Archive of older material
As time goes on there will be various content that needs to be kept for historical purposes so I've created this page for that sort of material. Warning: there may be repeated material - since this is an archive!
January 2008 update - Suzuki will release the diesel engine in Australian models later this year. Suzuki SX4 uses the 'old' Grand Vitara engine!
Check out the pre-2006 cars in action on the Amazing Race - All Stars on the CBS Network in the US.
SGV Series 2 are now for sale Since November 2006.
A luxury version SGV with even more stuff like leather, remote engine start and so forth is to be introduced in September 2006.
Model History of the Grand Vitara in brief
Launched in 1988 the SGV started its life out just called the Vitara. The first model was a small 2 door or 3 if you called the rear hatch a door. Note that I am referring to Australian models when detailing relevant specifications.
In fact the Vitara name used for the base or non-4WD 4 cylinder models presently and it seems only for the North American market. Other names include the Escudo for the Japanese version.
When introduced it was the first civilised small 4WD on the market. Meaning it wasn't designed to spend its life in the bush but still had a frame. I Think it was a 50/50 view. Hence it was a new vehicle class. A 4WD mainly for city folk with real 4wd capability or for the young or young at heart city folk that is !
It's main competitors at the time where from Daihatsu as none of the major manufacturers had a similar model.
Of course in Oct 2005 a completely new model was finally released. This model is referred to as the JB series.
You can read more about this on myTechnical and Mechanical Specification pages on this site.
4WD systems blah blah (Opinion)
The manual vs on-demand 4WD systems is an interesting issue.
Having read the reviews and been on the various tracks myself it is clear the as long as the 4WD system engages there isn't any problem. However many other manufacturers models don't do this properly. Hence I reckon that a system and does it automatically AND has the option to turn on 4WD manually in some way is the best system.
Anyway its all fine that a car has 4wd for but the other most important factor is having low-range gearing. I've been in situations where slow rock climbing was required. If I didn't have a low range it would be a very difficult and possibly damaging drive.
I also have to point out that in most cases it was the extra ground clearance that was far more important than having a 4WD regardless of high of low range. The type of tyres are also important but I will go into this topic in the 6mth review section.
For those new to 4wds Low range means that the engine will rev higher at any given speed, this aids the production of power.
Eg. For a small capacity engine in high range it will use say - 1500rpm at 20kph. However peak torque is at 4500rpm. This usually means it is best to have 3000-4500rpm for the best performance. Hence if traveling over a slow rocky climb you would need to travel much faster for more power.
If the car had low range at 20kph the the engine would be at 3500rpm hence in the middle of the torque band hence you have the power to travel over objects without damaging the car.
So I would prefer a car with a 4WD system that is automatic but has a manual over-ride and a manual either by lever or button - low range box - would be the ideal system.
The Drive Train and Suspension
The SGV in Australia has always had a part-time 4WD arrangement. The original had manual front free wheeling hubs. Auto hubs where added on the 1998 update. Else where in the world there where 2wd only models in various specifications. However with the release of the JV series it is now an AWD car.
4wd was activated by a small compressor in the engine bay and could be activated manually up to 100kph. The lastest uses various diff and electronics to apportion power to all wheels.
In 2WD mode and models the SGV is rear wheel driven (RWD). The differentials in the front and back are the 'open' variety. There are various markets where there a 2WD only version is available.
In 4WD guise all models have a separate transfer box with High and Low range 4WD. Selection of 4WD was always via a separate gear lever. 4 Speed Automatic or 5 speed manuals are available.
The suspension has always been a combination of
live axle rear axle with coils and independent McPherson struts in the
Suzuki Grand Vitara
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This site went live during January 2003.