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Suzuki Shootout - Grand Vitara VS Samurai - 4-Wheel & Off-Road Magazine

Suzuki Shootout - Grand Vitara VS Samurai
Independent And Solid Suzukis Hit The Trail
From the August, 2010 issue of 4Wheel & Off-Road
By Fred Williams
Photography by Fred Williams

Let's pretend you took a classic old solid-axle 4x4 and a modern-day4x4 with fully independent suspension and hit the trail. Would it be a disaster waiting to happen? Would the solid-axle rig dominate its younger brother? Or would the late-model luxury have the old-school owner begging for a ride? We ditched work, hit the trail, and ended up with an impromptu comparison session that revealed some insights on the solid-versus-independent and new-versus-old arguments.
 

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Awesome!
Special interest here because I have Sammies for fun and my daily driver is a 2008 GV! Well, sort of... My original GV got totalled by a moron that couldn't tell the difference between the gas and brake pedals. The replacement is being shipped halfway across the country to start over again. (link to GV thread)

The article mentions an ARB available for the GV. Hopefully they know more than what ARB has told us (the regular public). I think that would have made a difference in the trail run.
 

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Nice article! But I wish the GV was fully modified, like the way the Samurai was.

Awesome!
Special interest here because I have Sammies for fun and my daily driver is a 2008 GV! Well, sort of... My original GV got totalled by a moron that couldn't tell the difference between the gas and brake pedals. The replacement is being shipped halfway across the country to start over again. (link to GV thread)

The article mentions an ARB available for the GV. Hopefully they know more than what ARB has told us (the regular public). I think that would have made a difference in the trail run.
The new GV has barely any Suzuki components in it. It is based on a modified GM Theta platform, and the 3.2L engine is the Alloytec from Holden/Daewoo. The transfer case is probably sourced from BorgWarner or the likes. However, I still admire it, being a compact SUV with rear/all wheel drive and low range, while all others have converted to front/all wheel drive with no low range.
 

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Nice article! But I wish the GV was fully modified, like the way the Samurai was.
LOL, I was thinking the opposite, that they should have used a stockish Samurai to keep it on a level playing field.:cool:


I do respect Suzuki for keeping the basics right. I wish they would bring the Jimny to the US though. Having talked to a Suzuki USA executive though, it will probably never happen. Darn CR...
 

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a lot of people that do serious offroading with their vitaras convert them to solid axel. It costs a whole lot of money to lift an independant suspension properly and it costs a lot to beef up the drive train to accomodate the larger tires and the extra stress applied by bashing it around offroad. Stock samurai was built for off road use out of the box. The vitara is a comfortable ride, ample power and mild offroad capable.

Good for a rural area where you get dirt roads and occasional washouts or for mild trail riding that would have your teeth rattling if you were in a samurai. I had a 2000 kia sportage that was amazingly similar to the older Vitara... fun ride and great daily driver. I drove the snot out of it on road, but the support arms were too flimsy and the suspension wasn't adequate for me to go wheeling in it. I retired it when the cash for clunkers program offered me 5000 dollars for it last year. (only paid 4K for it back in 2004)
 

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I do respect Suzuki for keeping the basics right. I wish they would bring the Jimny to the US though. Having talked to a Suzuki USA executive though, it will probably never happen. Darn CR...
A few years back, a group of us sent a letter to Suzuki USA (in English and in Japanese) asking them to consider bringing back the old capabilities with a few new twists. Something that would appeal to the offroad enthusiast. This was in a time where they were just getting over the legal fights with Consumers Union (parent company for CR). I still see email going around about the petition that we drew up...
I am hoping that it is one small part of why they have not left the 4x4 marketplace here in the US. There was alot of support in that petition. Lots of good comments too.
 

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a lot of people that do serious offroading with their vitaras convert them to solid axel. It costs a whole lot of money to lift an independant suspension properly and it costs a lot to beef up the drive train to accomodate the larger tires and the extra stress applied by bashing it around offroad. Stock samurai was built for off road use out of the box. The vitara is a comfortable ride, ample power and mild offroad capable.

Good for a rural area where you get dirt roads and occasional washouts or for mild trail riding that would have your teeth rattling if you were in a samurai. I had a 2000 kia sportage that was amazingly similar to the older Vitara... fun ride and great daily driver. I drove the snot out of it on road, but the support arms were too flimsy and the suspension wasn't adequate for me to go wheeling in it. I retired it when the cash for clunkers program offered me 5000 dollars for it last year. (only paid 4K for it back in 2004)
Wow, that's a good deal on your Kia! Did you have the pre-Hyundai Sportage with low range? I heard good praise for it off-road, although it had a LOT of reliability issues. I totally agree with your comments. Are there people with the new GV converted to solid axles? I've never seen such thing, and can't imagine it easy, being a unibody construction.

A few years back, a group of us sent a letter to Suzuki USA (in English and in Japanese) asking them to consider bringing back the old capabilities with a few new twists. Something that would appeal to the offroad enthusiast. This was in a time where they were just getting over the legal fights with Consumers Union (parent company for CR). I still see email going around about the petition that we drew up...
I am hoping that it is one small part of why they have not left the 4x4 marketplace here in the US. There was alot of support in that petition. Lots of good comments too.
Luckily we still get the Jimny here; but they're mostly sold as fleet vehicles, to mail delivery companies and such. So we don't get the fancy soft tops like the Europeans do. They are still quite capable, but no longer use lever-based transfer cases, and the T/C is now chain driven, rather than gear driven like them old Sammies. They now have flimsy towing points, so forget about helping other people out with them. But otherwise they maintain the good old tradition of Sammies, with proper ladder frame chassis and solid axles. Some Australians swap the chain-driven T/C with Samurai ones, and use a special adapter to adapt it to the electric controls. I reckon you can easily install many Samurai components on those Jimnies without a problem.
 
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