of your vehicle implemented a two inch suspension lift - typically suspension lifts are limited to around 40mm to avoid problems.

For what it's worth, like you I have owned all three generations, a first gen Vitara with the 2.0 V6 (this was not offered in the US & Canada), a second gen Grand Vitara with the 2.0 four cylinder (non badged as a Grand in the US & Canada), and a third gen Grand Vitara with the 2.0 four cylinder (also not available in the US & Canada) - of the three, the third gen is the least capable off road, but the most refined & comfortable on road.
 

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Power train is all Suzuki with the updated 2.7L V6 which is an updated design on the old gen (01-06) xl7 motor with the new one sporting VVT and an updated intake. These motors fixed the timing chain issues that donned on 2.5/2.7 motors from the previous generations.

The 2.7 was only available in 06-07 vehicles and was replaced by a I4 or a gm 3.5. Out of the three the most reliable would be the 2.7 then the 3.5 then the i4 in my opinion.
In all fairness, specifics as to the engines you addressed should be made known.

Timing chains were not the issue on the earlier engines. Lack of oil change maintenance was the problem. I had over 300K miles on my 2.5L when I swapped it out (due to my first and only clutch casualty) for a low mileage replacement engine, but it still ran fine, never having been opened up.

Secondly, the 2.7L engines for 06-07 were strapped with solid lifter / shim type tappets with their own set of maintenance headaches. That and the inline fours had block and head cracks on certain units.

These points are all detailed in the sticky threads at the top of this 3nd Gen section.

And to add...the early GM V-6 wasn't the most cherished of drive-train accompaniment either. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Fair enough on the oil changes. The tensioner for the timing chain though was a weak point and was prone to failure due to weak plastic on the 2nd gen.
And I stated the gm v6 over the i4 due to the fact that the i4 blocks crack before 80k! The gm motors can at least pull more than that. In my post I stated the Suzuki v6s were the best if you can get one then the gm v6 and then I would avoid the i4 at all costs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Third gens are full time 4WD, with both axles being driven ALL the time - early production were fitted with a pawl & cam limited slip center differential, later models have an open center differential and rely on the traction control system to brake which ever wheel has lost traction.

There are a couple of issues, or potential issues, you have not mentioned, possibly because you have not experienced them, possibly because you acquired your vehicle already lifted.

Off of the show room floor, third gens are "vertically challenged" and prone to dragging the exhaust and the rear control arms when taken off road - suspension lifts are often problematic, with the rear bush on the front control arms being easily damaged, and on lifted vehicles prone to early failure - I am about to replace the control arms for the second time with just around 60,000 kms on a stock height third gen that does not get taken off road, but does see a fair bit of poor road surfaces.

I am in fact curious as to how the previous owner of your vehicle implemented a two inch suspension lift - typically suspension lifts are limited to around 40mm to avoid problems.

For what it's worth, like you I have owned all three generations, a first gen Vitara with the 2.0 V6 (this was not offered in the US & Canada), a second gen Grand Vitara with the 2.0 four cylinder (non badged as a Grand in the US & Canada), and a third gen Grand Vitara with the 2.0 four cylinder (also not available in the US & Canada) - of the three, the third gen is the least capable off road, but the most refined & comfortable on road.
I don’t believe both of the axels get power all the time. The point of the 4x4 lock is to lock power to both the axels as both systems are unlocked in 4hi the power goes to the easiest path.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don’t believe both of the axels get power all the time. The point of the 4x4 lock is to lock power to both the axels as both systems are unlocked in 4hi the power goes to the easiest path.
Maybe I am wrong when I first bought it it was something that stuck with me. I made this quick guide beacuse I couldn’t find any info like this all in one place when I bought mine with pictures with dog kennel etc. It’s not perfect but I’m still learning everyday.
 

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The tensioner for the timing chain though was a weak point and was prone to failure due to weak plastic on the 2nd gen.
Plastic wasn't the issue. It was that the earliest version #1 tensioner on the 2.5L that were identified with a small oil inlet passage that COULD clog with debris thus enlarged / changed early on in production to ward off potential problems. ;) (again, lack of proper routine maintenance caused resultant tensioner / chain issues)


 

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I don’t believe both of the axels get power all the time. The point of the 4x4 lock is to lock power to both the axels as both systems are unlocked in 4hi the power goes to the easiest path.
This is not a matter of belief - I'm stating facts.

Research open differentials - on an axle with an open differential power will be delivered to both wheels, with the available power being distributed inversely based on the traction, if either wheel has no traction, all the power will be sent to that wheel - as long as the wheel has some traction, it will have some power. Exactly the same thing happens if the vehicle is fitted with an open center differential - power will be sent to both axles with the available power being distributed inversely based on traction.

There is no guarantee of equal power distribution with an open differential, and this is what the 4x4 lock does - guarantee 50% power to each axle.

Having come through the different generations as you say, you should be aware of the ease with which you can spin the rear tires on the first & second gens, and that this cannot be done on the third gen if it has 4WD - that, right there is indicative of the fact that both axles are being driven.

Also, if you can find a smooth sandy surface, perhaps a concrete or asphalt parking lot alongside a beach, you can try breaking the tires loose from a standstill and then going back to look at the tire tracks that were left - you should be able to see which tires were spinning and which weren't.

I grew up in an era when rear wheel drive cars were still common (and I actually prefer them over the more ubiquitous front wheel drive), I've driven front wheel drive, I've driven part time 4WD (like the first & second gens), part time 4WD which allow RWD as well as 4WD without locking the center diff, full time 4WD (like the third gen) and front bias 4WD (acts as FWD until there is slip) - I can tell from behind the wheel on pavement which end of the car is providing the traction, it will handle differently (understeer vs oversteer vs neutral) in a turn under power, especially on a damp surface
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is not a matter of belief - I'm stating facts.

Research open differentials - on an axle with an open differential power will be delivered to both wheels, with the available power being distributed inversely based on the traction, if either wheel has no traction, all the power will be sent to that wheel - as long as the wheel has some traction, it will have some power. Exactly the same thing happens if the vehicle is fitted with an open center differential - power will be sent to both axles with the available power being distributed inversely based on traction.

There is no guarantee of equal power distribution with an open differential, and this is what the 4x4 lock does - guarantee 50% power to each axle.

Having come through the different generations as you say, you should be aware of the ease with which you can spin the rear tires on the first & second gens, and that this cannot be done on the third gen if it has 4WD - that, right there is indicative of the fact that both axles are being driven.

Also, if you can find a smooth sandy surface, perhaps a concrete or asphalt parking lot alongside a beach, you can try breaking the tires loose from a standstill and then going back to look at the tire tracks that were left - you should be able to see which tires were spinning and which weren't.

I grew up in an era when rear wheel drive cars were still common (and I actually prefer them over the more ubiquitous front wheel drive), I've driven front wheel drive, I've driven part time 4WD (like the first & second gens), part time 4WD which allow RWD as well as 4WD without locking the center diff, full time 4WD (like the third gen) and front bias 4WD (acts as FWD until there is slip) - I can tell from behind the wheel on pavement which end of the car is providing the traction, it will handle differently (understeer vs oversteer vs neutral) in a turn under power, especially on a damp surface

So in my other comment I stated I was wrong! I am ok with learning. I drove a Subaru and you could feel the steering wheel have pull due to the front wheels being powered. On my grand vitara the front feels like nothing is being powered and I had herd somewhere that it transferred back and forth but I am wrong and I am ok to learn. In my others yes you could loose lots of power if you were spinning a tire. In this generation with the radiatior literally being at the level of a civics front clip even with the lift I am not to keen to taker out and really test the capabilities. I wanted to provide a generalization of the vehicle and I got some of the technical things slightly off but I am here to learn or else I wouldn’t be driving a Suzuki lol. I honestly was searched for days of pictures of the trunk back seats etc and I couldn’t find anything so I wanted to provided that to people along with some ideas I have come up with. This community is great but sometimes hard to find the basic stuff. Thank you for your knowledge.
 

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So in my other comment I stated I was wrong! I am ok with learning. I drove a Subaru and you could feel the steering wheel have pull due to the front wheels being powered. On my grand vitara the front feels like nothing is being powered and I had herd somewhere that it transferred back and forth but I am wrong and I am ok to learn. In my others yes you could loose lots of power if you were spinning a tire. In this generation with the radiatior literally being at the level of a civics front clip even with the lift I am not to keen to taker out and really test the capabilities. I wanted to provide a generalization of the vehicle and I got some of the technical things slightly off but I am here to learn or else I wouldn’t be driving a Suzuki lol. I honestly was searched for days of pictures of the trunk back seats etc and I couldn’t find anything so I wanted to provided that to people along with some ideas I have come up with. This community is great but sometimes hard to find the basic stuff. Thank you for your knowledge.
That's because Suzuki’s don't torque steer like Subaru's do......thats why they feel so neutral on the road. Get the tyre pressures right and they handle extremely well for a heavy lump.
 

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So in my other comment I stated I was wrong! I am ok with learning...
Well, to be annoyingly pedantic no one's got it right yet. "Power" is a unhelpful term to use for describing the behaviour of a 4WD system because it's the product of two characteristics, torque and RPM, or at the tire contact surface it's effectively tractive effort times vehicle speed. But it's understandable that in casual conversation when people refer to "power" they may actually mean torque or tractive effort.

With open center and axle differentials each wheel provides the same tractive effort to the vehicle at all times in all steady-state conditions. The engine's torque (multiplied by the overall gearing) must match the sum of those tractive efforts within it's rev range. The power each wheel can put down to the ground is therefore entirely proportional to its individual RPM.

At the extremes of traction any tire not turning will be receiving zero power even if tractive effort is present. Any tire spinning uselessly on perfect ice (no friction) providing zero tractive effort will also be receiving zero power.

When the center diff is locked the it's the two driveshaft RPMs that are equalised between the front and rear, as such the distribution of torque and power becomes more complicated.
 

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I have a 3.2L version. I haven't checked exactly where the engine is built but I believe Suzuki built the GM engine in Japan in their own factory in Sagara. But it is based on the GM 3.6L engine. To my mind it is the only engine size for this class of vehicle. I have driven other SUVs with a 2.4L engine and find them a tad short of power specially for open road use. But that is me. Another version of the 3.2L engine is used in an Alfa Romeo vehicle where it pokes out something like 190kw. If I managed to pick up one of these engines at a good price it would be in in a flash. Since the engine is based on a GM design (I believe it was the same engine that Holden developed in Australia and the block was designed to be expandable from 2.8L to 4.0L).
The 3.2L is a much more economical V6 than the 2.7L which is very thirsty.
When I first got the GV on the open road I was very impressed with its handling. I like to push them along a bit and it handles very well. After raising the height and changing the suspension it still retains almost all of the handling ability on the open road for which I am really grateful.
 

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And I stated the gm v6 over the i4 due to the fact that the i4 blocks crack before 80k! The gm motors can at least pull more than that. In my post I stated the Suzuki v6s were the best if you can get one then the gm v6 and then I would avoid the i4 at all costs.
Depending on which market the vehicles were built for, there were at least three different in line fours used on the third gens - the 1.6 liter M16 was available in the the three door models, and the five door models had either the 2.0 liter J20a/b or the 2.4 liter J24b - the block/head cracking issues were limited to the 2.4 liter engines, and I believe to a specific subset of engines.
 

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Correct, 2008 / 2009 j24b in a specific production series were affected.
 

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This is all too tech for me. I used to have Xterra's but the last two I had got to the point of no return. I bought my 2012 GV as it was within reach financially and was low mileage and my X was pants. Do I love it? No, not really. Does it get me from A to B? Yes quite easily. Mine is the "Limited"? version. Leather seats which are cold in winter and make your bum sweat in summer. They're heated but no help when it's hot. Swapped the stereo out as the display wasn't working. Stuck in a Kenwood dvd changer unit and mounted a back up cam.

It's an okay suv. I don't offroad so I'm not worried about any of those issues. I wish the boot space was a bit bigger when I have to throw my mum's wheelchair in the back. I think so far the only issues I've had in 2+ years of owning it was a rattle under the bonnet ( loose panel that I pulled out) and a tyre that had a nail in it and was leaking. I use High Mileage Valvoline for the oil changes and I change every 5k.

I'm just nursing it along until it's paid off and then I'll give it to my son. He likes driving it anyway.
 

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The world wide love of leather seats. I HATE leather anywhere. On a lounge seat they are cold in winter, in summer you get up and leave a damp sweat mark behind and, all seasons, you slide around all over the place. Same applies to car seats. I cannot imagine how leather EVER became a desirable feature for any type of seat. I will not, while I am still alive, EVER buy anything that has leather under my bum. If anybody can explain how leather ever came to be considered a premium seat material please enlighten me. Only interested in practical reasons, marketing has done enough to ruin many a car.
Now generally I am pretty happy with my GV. If I had to pick out three features that would vastly improve it they would be another half metre (or a couple of feet take your pick) of length in the boot area, a universal language used on the console display that can be changed by an easy to enter code, and a different seat material. This last item is not about leather (see above) but the crappy synthetic fabric material used in mine which attracts cat hair and somehow works its way into the threads and requires individual removal. Seat covers are on my list.
 
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Love the leather in my GV. Yes its cold in winter, hot in summer, but oh so easy to get mud, dog slobber and kids ice cream dribbles cleaned up. Fabric stains so much easier, and wear wet clothes on that when off road then you're asking for trouble
 

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love my sheepskin seat covers................
 

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I miss the telescopic steering wheel adjustment.
A simple mechanism that brings a lot of driving comfort, bringing the steering wheel at the right distance without compromising the distance from the legs to the pedals.
 
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