The largest and most powerful vehicle Suzuki has ever made, the XL7 has borrowed its predecessor's name but is new from the frame up. Suzuki claims it is the most affordable all-wheel-drive vehicle on the market of its year.
Suzuki XL7 joins the crossover segment as a modern, style-conscious seven-passenger version with optional all-wheel drive and the advantage of excellent fuel economy.
You'll like this car if you enjoy a mobile lifestyle, want flexible seating, need plenty of horsepower and torque for towing jet skis and don't want to break the family budget. For weekend off-roaders who find gravel roads exhilarating, the XL7 Limited's intelligent-all-wheel-drive (i-AWD) delivers power to all four wheels full-time.
The sedan-like quality of driving the XL7 is evident from the start, and it's easy to forget there is space for six passengers. Steering is responsive even on unpaved roads. The handling is easy and precise in the 4,000-pound crossover, with minimal body lean, and braking is strong and instant. When needed, the transmission provided prompt upshifts. The Manumatic, which allows the driver to manually gear up or down on steep hill climbs and ascents by tapping the shifter, is an excellent, easily-operated assist system. Despite its size and heft, the XL7 provides a quiet ride with barely discernible wind noise.
As plush as its price allows, the interior is upscale. Spacious, comfortable second-row seats recline and flip down. The third row folds flat to provide extra cargo space, as does the front passenger seat. Tall passengers will appreciate the headroom, but riders in the third row will find the legroom restrictive. For road warriors, the four 12-volt power outlets provide juice for electronic devices and the cockpit-style dash is compact and friendly. Door openings are wide, even for entering the third row. Very little road noise disturbs riders, although a louder turn signal would better remind drivers to turn it off when no longer needed.
Conforming to today's typical styling combination of SUV and wagon, the sleek XL7 has a balanced exterior with triangular headlamps as its most noticeable feature. Clean lines, with a nod to macho via muscular wheel arches, identify the XL7 with the mid-size crossover segment. Integrated roof racks, a hi-rise tailgate and a dignified rather than an in-your-face grille add up to an attractive vehicle.
Front and side-curtain airbags for all rows lead the list, along with electronic stability/traction control, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, rollover sensor and disc brakes. All of the bells and whistles are already on board, including air conditioning, automatic transmission with Manumatic shift, cruise control and four 12-volt outlets. On the models with three rows of seats, self-leveling suspension and rear air conditioning are standard.
Under the Hood
The engine is a 3.6-liter V6 designed by General Motors and built by Suzuki in Japan, matched to a five-speed automatic/Manumatic transmission that provides all the driving modes most drivers will ever need. One liter larger than its predecessor, the bigger and more powerful engine nevertheless delivers equal or better fuel economy.
252 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
243 lb.-ft. torque @ 2300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (2WD), 17/23 (AWD)
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