New for 2009-Suzuki

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
  • SX4 sedan and hatchback gain standard navigation system

  • Front-drive SX4 hatchback debuts, making all-wheel drive (AWD) an option rather than standard

  • Forenza and Reno passenger cars are dropped, making SX4 duo the only Suzuki passenger cars

  • Brand-new Equator debuts-Suzuki's first pickup in U.S.

  • Equator is result of joint venture with Nissan

  • Four-cylinder engine newly standard under Grand Vitara hood

  • Grand Vitara V-6 engine grows in size and power

  • XL7 gains 6-speed automatic transmission, loses base model

  • Revived subcompact Swift may debut in 2010

2009 Suzuki Equator

Brand new for 2009, the Equator is Suzuki's first-ever pickup truck in the U.S. market. Actually manufactured by Nissan in Tennessee, the Equator especially targets customers who own a Suzuki motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, or outboard motor for boating. Front-end styling will differ from the Nissan Frontier. So will interior details. Flip-up rear seats and a folding front-passenger seat will be installed. Extended-cab and crew-cab body styles will be offered, with a short or long cargo bed and either rear-drive or 4-wheel drive. Six air bags are standard, including curtain side-impact air bags and front seat-mounted air bags. Powertrains are similar to the Frontier's. The 152-hp 4-cylinder,engine comes with either a manual gearbox or a 5-speed automatic transmission. Only automatic is available with the 261-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 engine. Hill descent control and hill-start assist are optional. EPA fuel-economy estimates range from 19 mpg city/23 mpg highway to 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway, depending on powertrain. Sales begin in the fourth quarter of 2008.

2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara

For the first time in the U.S. market, Grand Vitara buyers get the choice of a 4-cylinder engine, of 2.4 liters, that works with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed automatic transmission. Four-cylinder Grand Vitaras, rated at 166 hp, will come with either rear-drive or new Single Mode AWD. Stepping up a notch, a 3.2-liter V-6 engine that generates 230 hp replaces the prior 2.7-liter model, accompanied by a 5-speed automatic transmission and available 4-Mode AWD. Base and Premium versions of the compact crossover SUV will be offered only with the new 4-cylinder engine, while the Xsport can have either the 4-cylinder or the V-6 engine. Only the V-6 engine goes into Luxury models. Chassis rigidity has been strengthened, and the front end gets some appearance freshening. Curtain air bags gain rollover sensing, rear disc brakes have been added, and sun visor extenders are newly standard. Suzuki's driver information center and climate-control system have been modified, too.

2009 Suzuki SX4

For 2009, Suzuki's subcompact SX4 Sport sedan and SX4 hatchback become the lowest-priced cars in America to contain a standard navigation system, the company claims. Developed in collaboration with Garmin, the navigation system includes Bluetooth phone connectivity with an audible text-message reader, as well as a gas-station/point-of-interest finder and real-time traffic information. Both the 4-door Sport and the 5-door hatchback get the navigation system. Suzuki's 143-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mates with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. A front-wheel-drive (FWD) hatchback joins the lineup, making AWD an option. All sedans have FWD. Hatchbacks gain a standard Electronic Stability Program. Front armrests and a split-folding rear sedan seat become standard. Seat-mounted air bags and curtain air bags are standard. A new entry-level base sedan will be added for 2009. The 2009 SX4 models go on sale in summer 2008.

2009 Suzuki XL7

A new 6-speed automatic transmission replaces the 5-speed unit in Suzuki's larger, midsize crossover SUV, promising improved fuel economy. All XL7s will now have three rows of seats for 7-passenger capacity, and the base trim level is departing. Premium, Luxury and Limited models will be offered. All models add a standard self-leveling rear suspension. Otherwise, modifications for 2009 are mainly cosmetic in nature. All XL7 models use a 252-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 engine, with FWD or Getrag AWD.

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