The XL7 offers it all … for less
The Canadian-built XL7 is the biggest and most mature vehicle we’ve ever seen from Suzuki. Arguably, it’s also the most mainstream. And, undeniably, this 2007 version has absolutely nothing except the name in common with the previous model.
The old version was simply a stretched Grand Vitara.
The basis of the XL7 is actually a stretched version of the platform GM uses for its Chevrolet Equinox/ Pontiac Torrent twins. No great surprise, then, that the Suzuki is manufactured in the same Ingersoll, Ont., joint-venture plant.
Size and seat-count aside (the XL7 seats seven, where five is the norm for Equinox/ Torrent), the key difference between the XL7 and the GM pair sits in the engine room.
It also has a higher level of trim and is generally more upscale. Part of this is certainly due to the more refined engine, but Suzuki has also chosen trim materials well.
The power window switches are located in the centre console and there are plenty of storage spaces. First- and second-row seats are spacious, supportive and offer loads of shoulder, head and leg room. The third row is more suitable for children and there isn’t much cargo space behind when they’re in place. But when folded, the seats lie perfectly flat with no gaping holes for things to fall into, making for a very roomy and useful cargo area.
Power, and plenty of it, comes from the same 3.6-litre V6 used in the Saturn Aura. Producing 252 horsepower, it is a smooth and willing source of motivation, coupled to a smooth-shifting 5-speed automatic.
Thanks to an independent multi-link rear suspension, the ride quality is better than you would expect from such a large and tall vehicle, but there’s still plenty of body lean and understeer when pushed in the turns. Sixteen-inch wheels and tires are standard on the base JX model, but the others come with 17-inchers.
Front- and side-curtain airbags, ABS, plus stability and traction control are all standard on the entry-level JX version, as are an MP3/WMA-capable audio system, air conditioning, cruise control, four 12-volt outlets, remote keyless entry, plus power windows, locks and mirrors. The step-up JLX trim adds an XM satellite-enabled radio, power glass sunroof, power driver seat and heated front seats.
To this you can opt for two packages: DVD and navigation. Pricing starts at $30,995 for the front-wheel-drive JX and rises to $33,395 for the JLX model. Add $3,000 to either for the all-wheel-drive option. The top tag is $37,995 for an all-wheel-drive JLX with the electronic navigation system.
Suzuki says XL7 stands for extra-large (X), loading anything (L) and seven passengers (7). We think it is further visual proof of the renaissance of Suzuki’s image and product range.
Larger inside and out than its predecessor, more powerful than some well-established and respected rivals, and priced well below them, the XL7 is indeed worth a closer look.
2007 Suzuki XL7