Suzuki Grand Vitara (1998 - 2006) used car review | Car review | RAC Drive (2023)

Suzuki Grand Vitara (1998 - 2006) used car review | Car review | RAC Drive (1)

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(Video) 1998 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Suzuki Grand Vitara (1998 - 2006) used car review | Car review | RAC Drive (2)



The Suzuki Grand Vitara is a serious four-wheel drive that has struggled to rid itself of the wide-wheel and bodykit image Vitaras were saddled with in the early nineties. In many ways Suzuki themselves didn't help its cause by introducing a frivolous three-door soft-top version, invoking the spirit of what many people consider the worst car in recent history, the Suzuki X-90. These associations do a fine car no favours. Find a good used Grand Vitara and you'll have a reasonably stylish 4x4 that will embarrass many more 'established' off road favourites when the going gets muddy.

(Video) 2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara Review |


Models Covered:

(3 dr soft top, 3/5 dr 4x4 [1.6,2.0, 2.5, 2.7 petrol,2.0 diesel)


The Grand Vitara is a more serious proposition than its junior sibling and upon launch in April 1998 offered a five-door body with a 2.5 V6 engine, then a unique feature in the junior 4x4 market sector. Five months later, the turbo diesel option was introduced, with a 2.0-litre capacity in the same body shell. The range remained unchanged until May 1999, when the GV2000 Soft Top was launched. This used a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, and had three doors and a rather ungainly profile.

The range was completed with the launch of the three-door estate variant in March 2000. This handsome model offered the larger dimensions that buyers in the market for vehicles such as a Honda HR-V or Toyota RAV-4 weren't getting from the standard Vitara. Like all Grand Vitara models, it boasted a rugged ladder-framed chassis and low-ratio gearbox, which bestowed superior off road capabilities.

Early in 2001, both 3 and 5-door versions got a minor facelift and a trim upgrade. The 3-door got a new 1.6-litre engine option, while the 5-door gained a better turbo diesel engine and a 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol variant. The long wheelbase 2.7-litre XL7 seven seater variant debuted at the end of 2001 followed in April 2002 by a five seater model.

What You Get

There's a vague division in the market for four-wheel drives at the moment. 'Proper' off-road cars such as Range Rovers or Toyota Land Cruisers have tough ladder-framed chassis which are far more rugged than those that use a car-based monocoque arrangement, such as the Toyota RAV-4 or the Honda CR-V. If the market were divided into those two camps, things would be easy. Unfortunately you get vehicles like the Land Rover Freelander, with its serious name and off-road pretensions which are monocoque bodied, and vehicles like the Suzuki Grand Vitara that seem quite lightweight, but boasts a full ladder frame and low-range gearbox. In truth, the Suzuki is a great deal more accomplished and no-nonsense than many would believe.

(Video) (SOLD) Automatic 4x4 SUV Suzuki Grand Vitara 2006 Review with Flat Tow Conversion Kit

The five-door versions have sold far more than the soft-top and newer three-door hardtop version, and makes an interesting case for itself. Equipment on the both five-door versions includes a CD player, electric windows, central locking, powered mirrors and an adjustable steering wheel, but air-conditioning and ABS were extras. Given that asking prices for the V6 significantly undercut rivals such as the Freelander, this makes the Grand Vitara a value used buy. There have been no short cuts on the safety front either. Proof of this can be seen by the fact that Suzuki immediately meets the latest stringent USA model year crash standards; the Freelander needs modifications to do so. Twin airbags are standard of course, as is the now almost compulsory high-level rear stop light.

The three-door models may have sold less, but in many ways are more interesting. Badged in this country as GV2000 models, they are identically priced and specified, but the two body types are built in different factories. The Soft-Top is made in Suzuki's Canadian plant (a joint venture with General Motors) while the Estate comes from Japan.

The front section of the Soft-Top's canvas hood - above the front seats - can be folded back or removed separately if required, enabling the driver and front seat passenger to enjoy open-top motoring targa-style. If you want to go the whole hog, the rear section has been designed to be unzipped and folded down to create a full Cabriolet-style 4x4. Be warned however, it's not a quick job. Once you're roofless, however, the car does become a very flexible load carrier thanks to 50/50 split rear seats that can be independently folded for loading versatility or `somersaulted' forward to provide maximum storage. The Estate's load area is equally flexible.

The rest of the 3-door interior is described by Suzuki as 'fashionable yet functional'. Functional would be the pertinent word; grey plastic abounds but it all works well enough. There's certainly plenty fitted as standard; a radio/CD player with remote control, power steering, front electric windows, power mirrors, central locking, twin front airbags and tinted glass.

What You Pay

Please contact us for an exact up-to-date valuation.

What to Look For

The Grand Vitara is largely reliable, but as with most proper 4x4s, you'll need to check for damage caused by off road work. Have a good look at the underbody, and check the suspension, sills, ramp and departure points and also wheelarch liners for signs of damage. Also inspect the paintwork and body for damage from branches etc. It would also pay to reject cars with whining differentials, noisy gearboxes, a chattering set of valves or a loud camshaft unless you plan to undertake the repairs. One bugbear of the range is seizing brake callipers, especially if the vehicle has been laid up for some time. Other than this, just insist on a fully stamped up service history.

(Video) No Budget Reviews: 2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.6 Sport 3 Door - Lloyd Vehicle Consulting

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 1998 Grand Vitara V6) If the previous keeper's been off-roading in their Grand Vitara, check the exhaust system, as at around £500 for a replacement, it's not a repair to be undertaken lightly. A new clutch assembly will be around £200, and a replacement headlamp is about £130. Front brake pads and rear brake shoes are both around £55 a pair, whilst a new radiator retails at £250. A new alternator is only slightly cheaper at £240, whilst a new starter motor weighs in at a pricey £350.

On the Road

Drive the Grand Vitara solely on the road and you'll be enjoying about half of the full ownership experience. To understand its raison d'etre, it's best to undertake a bit of off-road activity. For a start, you get the box-section steel ladder-frame structure for strength and durability and the low ratio gearbox, for impressive ability in the mud. In fact, the only thing the Grand Vitara lacks is permanent four-wheel drive. Suzuki says you won't need it (though Land Rover owners, of course, will beg to differ). Instead, a new 'Drive Select' system has been developed; rather than having to stop to engage four-wheel drive, as was necessary before, you can now do so at speeds of up to 62mph.

The Grand Vitara five-door's other unique feature for this sector of the market is a V6 engine (though you can also opt for 2.0-litre Turbo Diesel version or two-litre petrol in the three-door models). The V6 in question is a specially-developed 2.5-litre 24-valve 2493cc unit with multi-point fuel injection, putting out 142bhp. It doesn't make the car a ball of fire (the maximum speed is a mere 103mph) but in an off roader of this type, that's not a problem.

No, the key selling point here is torque; pulling power to get you up the steepest of slopes. Pulling power to make constant gear changing around town unnecessary (it pulls in fifth from almost walking speed). That the top Vitara is now at last an easy vehicle to live with is also confirmed by the changes which have been made in terms of steering, suspension and overall refinement. Steering first; the new rack and pinion set-up is light-years ahead of the old recirculating ball system this company used to inflict on its customers. The car now goes immediately where you point it. The ride too, is far better than anything Suzuki have yet produced (though it's still not perfect over rough surfaces). The engineers have also learnt how to control body roll - and not before time. The three-door GV2000 models are even better on road.

Driving an original Vitara at speed along a bumpy country lane was an experience akin to sitting astride a bucking bronco. In comparison, the GV2000's ride is a revelation, thanks to a new five-link rigid axle with movement controlled by separate springs and low-pressure gas shock absorbers. This is now something you really could use as an everyday car. Refinement is also in a different league from Vitaras of the past, with much effort having been made to eliminate the main areas of noise, vibration and harshness. What it boils down to is that this is one of the very few affordable off roading vehicles that you could easily live with as an only car.

Of course, it won't handle quite like an everyday car; you're too high off the ground for that. It's not bad, however, providing you don't fling the Grand Vitara around too much; the addition of a front stabiliser bar has done little to control body movement. Where the Grand Vitara Soft-Top doesn't feel quite as happy is on the motorway. It's susceptible to side winds and the fabric hood reminds you all the time what you've bought. In the wet, thanks to the PVC rear window, you can hardly see anything behind. Still, this isn't a motorway car - and in any case, there are plenty of compensations. The Estate is quieter, of course, with better visibility through the tailgate glass, but it too gets buffeted about.

(Video) Suzuki grand Vitara review | 2002 model suzuki grand Vitara | Pak vehicles tv


A used Suzuki Grand Vitara is a good way to acquire a reasonably priced, usefully sized 'proper' 4x4. The three-door models veer towards the 'style over substance' leanings of Suzuki's past, but the five-door cars are excellent buys. A V6 five-door estate has a lot going for it. If you can track a good one down, it won't disappoint.


Is a 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara reliable? ›

The Grand Vitara is largely reliable, but as with most proper 4x4s, you'll need to check for damage caused by off road work.

Is the Suzuki Grand Vitara a reliable SUV? ›

Based on the results reported in the model-specific JD Power consumer survey, it is safe to say that the Suzuki Grand Vitara is indeed a reliable vehicle. However, should you consider a used model, be sure to do a thorough inspection as the condition greatly depends on how the vehicle was used throughout its lifespan.

What are common problems in the Suzuki Grand Vitara? ›

Top Suzuki Grand Vitara Problems
  • Low Beam Head Light. ...
  • Oil Leak/Noise Due to Timing Chain Cover Gasket/Tensioner Failure. ...
  • AC Condenser Fan Motor May Fail. ...
  • Creaking or Squeaking Noise From Sway Bar Bushings. ...
  • Drive Belt Noise. ...
  • Revised Seal to Correct Leak at Right Front Axle. ...
  • PCM Software Update Available.

Is Suzuki Grand Vitara worth buying? ›

Grand vitara 2022 is a good beginning for all medal class family's and also good for pricing and i suggested to buy people who are planning to buy car under 10 lakes then coming to mileage in city 18kmpl mileage and highway 21kmpl mileage and it is very easy to maintain and maintenance is under 6000 per service… and ...

Is Suzuki Vitara 2006 a good car? ›

The 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara Luxury strikes a nice balance of on-road comfort and off-road ability. Suzuki has added size and power to its package, while keeping its price below a top-of-the-line CR-V and RAV4. As a result, it's much better equipped to climb uphill in this competitive market segment.

Is Suzuki Vitara fuel-efficient? ›

The 2022 Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara is the new flagship SUV in the company's portfolio. Also, with a claimed mileage of up to 27.97 kmpl, it is now the most fuel-efficient SUV in the country. The engine and transmission-wise mileage figures of the new Grand Vitara are mentioned below.

What year did Grand Vitara avoid? ›

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the problem is caused by the leather seat upholstery, which can shrink over time because of exposure to high humidity and temperatures. As a result, Suzuki has recalled certain 2006 to 2013 Grand Vitara models.

What is the common problem of Suzuki? ›

Suzuki cars are prone to problems ranging from transmission system issues to faulty engine systems, bad timing chain tensioners, and burnt-out head bulbs, among other problems specific to each model.

Is a Grand Vitara a real 4x4? ›

The Suzuki Vitara is a compact and inexpensive 4x4 that has been designed from the ground up to be an affordable, inexpensive and incredibly practical SUV that does what it's supposed to.

Who makes the Suzuki Vitara engine? ›

The vehicle was developed by Suzuki using the Global C platform shared with the SX4 S-Cross and the Vitara. The mild hybrid model, marketed as "Smart Hybrid" by Suzuki and "NeoDrive" by Toyota, uses Suzuki's 1.5-litre K15C four-cylinder engine and the Smart Hybrid system developed by Suzuki.

What is the difference between Suzuki Vitara and Grand Vitara? ›

With a length of 4345mm, a width of 1795mm, and a height of 1645mm, the Grand Vitara is longer, wider, and taller. Wheelbase, on the other hand, comes in at 2600mm which makes it 100mm more than the Vitara AllGrip.

Is a Suzuki Grand Vitara a 4x4 or an AWD? ›

Maruti has announced that its upcoming Creta-rivalling mid-size SUV based on the Toyota Hyryder will be called Grand Vitara and will come with an AWD configuration.

Is Grand Vitara engine good? ›

The Grand Vitara, powered by Suzuki's 1.5 Dualjet, puts out 103hp – a fair amount. It is down on torque, however, when compared to rivals, and what torque there is, a maximum of 137Nm, only comes in fully at 4,400rpm. What skews performance even further is that it is clearly tuned for fuel efficiency.

Is Grand Vitara good for long drive? ›

This is a comfortable car for a long drive with good features. The best car in India at this price with good mileage, cooling and a sunroof view in the front.

Why was Grand Vitara discontinued? ›

Imported as a completely built-up (CBU) unit, the Grand Vitara XL-7 didn't find buyers. In four years, the carmaker could sell only 335 units. In 2007, the carmaker launched the new-generation of the SUV, this time called the Grand Vitara. But it could sell only 1,291 units and discontinued it in 2013.

Does Suzuki Vitara use Fiat engine? ›

Suzuki offered only one diesel engine, the Fiat-built 1.6-litre DDiS, with just two models – the Vitara and SX4 S-Cross.

Are Suzuki cars reliable? ›

Suzuki is celebrating some great news from the results of the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey. Following reports from over 16,300 readers about their car ownership experience for vehicles up to five years old, Suzuki ranked joint third out of the 30 car brands measured with a score of 97.1% reliability.

What is the engine of Vitara? ›

The Maruti Grand Vitara has 2 Petrol Engine on offer. The Petrol engine is 1462 cc and 1490 cc . It is available with Manual & Automatic transmission.Depending upon the variant and fuel type the Grand Vitara has a mileage of 19.38 to 27.97 kmpl .

Is Suzuki Vitara a reliable car? ›

Suzuki Vitara reliability

And Suzuki has a very good reputation for building SUVs that are both rugged and long-lasting. The Suzuki Vitara was rated average for reliability in our 2022 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, and finished a respectable 52nd out of the top 75 cars currently on sale in the UK.

Does Grand Vitara has Toyota engine? ›

The Grand Vitara is a vehicle that combines the capabilities of both Toyota and Suzuki. It's a rare vehicle that combines Suzuki's famous Global C platform, the AllGrip four-wheel drive, and a strong hybrid system found in the Hilux, Camry and Prius, and other Toyota technologies.

Is Suzuki Vitara a safe car? ›

One of its major safety features is Total Effective Control Technology which is a concept for occupant protecting impact absorption and low weight developed by Suzuki.
​Adult occupant​ 89%​80%
​Safety Assist​75%​70%
1 more row

Is Suzuki Grand Vitara made in Japan? ›

The 4-cyl. Tracker and Vitara are virtual twins built at the CAMI assembly plant, a Suzuki-GM joint venture in Ingersoll, Ont. The Grand Vitara is made in Japan.

Is Suzuki Vitara from Japan? ›

In Japan the Vitara is sold as the Escudo, while in North America the first generation was known as the Sidekick. The choice of the name ”Vitara” was inspired by the English word “vital,” as in “vitality.”

How much is a Suzuki Grand Vitara worth? ›

Maruti Grand Vitara price starts at ₹ 10.45 Lakh and goes upto ₹ 19.65 Lakh (Avg. ex-showroom). Grand Vitara comes in 15 variants. Grand Vitara model price in mild hybrid(electric + petrol) is ₹ 10.45 Lakh.

Are Suzuki cars better than Toyota? ›

Toyotas generally have a higher brand value and perception than a Maruti Suzuki, which could weigh in your favour; 4) Both companies offer good aftersales service, and although Maruti Suzuki is more widespread, Toyota has a reputation for its service quality.

Is Suzuki as reliable as Toyota? ›

Following Suzuki at the top of the reliability rankings was Lexus (97.5%) and Toyota (96.8%), with Kia, Mitsubishi and Subaru all tied for fourth place with a score of 95.8%.

Is Suzuki cheap to maintain? ›

Suzuki's are known for having decent reliability, so it's reasonable to expect your Suzuki will need slightly less maintenance than the average car on the road. Expect your Suzuki to visit the repair shop no more than average—so, about 0.4 times per year for unplanned maintenance.

Is a Suzuki Grand Vitara front or rear wheel drive? ›

The second, third-generation and 2022 models are known as the Suzuki Grand Vitara, with the fourth generation eschewing the "Grand" prefix.
Suzuki Vitara
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel-drive (1988–2017) Front-engine, front-wheel-drive (2015–present) Front-engine, four-wheel-drive (1988–present)
6 more rows

How do you put a Suzuki Grand Vitara in 4wd? ›

Lift your foot off the accelerator pedal, push in on the selector knob and rotate the selector from 4H to 4H Lock. Slowly reapply pressure to the accelerator and resume driving. The 4H Lock will provide more traction to all four wheels.

Does Grand Vitara have low range? ›

Each and every version of the Vitara, Grand or otherwise, could be had with low-range four-wheel drive, a full-frame chassis, and coil springs front and rear, and two-door models offered a soft convertible top.

Which Vitara engine is best? ›

Our chosen engine in the Suzuki Vitara is the 1.4-litre petrol engine that produces 127bhp and uses mild-hybrid technology to give it a little extra performance without sacrificing fuel-efficiency. In fact, you won't notice the extra assistance but that's not to say it's slow.

What is the best Suzuki Vitara engine? ›

When the Vitara was facelifted in 2019, Suzuki dropped the 1.6-litre engines (not replacing the diesel) and introduced the 1.0 BoosterJet engine. For us, this is by far the best engine choice.

Is Suzuki Vitara a 4x4? ›

The short answer is yes, the Suzuki Vitara is a 4x4.

Is Grand Vitara all wheel drive? ›

The new Grand Vitara will be available in two 1.5-litre engines, multiple transmission options, and the first vehicle in its category that will be equipped with an all-wheel-drive-system and a full hybrid technology.

Where is Suzuki Grand Vitara made? ›

Suzuki unveils Grand Vitara – made by Toyota – in India.

Which model Grand Vitara is all wheel drive? ›

Maruti Grand Vitara Alpha AWD DT.

What is the difference between AWD and 4WD? ›

All-wheel drive, or AWD, refers to a system where all four wheels can gain traction independently of each other. The difference between AWD and 4WD is that AWD is typically always on while you can toggle between having 4WD on and off.

How many gears does a Suzuki Grand Vitara have? ›

The mild-hybrid engine is paired with either a five-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission and the strong-hybrid engine is only offered with an e-CVT gearbox. The top-spec mild-hybrid manual variant can also be had with AWD (all-wheel drive).

Can Suzuki Vitara go offroad? ›

After coming out in 1988, the Vitara transformed into the redesigned Grand Vitara by the third generation in 2005. Though the compact SUV is capable of handling some light off-roading adventures thanks to standard features like stability and traction control, serious off-roaders might want to look elsewhere.

What does Grand Vitara mean? ›

Grand - “Great" Vitara - "way of life”

Is a Grand Vitara the same as a Vitara? ›

The Suzuki Vitara is a series of SUVs produced by Suzuki in five generations since 1988. The second, third-generation and 2022 models are known as the Suzuki Grand Vitara, with the fourth generation eschewing the "Grand" prefix.

Can Suzuki Grand Vitara go off road? ›

Yes, for the most part. While the latest Suzuki Grand Vitara does have some capacity for off-roading, it wasn't designed for extremely rigorous adventures off the beaten path.

Which engine is used in Grand Vitara? ›

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara: powertrains

Suzuki's 103hp, 1.5 Dualjet engine that comes with a mild hybrid system is the base engine on offer and comes with a 5-speed manual transmission and a 6-speed automatic. Some versions can also be bought with four-wheel drive.


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