Suzuki is no stranger to the small SUV market, having previously offered the Samurai. It has been building the Grand Vitara since 1999. The Grand Vitara's independent suspension and moderate power qualify it as a crossover.

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The Grand Vitara uses a modern exterior design for a small SUV, reminiscent of the Ford Escape. But it is ultimately bland.

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The Grand Vitara has a practical design, with large side doors allowing easy access.

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In a nod toward rugged SUVs of the past--and as a means of saving space--the Grand Vitara wraps its spare tire in a hard case.

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The side-opening rear door is the most unique exterior feature of the Grand Vitara. There are pros and cons to this configuration over a top-opening hatch: you won't bump your head on it, but it's also difficult to load cargo from the right side of the car.

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We were impressed by the fit and finish of the interior in this Luxury trim model. There is little tech to be had, though, with no navigation system or Bluetooth cell phone integration.

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As a surprising feature for a car at this price, the Grand Vitara uses a keyless start system. You can keep this fob in your pocket at all times while unlocking and starting the car.

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The Luxury trim model gets a premium stereo, with a six-disc changer that plays MP3s and WMAs. It is also prepped for satellite radio.

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We like how the cruise and audio control buttons are integrated into the spokes of the steering wheel.

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The instrument cluster uses an attractive three-gauge design. However, the trip computer shows only mile counts for Trip A and Trip B, with no range-to-empty or miles-per-gallon readouts.

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The car uses a five-speed automatic transmission with no manual gear selection mode. Wood accents were something we wouldn't expect to see on a car like this.

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Its 2.7-liter V-6 produces the right amount of power to move this car along, but its economy and emissions aren't spectacular.

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