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Offers Standard Seven-Passenger Seating, More Fuel-Efficient Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Review

November 2008
Filed under: STANDARD Car News | STANDARD Headlines
Suzuki ™s distinctively styled XL7 midsize crossover offers the perfect combination of size, style, power and flexibility, which is why the vehicle was named the top-ranked premium midsize crossover in AutoPacific™s 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.

2009 Suzuki XL7 Key Features:
* Suzuki's flagship SUV provides style, comfort, performance and safety
* Modern, sleek and expressive styling that fits into any environment
* Standard third row, seven-passenger seating with Nivomat self-leveling rear suspension (automatically compensates for heavier loads)
* Available luxury items include navigation, DVD entertainment system, rear vision camera, heated leather front seats, remote start, chrome wheels and sunroof
* True performance 3.6-liter DOHC V6 engine delivers 252 horsepower and 243 lb.-ft. of torque
* Standard five-speed automatic transmission with manumatic shift
* Fuel economy equal to or better than its predecessor thanks to its car-like unibody construction
* Electronically-controlled on-demand all-wheel drive is available on all trim levels
* The XL7 has received a 5 star rating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA ) front impact and side impact crash tests
* Backed by America's #1 Warranty: 100,000-miles/seven-year, fully transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty

On top of the vehicle™s robust capabilities and premium amenities, the 2009 Suzuki XL7 also is recognized as a segment leader in safety, having received a quadruple five-star rating from NHTSA for driver and front passenger frontal impact, and front and rear outboard passengers side impact.

For 2009, Suzuki boosts mpg numbers for the XL7, offering a more efficient six-speed automatic transmission. With standard spacious seven-passenger seating and extensive cargo space in a tidy exterior package, the right-sized XL7 is the ideal vehicle for an adventure with a group of friends or a vacation with the family. As with all retail 2009 Suzuki automobiles and light trucks, the XL7 is backed by America™s #1 Warranty: a 100,000-mile/ seven-year, fully transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty.

Powerful V6 Delivers the Goods

The Suzuki XL7™s 3.6-liter, V6, 24-valve engine delivers 252 horsepower and 243 lb.-ft. of torque for outstanding everyday performance and driving enjoyment. Assembled by Suzuki in Japan, this modern V6 applies many advanced engine technologies, including state-of-the-art casting processes and variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust camshafts. A double-isolated engine cradle system ensures quiet operation, while a stainless steel, true dual exhaust system projects a sporty tone.

Power is transmitted via the XL7™s new six-speed automatic with manumatic shift, which is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The new engine improves fuel economy upwards of 10 percent compared to last year™s model for the front-wheel-drive XL7 with EPA estimates of 17/24 mpg for city/highway and upwards of five percent for the all-wheel-drive variant with EPA estimates of 16/23 mpg city/highway. With a towing capacity rated at 3,500 pounds, the capable XL7 also can tow a variety of toys, including Suzuki™s own ATVs, motorcycles or personal watercraft.

The available electronically controlled on-demand all-wheel-drive system delivers power to the front wheels during normal driving on dry road surfaces. Should the front wheels slip due to low traction conditions, up to 50 percent of available torque can be automatically delivered to the rear wheels.

In the Safety Zone

Demonstrating the XL7™s perfect balance of form and function, occupant safety in the rugged vehicle is rooted in its high-strength steel unibody construction, which incorporates full-length frame rails and a reinforced safety cage around the passenger cabin. Front and rear crumple zones absorb crash energy to help preserve the integrity of the safety cage. Passive safety features include driver and front-passenger advanced airbags and side-curtain airbags, three-point seatbelts with load limiters in all passenger seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners and the LATCH system (Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children).

To improve and simplify the driver experience, Suzuki vehicles feature state-of-the-art technology that is useful and intuitive. A rear-vision display, available on XL7 Limited models, provides a view of what is behind the vehicle in a spot the driver naturally looks toward, the rearview mirror. When the vehicle is in Reverse, an otherwise-invisible display screen on the left side of the mirror shows the view behind the vehicle. The driver can thus keep his/her eyes on the natural high points, the rearview mirror, the front windshield and over the shoulder rather than down at rearview screen on the center console. When the car is in Park or Drive, the rearview display disappears.

Advanced Chassis Design

The Suzuki XL7™s chassis specs read like those of a sport sedan. A specially tuned four-wheel independent suspension provides a car-like ride and responsiveness. Unique in the segment, the multilink independent rear suspension is fitted with Nivomat load-leveling shock absorbers, which can substantially improve driving stability and comfort in a heavily loaded vehicle. Maintaining rear ride height helps keep the front wheels properly loaded, resulting in more stable handling, optimal comfort and driving confidence. Additionally, the Nivomat suspension is compact, with all elements integrated into the dampers, and the power needed to affect ride height is actually generated by the vehicle™s vertical movement.

The 2009 Suzuki XL7 stops as well as it drives, thanks to standard four-wheel disc brakes with an anti-lock braking system and electronic brake-force distribution. The standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with traction control can help ensure vehicle stability when cornering, under acceleration, during emergency maneuvers and when driving on slippery road surfaces. A standard rollover sensor monitors the vehicle™s angle and rate of roll on a flat road surface and engages ESP to control lateral forces acting on the vehicle, while the standard tire pressure monitoring system reports the status of each tire individually.

The Look of Suzuki

With the XL7, Suzuki proves that safety and security need not be wrapped in a boring box. The XL7 uniquely projects Suzuki style with a three-bar grille framed by multi-reflector, jewel-like headlamps and the prominent Suzuki S on the grille. An aggressively raked windshield yields favorable aerodynamics for quiet highway cruising and fuel efficiency while accentuating the feeling of spaciousness in the cabin. Flared wheel wells, similar to those fitted on the more off-road-oriented Suzuki Grand Vitara, lend a rugged look to the XL7™s exterior.

Plush and Roomy for the Whole Team

In terms of comfort, the Suzuki XL7™s refined interior is more like that of a sophisticated sedan than an SUV. Leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are standard on Luxury and Limited models. Additionally, Limited models include a standard remote start system that operates from as far as 200 feet. It starts the vehicle and engages the climate control system.

The XL7 features a roomy interior that rivals larger SUVs. The third-row seat offers usable room and comfort, even for adults, thanks in large part to the six-inch deep footwell. Legroom is generous at 41.2 inches, 38.8 inches and 30.9 inches in the first, second and third rows, respectively.

Delivering a versatile package that simplifies the needs of drivers™ multi-faceted weekday routines and weekend adventures, the XL7™s total cargo volume is substantial at 95.2 cu.-ft. The reclining 60/40 split-folding second-row seat tumbles and folds, and the 50/50 split-folding third-row seat can be folded flat into the floor for additional cargo carrying room. The fold-flat front-passenger seat allows room for longer items (up to 9.5 feet) such as ladders, surfboards or even a small kayak. The XL7 also offers rear cargo under floor storage, and the vehicle™s under cabin spare tire area is equipped with a hoist system.

Trim Levels that Make Sense

With three simple models, Suzuki makes it easy for customers to choose an XL7. Each model is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and offers a pleasantly surprising level of premium amenities, eliminating the need to sort through a complex matrix of options and packages to arrive at the ideal model.

The XL7 skips base and goes right to Premium. It packs a potent standard equipment list, including air conditioning with automatic climate control, rear air conditioning with separate HVAC controls, AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers, remote keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, trip computer with driver information center, auto on/off headlamps, roof rails, 16-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, overhead storage compartment and alarm with engine immobilizer.

The XL7 Luxury with front-wheel drive, adds a leather-appointed interior, six-way power driver™s seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, power tilt-and-slide sunroof and a six-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability. Heated exterior mirrors also are included on AWD models.

To make travel and exploration a pleasure, the Limited model adds a touch-screen DVD navigation system, remote engine start, premium Pioneer audio system with seven speakers (including subwoofer), fog lamps, 17-inch chrome wheels, chrome door handles, an upgraded roof rack with silver-colored rails and a rear spoiler. To make long trips more enjoyable, the DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones is an available option in lieu of the sunroof. With all of this equipment, the XL7 Limited compares in price to some competitors™ base models.

About Suzuki

The Brea, Calif.,-based Operations of American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) was founded in 1963 by parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) and currently markets its vehicles in the United States through a network of approximately 500 automotive dealerships and numerous other motorcycle, ATV and marine distributors in 49 states. With global headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan, SMC is a diversified worldwide automobile, motorcycle, and outboard motor manufacturer. In 2007, SMC sold more than two million new cars and trucks and more than three million motorcycles and ATVs. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has operations in 193 countries and regions.

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