All of the 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara SUVs come standard as rear-wheel drive, but four-wheel drive is available on all trims, except the base one. While you would think that with four trim levels, you might have more than one engine to choose from, but you don't.
The Grand Vitara SUV is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which offers 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Obviously, this is not a lot to get excited about. The base pairs its engine up with a five-speed manual while the other three trims get a four-speed automatic, which does nothing to help improve performance. Zero to 60 mph takes 10.2 seconds, so don’t expect to feel a lot of confidence when passing on the highway. On the positive side, this SUV does return 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, so there is one strong selling point. Another surprising point is that this vehicle offers a towing capacity of 3,000 pounds, when properly equipped. This is shocking for the engine size.
As for the ride, it's not horrible, but you certainly feel more like you are in a truck than a car. Not to mention, handling is not at all stable with mushy steering.
When it comes to safety, the 2012 Grand Vitara is not leading or bringing up the tail of the pack; it falls in the middle of its segment. Braking capabilities are excellent, stopping from 60 mph in 110 feet. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave it a “Good” rating for frontal-offset crash tests, however it scored only “Acceptable” in roof-strength and side-impact tests. Safety features include:
With a few small tweaks, the exterior could be something special. Unfortunately, it is just missing a focal point that really makes it standout. Really, it is the plain hood and grille that makes it appear sleepy. Fortunately, its roof racks, privacy glass and attractive 16-inch wheels keeps it a little interesting.
If you think the exterior of the Grand Vitara is a little dull and dated, you won’t be jumping for joy over the interior. It is attractive, but boring when compared to competition in this segment. Controls and gauges are easy to identify and use, but the navigation system seems like a bit of an afterthought due to its awkward positioning.
It should also be noted that although leather is available from the Limited model, the cloth is surprisingly much more comfortable. As far as leg room goes for all five passengers, there is certainly not much to spare.
The 2012 Grand Vitara offers a generous amount of cargo space for its size. With the rear seat in place, you enjoy 28.4 cubic feet, and when you fold the seat flat, 70.8 cubic feet is granted total, which is definitely impressive.