What Changed for 2009:
- New 4-cylinder engine rated up to 26 mpg highway
- New V-6 engine offers 45 more horsepower and delivers improved fuel economy
- Stronger unibody structure with 50/50 weight distribution
- Revised front-end styling
- Two 4-wheel-drive systems available
- Rear disc brakes replace prior drums
- New conveniences, including sliding armrests and visors, and lit steering-wheel controls
- Available Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control
Last redesigned in 2006, the compact Suzuki Grand Vitara 4-door, 5-passenger SUV returns for 2009 with two new engines and two available 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems. A 4-cylinder engine is offered for the first time, while the new 3.2-liter V-6 engine is rated at 230 hp, versus the 2008 model's 2.7-liter V-6 engine with 185 hp. A new grille and front bumper have been installed on the Grand Vitara, and interior enhancements include illuminated steering-wheel controls, sliding front center armrest, visor extenders, and upgraded cloth upholstery. Grand Vitaras can seat 5 passengers and have 24.4 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats up, growing to 68.9 cubic feet when the 60/40-split seatbacks are folded down.
With the new 4-cylinder engine, the 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara is available in four trim levels: Base, Premium, XSport and Luxury. Offered only with rear-wheel drive (RWD), the Base model includes anti-lock brakes; automatic climate control with micron air filtration; trip computer; power windows, door locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; tilt steering wheel; automatic on/off headlamps; 4-speaker CD radio with XM satellite capability; and 16-inch wheels. The Premium model adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel; cruise control; privacy glass; full-size spare tire cover; and a cargo cover. A 4-speed automatic transmission is available for the Premium edition, and Premium models with Single-Mode 4WD include heated mirrors.
Available with RWD or Four-Mode 4WD, the XSport model includes a sunroof, keyless entry/start system, 6-disc CD changer, roof rack rails, fog lamps, and 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels. With the optional V-6 engine, the XSport also gets Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control, 8-speaker audio, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Topping the Grand Vitara lineup, the Luxury version includes leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, and 8-speaker audio. Luxury models with V-6 power get 18-inch alloy wheels and a HomeLink wireless control system. An iPod interface is available as an accessory.
Previous Grand Vitaras came only with a V-6 engine, rated at 185 hp. For 2009, a new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard, producing 166 hp and 162 lb.-ft. of torque. With the standard 5-speed manual transmission and rear-drive, the 4-cylinder model earns an EPA fuel-economy estimate of 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway. A 4-speed automatic transmission drops that estimate slightly, to 19/25 mpg. The new 3.2-liter V-6 engine develops 230 hp and 213 lb.-ft. of torque. Offered only with a 5-speed automatic transmission, the rear-drive V-6 model gets an EPA estimate of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway. Suzuki says the 3.2-liter V-6 is 20-percent \"cleaner\" than the V-6 in the 2008 model, as measured by California's smog index rating.
The Grand Vitara's load-bearing, integral ladder-frame construction and optional truck-style 4WD systems enable it to perform off-road as well as on, Suzuki says. A Single-Mode 4WD setup is available for Premium models. Four-Mode full-time 4WD on the XSport and Luxury models lets the driver select 4H, allowing the system to apply traction to the front wheels only as needed. Off-road, or when seeking low-speed power and traction, the driver may select high-range 4H Lock or low-range 4L Lock to engage the center differential lock. Grand Vitara V-6 models with Four-Mode 4WD include Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control. Four-wheel drive drops the EPA fuel-economy estimates to 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway with the 4-cylinder/manual, 19 mpg city/23 mpg highway with the 4-cylinder/automatic, and 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway with the V-6/automatic.
Standard safety features on the 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara include ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, stability and traction control, and a tire-pressure-monitoring system. In addition, all models include a full complement of air bags: dual-stage driver and weight-sensing front passenger air bags, front-seat-mounted side-impact air bags, and side curtain air bags with rollover sensors for both rows of seats.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Suzuki Grand Vitara receives a 4-star rating for frontal crash protection, a 5-star rating for side-impact protection, and a 4-star rollover-resistance rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Grand Vitara a \"Good\" rating for frontal crash protection, and an \"Acceptable\" rating for side impacts.
Grand Vitara buyers have a choice of two distinct 4WD systems. The Four-Mode full-time 4WD system includes a 2-speed transfer case. With an automatic transmission and Four-Mode 4WD, a Grand Vitara can be flat-towed-a potential advantage for RV owners.