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>> It is Suzuki's highest expression of SUV. But coming from a company that has a hard time figuring out what it stands for, what does that mean? Let's look into the Grand Vitara Limited V6 All Wheel Drive with Nav and Check the Tech.
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The lines of a 2010 Grand Vitara are frankly quite understated, especially considering it comes from a company that could use a little fanfare. Ours is finished off in black pearl over beige leather. It strikes a more imposing note than it frankly has a right to. It is 10 inches shorter than a Lexus RX, 3 inches narrower, about the same height. But the exposed rear spare mounted on a swingout barn door helps reinforce an image of genuine ruggedness. Inside, you are reminded this is a sub30 grand vehicle. No designer audio systems available, just some sort of Suzuki premium sound thing with AM/FM, MP3 CD and an aux jack. XM is optional, and it all comes out of seven speakers of nonspecific lineage. Touchscreen navigation is standard. But it's this, a PND, sort of loosely hung on the underside of a dash top vinical [phonetic] door. Calling this integrated factory Nav is like saying your car has HDTV because you're transporting a set home from Best Buy. It's a small Garmin, works fine, at least for now. You see, it has live traffic, weather, gas prices and movie times, but it gets them from MSN Direct, which Microsoft has announced will cease operation in January of 2012. After that, I guess you'll go back to AM radio for traffic on the 8's and be hauling out your iPhone to hit the Fandango app. Bluetooth Hands Free is an a la carte option on all Grand Vitaras. But when you do get it, it includes onscreen display of text messages. Our Grand Vitara is a V6 Limited, as I mentioned, so we have 230 horsepower underfoot and 213 pounds of torque coming out of a 3.2 liter engine that moves this thing from 0 to 60 in about 8 1/2, while delivering decent 18/23 MPG, and similarly middling 5 and 5 ratings for smog and CO2. Very midpack. But you don't buy a Grand Vitara to go fast, but perhaps to go over a few things. So the All Wheel Drive is part of the identity. The system is fulltime, so it's more meant for traction than the real heavy offroad stuff. There's hill descent control and hill holder for starting on steep, upward grades. And unlike many posers, the Grand Vitara has a unibody integrated with a ladder frame, sort of kind of like a real truck. It can tow 3,000 pounds. The V6 All Wheel Drive Limited with Nav is top of the line for a Grand Vitara. So base price is about 27, 8 delivered. Bluetooth Hands Free with text messaging distraction, display, is a pultry [phonetic] 260 bucks. What, you're not going to get it? By comparison, XM Radio is almost pricey at 400. And that's it for the tech options. Now, go get muddy.
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