2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV - FROM $19,499
Aside from its capability as a light-duty off-road vehicle, the 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara is outclassed by most other compact SUVs on the market.
What's New for 2012
The 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara now has an additional trim level — the Ultimate Adventure Edition — and a new tailgate design eliminates the full-size spare tire from most models.
Standing out in the competitive compact crossover SUV market is no easy task. In this segment, style, utility, the latest convenience features, favorable fuel economy and a reasonable price are all expected. Unfortunately, the 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara doesn't do as good a job meeting these criteria as its competition.
In some aspects, the Grand Vitara still holds appeal. Standard features include automatic climate control and a navigation system; those are usually optional extras for a small crossover. The Suzuki further distinguishes itself with a decent amount of off-road capability and a generous 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
But even these perks can't overcome the Grand Vitara's primary drawback, namely, a weak four-cylinder engine that struggles to either propel it with any authority or achieve top fuel-economy numbers. As of last year, the V6 engine option is no longer available. Points are also deducted for the Grand Vitara's unrefined ride quality.
With this in mind, we think shoppers will likely be happier with one of the many other top-rated compact SUVs. Right in the Suzuki's price range are the Hyundai Tucson and related Kia Sportage --