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Brand New Suzuki Grand Vitara

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Tony O'Kane | Aug 27, 2008

Suzuki has announced that its updated-for-2009 Grand Vitara will hit showrooms Australia-wide in September, bringing with more power, better economy and greater safety than the outgoing model, along with a few minor cosmetic upgrades.

Two new petrol engines join the Grand Vitara range, with a 2.4-litre inline four replacing the old 1.6 and 2-litre units and a new 3.2-litre V6 taking up residence in the Grand Vitara Prestige. Both engines are equipped with variable valve timing (intake cam only on the 2.4-litre and both intake and exhaust on the 3.2) and both are smoother, quieter and more refined than the outgoing motors.

The 2.4-litre engine also features a variable-length intake manifold, which can change the length of the inlet tract to help improve torque production across the rev range and improve efficiency. Combined with the VVT system, the 2.4-litre four is capable of busting out a respectable 122kW while delivering an admirable fuel consumption figure of just 8.8 litres per 100km when equipped with the 5-speed manual gearbox.

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With an extra 500cc over the outgoing 2.7-litre V6, the 165kW 3.2-litre donk in the Grand Vitara Prestige still manages to deliver an ADR economy figure of 10.5 litres per 100km, which makes it 9 per cent more frugal than its smaller predecessor. Power is also 22 per cent higher than the old engine and with its variable valve timing, roller rockers and silent drive system for its timing chain, it's easy to see why the 3.2L V6 is the flagship motor for the 2009 Grand Vitara. The 1.9-litre turbodiesel four carries over from the old model, and has been warmed over by Suzuki's engineers for an improved fuel economy figure of 7L/100km.

The 2.4-litre engine is available with either a 5-speed manual or a four-speed automatic, while the V6 comes with a 5-speed slushbox as the only option. All engines come hooked up to Suzuki's excellent 4x4 system, which features a dual-range transfer case and locking centre differential for when the going gets really tough. The Prestige V6 also comes equipped with hill descent control and hill hold control as standard.

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Styling has also undergone a mild update, with the front bumper now protruding an extra 30mm to help accomodate the new V6 and provide greater safety for pedestrians. The grille has also been revised, while the front foglights are now spaced further apart. Those opting for the Grand Vitara Prestige may also be pleased to know that it also comes with wing mirror-mounted LED indicators and high-intesity discharge headlamps.

There's also two new wheel designs for 09, with a 17-inch 5-spoke alloy rim being standard on the diesel and Prestige models, and optional on the base model 5-door. Prestige model Grand Vitara's can also be optioned with an 18-inch seven-spoke rim, which adds a little more bling to the overall package.

Electronic stabilty control is now standard across the full Grand Vitara range, which when paired with the Suzuki's 4WD system should make it one hell of a sure-footed compact SUV. Rear ventilated disc brakes replace the antiquated drums of the outgoing model, and safety-conscious buyers will be even happier to know that all Grand Vitara's get side and curtain airbags fitted as standard equipment.

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At just $24,990 for the base model 3-door manual to $40,490 for the full-fat 5-door Prestige V6, the new Grand Vitara range offers excellent value for money. For those not wanting a full-size 4x4 yet not willing to give up some genuine off-roading capability, the Grand Vitara also represents one of the best buys out there. Interested parties can get one from their local Suzuki dealer in September.

The New Grand Vitara

“The first things we addressed were even higher on-road performance and tougher off-road capability. No matter how refined the styling or the modifications, the off-road performance cannot be allowed to suffer and that is the essence of the Grand Vitara.”

Suzuki will begin another exciting chapter in its 99-year history in September with the release of a new Grand Vitara compact SUV line-up.

An evolution of the groundbreaking 2005 model, the new Grand Vitara range adds real customer benefits and builds on Suzuki’s comprehensive four-wheel drive heritage.

It continues Suzuki’s tradition of constantly improving the compact SUV segment it began, with the new range offering more power, better economy and more standard safety features.

Suzuki Australia General Manager Tony Devers said the new line-up would re-establish the Grand Vitara as one of the premier compact SUVs on the market.

“This new model demonstrates everything the company has learned as one of the market leaders in providing a world class product offering outstanding value.

“New engines with more power and better economy, more safety features including Electronic Stability Program (ESP®*) standard on all models and Suzuki’s great value for money will ensure the new Grand Vitara range has the broadest offering on the market,” said Devers.

A new petrol engine line-up headlines the changes, with an all-new 2.4-litre variable valve timing (VVT) four cylinder engine and an all-new 3.2-litre VVT V6.

The 2.4-litre will be available in both three and five-door models, replacing the superseded 1.6-litre (3-door) and 2.0-litre (5-door) engines.

Rated at 122 kW, it provides a 67 per cent increase on the previous 1.6-litre in the 3-door, while fuel efficiency improves to 8.8 litres per 100 km for the

five-speed manual.

A four-speed automatic transmission will be available in the 3-door, which also comes standard with ESP®, six SRS airbags and rear ventilated disc brakes.

“Suzuki remains the only manufacturer with a 3-door compact SUV, offering customers real choice to find the perfect vehicle for their needs.

“Boasting a new engine, comprehensive safety features, excellent economy and now available with an automatic transmission, the new Grand Vitara 3-door is truly in a class of its own,” said Devers.

The 5-door Grand Vitara also comes standard with ESP®, six SRS airbags, rear ventilated disc brakes and cruise control.

A new 5-door 2.4-litre Prestige version joins the line-up, complete with leather trim, sunroof, mirror-mounted side indicators, ESP, six SRS airbags, premium 7-speaker (plus subwoofer) sound system and 17-inch alloy wheels. It also comes with the option of new 18-inch alloy wheels.

The engine upgrade has improved acceleration performance, with the 0-100 km/h sprint now taking 11.7 seconds, down from 12.5.

The 1.9-litre turbo-diesel DDiS engine has been reworked by engineers for an 8 per cent improvement in fuel economy. The most fuel efficient model in the Grand Vitara line-up now boasts an ADR economy figure of just 7.0 litres per 100 km.

The 165 kW Prestige V6 completes the range, with the all-new 3.2-litre quad-cam V6 offering 22 per cent more power over the outgoing 2.7-litre V6.

VVT technology ensures optimum fuel efficiency, with the 3.2-litre V6 offering a class-leading ADR economy figure of 10.5 L/100 km. That represents a 9 per cent increase over the outgoing 2.7-litre V6.

Standard features include High Intensity Discharge (HID) projector headlamps with dusk sensor and washers, hill descent control and hill hold control, a premium 7-speaker (plus subwoofer) 6CD sound system, stylish mirror-mounted side indicators, rear ventilated disc brakes and 17-inch alloys with optional 18-inch alloys available.

The luxurious feel of the Prestige V6 is boosted by a big improvement in interior noise levels, dropping around 2 decibels over the outgoing model.

“The range-topping Prestige V6 represents outstanding value with best in class fuel economy, driving range and braked towing capacity,” said Devers.

Styling

The Grand Vitara revolution began with the launch of the Vitara onto the Australian market in 1988.

The latest Grand Vitara pays homage to the original and represents the culmination of 40 years of four-wheel drive manufacturing expertise.

The goal for the engineers was straightforward: improve on the real off-road mastery, efficient performance, on-road manners, and the ease of use people have come to associate with the Grand Vitara.

Building on the concept of the ‘off-road athlete’, Suzuki engineers and designers worked with potential buyers and monitored global trends to meet expectations on design and packaging, equipment and technology, as well as safety and off-road performance.

This has resulted in a product with increased sophistication, greater comfort and utility, and improved on and off road performance.

Both the 3- and 5-door variants feature sporty, dynamic designs with an emphasis on elegance and utility for the 5-door, while the 3-door has a strong, athletic nature.

The bold front face and sleek distinctive styling gives the Grand Vitara the muscle it needs to tackle rugged terrain as well as the agility needed for everyday driving.

The short front overhang and large diameter wheels project a uniquely sporty aggression while the flared guards and wide track give the vehicle an enhanced look of stability.

An aerodynamic roof line contributes to the performance car look and feel of the vehicle, while the tailgate-mounted spare wheel clearly announces the Grand Vitara’s genuine off-road capabilities.

Grand Vitara also benefits from several subtle exterior design changes, while staying faithful to the overall image that has proved popular with customers.

The front bumper is new, extending an extra 30 mm to give more dynamism and accommodate the new V6 engine. This has the added advantage of increasing pedestrian protection.

In addition, the front fog lamps have been repositioned with wider spacing to emphasise the dynamic look of the vehicle.

The front grille is also new, featuring a four-bar motif that is both bold and refined and highlights the prominent S logo.

The new model also comes with two new alloy wheel designs.

The 17-inch alloy features the traditional five-spoke design, emphasising the off-road toughness of the Grand Vitara. They are standard on the turbo-diesel and both Prestige models, and available as an option on the entry level 5-door.

Grand Vitara is the first to feature an optional factory fitted 18-inch wheel, with the classic seven-spoke design available as an option on both Prestige models.

The Prestige models also feature new mirror-mounted side indicators.

Inside, the engineering team focused on making the interior more functional and user friendly.

Customers will notice the information display has moved from the centre console to the instrument cluster, keeping the driver’s vision focused on the road.

Extra features have been added into the digital display, which now relays instant fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, driving range and average speed at a push of the mode stalk.

The trip display now incorporates two trip meters, odometer and external temperature read-out.

Customers can also adjust the brightness of the display.

Moving the information display has freed up space on the dashboard for the inclusion of a new centre speaker in both Prestige models for improved sound quality in the combination AM/FM/CD tuner.

All models now feature back-lit steering wheel mounted switches, new sun visors with an extension function and a sliding centre arm rest.

Every model also comes standard with a revised climate control air-conditioning system, featuring an LCD display and intuitive controls in the centre stack.

The interior temperature can be controlled automatically by setting a desired ambient temperature, or adjusted manually with an eight-speed fan.

Powertrain

Two new engines headline the powertrain upgrade on the new Grand Vitara.

The 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre four cylinder engines of the old model have been replaced with a new 2.4-litre four cylinder engine featuring VVT technology for increased performance and better economy.

The new engine is also significantly quieter than the superseded ones and designed with the aim of offering nimble performance, excellent economy and a smooth driving experience.

Key to these goals was the inclusion of VVT, which allows the lift of the intake valves to be altered while the engine is in operation.

Continuous variation of the intake valve timing ensures performance precisely tailored to the engine’s specific speed and load.

The end result is enhanced efficiency under low-load conditions, such as at idle or highway cruising, and increased power for brisk acceleration when overtaking or towing.

The VVT system is complemented by Suzuki’s intake manifold tuning system, which alters the effective length of the intake pipe by opening and closing a valve to improve volumetric efficiency.

Changing the port length in accordance with engine speed maximises engine torque across the rev range.

The 2.4-litre engine is available with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, both carried over from the previous model.

Suzuki’s flagship Grand Vitara Prestige V6 now features a 3.2-litre V6 matched with a five-speed automatic transmission, offering effortless power, refined performance and optimum efficiency.

Rated at 165 kW and 284m, the new V6 represents a 22 per cent improvement in power over the superseded engine.

Crucially, the new engine is much more efficient than the previous V6, offering best in class fuel economy of just 10.5 l/100 km, representing a dramatic nine per cent improvement.

The quad cam V6 design engine features VVT on both intake and exhaust valve trains, enhancing charging efficiency across the rev range.

Camshaft variation of 50 degrees – 25 degrees advance and 25 degrees retard – maximises engine torque and ensures better fuel economy and lower emissions.

Other key features include roller rocker arms for reduced friction, a new inverted tooth drive silent timing chain for reduced noise and a camshaft cover incorporating constrained layer damping for improved refinement.

Connecting rods are manufactured of sinter-forged steel, ensuring superior performance and durability.

It also features a coil-on-plug ignition system, delivering precise timing and lower emissions. With no high tension spark plug wires and fewer parts than conventional systems, the Grand Vitara offers improved durability.

Upgrades from the old five-speed automatic transmission on the V6 include new shift points, while the coupling ratio has been improved to take advantage of the extra torque for improved efficiency and launch feel.

The new Grand Vitara retains the critically acclaimed dual range 4 mode 4x4 systems that debuted on the 2005 model.

Combined with a lockable centre differential, the Suzuki 4x4 system complements the Grand Vitara’s dimensions to deliver genuine off-road performance and excellent on-road dynamics.

The centre differential is locked in 4H lock and 4L lock for superb off-road performance.

All models have a 4 mode 4x4 system, operated from the main switch on the instrument panel. The 4H or 4 High mode can be used for normal driving applications and provides superior traction whilst offering smooth, quiet performance and neutral cornering.

The 4H Lock mode locks the centre differential to eliminate any speed difference between the front and rear axles, giving more traction to power through slippery conditions such as deep snow and mud.

The 4L Lock or 4 Low Lock engages the lower ratio in the transfer case and locks the centre differential to give sufficient low-end traction in difficult off-road conditions.

All Grand Vitara models are now equipped with ESP® stability control, eliminating the need for a centre LSD.

The new Grand Vitara has independent front and rear suspension and Suzuki’s built-in ladder frame chassis to give full suspension articulation when off road, while delivering a smooth, quiet ride for normal city driving.

Refinement

The new Grand Vitara range benefits from a raft of improvements, which have delivered a noticeably quieter and more comfortable car to drive.

The refinement upgrade is a direct result of customer feedback, delivering a vehicle that is more powerful, more economical, safer and much quieter.

The new engines provide the basis for the added refinement, being significantly quieter and smoother than the superseded engines.

The 2.4-litre has a balancer shaft to add to the quiet, smooth ride, while another upgrade was to change the propeller shaft joints to sliding constant velocity joints for reduced vibration and noise.

The Grand Vitara 5-door cabin benefits from the addition of a lower door trim seal and upgrading the glass in the front doors from 3.5mm thick to 4mm.

All these changes have helped reduced cabin noise by around 2 decibels.

Safety

A host of standard safety measures makes the new Grand Vitara one of the safest compact SUVs in the market.

Headlining the safety story is the inclusion of ESP® (Electronic Stability Program), which is now standard on all Grand Vitara models.

ESP® combines the advantages of stability control system, anti-lock braking system (ABS) brakes and Grand Vitara’s Traction Control System (TCS) and multiplies the benefits of both.

It helps to maintain stability through programmed intervention in the braking system and powertrain, or a combination of both.

ESP® is the next generation in driving aids, utilising Grand Vitara’s braking system as a tool for helping maintain safe control of the vehicle.

The basic function of the brakes – to decelerate or stop the vehicle – is complemented, as ESP® helps maintain the vehicle’s stability and desired course.

The hardware incorporates two critical elements in addition to the traction control system hardware – a steering wheel angle sensor and a combination rotational yaw rate and lateral/longitudinal motion sensor.

The steering wheel sensor constantly monitors steering wheel angle, or the driver’s intended direction of travel, while the yaw sensor tracks Grand Vitara’s rotation around its vertical axis.

ESP® is constantly working in the background, monitoring all its sensors many times each second, to check the driver’s steering wheel position, throttle pedal position, whether the driver is braking or not, and where the vehicle is actually going.

By comparing the input from all sensors, the system is able to intervene early enough to reduce the risk of unwanted skids and potential loss of control.

Specific braking intervention is then directed at individual wheels – such as the inner rear to counter understeer, or outer front during oversteer.

ESP® also modulates engine torque to reduce wheel spin and vehicle speed when required.

For example, if the driver approaches a roundabout that tightens more sharply than expected, the driver will suddenly turn the wheel in the intended direction of turn, but may be carrying too much speed to safely negotiate the turn.

If a driver swerves rapidly to avoid colliding with an object or another vehicle on the road, the vehicle may not respond quickly enough to follow the desired path, or may over-respond, resulting in oversteer.

In both examples, ESP® will notice the angle of steering wheel input and the direction of travel and brake the appropriate wheel to help keep Grand Vitara on its intended path.

It represents a genuine application of active safety that has the potential to significantly improve road safety.

Suzuki Australian General Manager Tony Devers said ESP® was acclaimed by safety experts as the most significant contributor to reducing road trauma since the introduction of seat belts.

“A recent Monash University study showed that ESP can reduce the risk of a single vehicle accident where the driver is injured by 68 per cent.”

Devers said while ESP® offered increased safety levels, it was no substitute for safe driving.

“The capabilities of ESP® cannot prevent accidents caused by excessive speed or dangerous driving,” he said.

Grand Vitara also benefits from the inclusion of side and curtain SRS airbags as standard equipment on all models.

The inflatable side and curtain airbags on Grand Vitara add new levels of safety, working in tandem with the rigid body shell to provide protection for occupants.

The curtain airbag provides head protection for both front and second row occupants in side impact crashes, helping to reduce the risk of potentially serious head injuries.

The curtain airbag helps retain the occupant’s head inside the vehicle, reducing the risk of injury from impact with objects outside such as power poles, trees or even the front of a another vehicle.

In an unlikely event of a collision, the body structure helps direct impact energy away from the highly reinforced cabin, while the brake pedal is designed to minimise protrusion into the foot well.

All Grand Vitara models come standard with rear ventilated disc brakes, replacing the drum brakes on the superseded model.

Other standard safety features include front 3-point ELR (emergency locking retractor) seat belts with pretensioners and force-limiters, 3-point ELR rear seat belts, ISO-FIX-compliant child seat anchorages and a high-mount stop lamp.

Prestige features

The new Grand Vitara Prestige V6 incorporates a first for Suzuki vehicles, with the inclusion of hill descent control and hill hold control.

In essence, hill descent control regulates the speed at which Grand Vitara travels downhill, particularly in steep, or difficult, off-road conditions.

The system – available only on the Prestige V6 version of Grand Vitara – is engaged by the driver via a dash-mounted switch and by selecting 4H lock or 4L lock mode.

Once the system is engaged, it individually brakes each wheel to maintain a slow, steady descent down a hill. Hill hold control is designed to assist the driver in starting to move up a steep hill.

When the driver starts to move up a hill, the system helps prevent the vehicle rolling for two seconds, while the driver moves his foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator.

The Prestige V6 also features high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps.

The HID lamps produce a powerful beam with significantly lower power consumption than a conventional halogen lamp.

The Prestige V6 also features a headlamp washer and automatic self leveling device for precise headlamp focus.

Grand Vitara Pricing

GV3 3-Door 5 speed manual $24,990
GV3 3-Door 4 speed automatic $26,990
5-Door 5 speed manual $29,990
5-Door 4 speed automatic $31,990
5-Door 5 speed manual (17-inch alloys) $30,990
5-Door 4 speed automatic (17-inch alloys) $32,990
5-Door DDiS turbo-diesel 5 speed manual $34,990
5-Door Prestige 4 speed automatic $36,990
5-Door Prestige 4 speed automatic (18-inch alloys) $37,490
5-Door Prestige V6 5 speed automatic $39,990
5-Door Prestige V6 5 speed automatic (18-inch alloys) $40,490
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