2006 Suzuki XL-7
With 3rd Row Seats 4 Wheel Drive
Economical people mover with 7 seats. Roomy Interior, Good Ground
Uncomfortable Seats, Poor Handling, Quirky looks, Boxy Interior, Outdone by
new Grand Vitara model.
Apple QuickTime viewer here. Walk around the Suzuki XL-7 and watch a video of the
Suzuki's flagship SUV, the versatile XL-7,
returns for 2006 with a simplified trim level offering. With its available
third-row seating and strong 2.7-liter six-cylinder 24-valve DOHC engine,
available four-wheel drive with low-range gears and rugged body-on-frame
construction, the XL-7 is built to tackle just about any type of family
The exterior design of the XL-7 draws mixed
emotion from our staffers. Quirky best describes the headlights up front.
As you walk from front to rear, the XL-7 is boxy and dated. There are nice
touches of chrome on the door handles and beltline trim, and rear windows
are tinted a very dark black. However the overall shape reminds us of an
old Toyota Land Cruiser rather than something modern and hip. We really
think the front end needs a massive redo. Our test car also had fog lamp
holes covered in plastic, something we have never seen before on a car. If
you are going to make holes for a fog lamp, why not just throw in the lamps
themselves? For $24,899 you should really have them.
interior of the XL-7 with grey seats and trim is definitely depressing.
While the velour cloth trim makes things feel homely inside, the foamy
plastic on top of the dash, doors, and most interior parts feels bad.
Leather seating surfaces and a beige interior color will add the necessary
better feeling inside. Some dials are modern in the Suzuki XL-7 such as the
aluminum stereo dials and textured dials for the climate controls, but other
parts feel as if they are all thrown together without any matching common
theme. The super long shift lever is not necessary and intrudes into the
storage space just behind it. More thoughtful features are the dual
eyeglass holders on the upper console. Even on our XL-7 without premium
package, the steering wheel looked and felt good.
the Suzuki XL-7 are not very comfortable and lack any kind of support. The
front seats are flat without any lumbar support or adequate cushioning for
long trips. The seating position is fixed too high and cannot be adjusted.
Rear seats do allow you to recline the seatbacks in 2nd and 3rd
rows. The second row seats slide forward on tracks which are visible all
the time, another item we did not like. The third row of seats is large
enough to be comfortable only for children but it does offer a large window
for a good view. The second row can fold 60/40 and the third row is a 50/50
folding seat so a large amount of flexibility is available for your
adventurous needs. The Suzuki XL-7 has 43.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind
the second row of seats when the third row is folded down. There is 75.1
cubic feet of cargo room is available with both rows folded down.
New for 2006 is a stereo with MP3/WMA
capabilities that is XM Satellite ready. The quality of the radio system is
mediocre. We found that it cound not receive radio stations clearly in many
locations, something we have not experienced in other cars. This stereo
will definitely need replacement in the aftermarket. A simple tire pressure
monitor is also standard on the Suzuki XL-7, providing a light in the
instrument cluster warning of low pressure. It does not tell you which tire
is low or what the exact pressure is in each tire. In cold weather we found
the system warning us of low pressure quite often. The steering wheel
offers tilt adjustment only, and we would have liked to see a telescoping
feature as well. We found while driving the driver's rearview mirror to be
warped and looking back just made us dizzy. The location of the front air
vents also reflects in the rearview mirrors, a design flaw. Driving without
dimming rearview mirrors is also a bad idea; we would like to have this
standard on all cars by now.
For a people mover, the interior is
spacious enough and windows are very large for good view of the outdoors.
Overall the interior of the XL-7 needs a modernization. Parts feel like
they did in a car from 1990. We would like to see design changes inside as
well as better parts all around. There is no flowing character to the
interior and everything feels boxy with rounded edges, very much like the
shape of the car.
power is slow to come on and gear changes are noticeable. In four wheel
drive mode, accessed by a touch of a button on the dash, the Suzuki XL-7
feels very much like a truck, grinding and making noises while turning. We
found, in the one inch of icy snow we had during our tests, that the four
wheel drive mode offered much better traction and control.
The engine is also quite loud when pushed
hard and we could feel the sluggish nature of such low horsepower pulling a
large vehicle such as this XL-7. The V6 engine with 2.7 liters delivers 185
horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. The Suzuki XL-7 is capable
of towing 3000 pounds. Fuel economy is an estimated 17 city and 22 highway,
our tests resulted in about 20 miles per gallon. The transmission has two
operating modes: "Normal" mode helps maximize fuel economy, while "Power"
mode optimizes the transmission shift points to minimize gear hunting while
climbing hills or towing. We found that for good responsive driving the
power mode, which is similar to the "Overdrive Off" mode in most cars, was
XL-7 moves on the highway kind of like a horse running, you keep on bouncing
along the way. The car moves up and down way too much on highways and
roads. It is not very solid and feels unresponsive. There are plenty of
other choices in the market such as the new Suzuki Grand Vitara which will
drive much better than this XL-7. Road noise and general wind noise comes
from most directions and the interior is loud at highway speeds. In
off-road conditions the XL-7 behaves more like a truck and that may be good
for certain drivers who frequently go off the beaten path. Ground clearance
is rated at 7.6 inches and having the wheels towards the very front and rear
allows for decent amount of off-roading adventure. Body lean is noticeable
and the Suzuki XL-7 cannot be driven fast without a tipsy feeling.
Comprehensive safety engineering is at the foundation of every vehicle
Suzuki builds and the XL-7 provides clear evidence with its performance in
the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) frontal crash test. The
Suzuki XL-7 earned a "Good" overall rating in the rigorous IIHS 40-mph
frontal off-set crash test - the highest rating available. An advanced
weight-sensing front passenger airbag supplemental restraint system (SRS),
advanced dual-stage front airbag SRS and front seatbelt pretensioners
improve safety for the front occupants.
Suzuki models are covered by "America 's #1 Warranty". The 100,000-mile,
seven-year, fully transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty
offers distinct advantages over other manufacturer warranties. The
transferable powertrain limited warranty covers the engine, transmission and
transfer case and front- and rear-wheel-drive systems. This is on top of
the 36,000-mile / 3 year bumper to bumper new-vehicle limited warranty. The
Suzuki powertrain limited warranty is designed to boost resale or trade-in
value and underscores the corporation's confidence in its product quality.
Roadside assistance is also available during the bumper to bumper period.
Warranty repairs also give you a loaner car through enterprise rent-a-car.
car, a four-wheel-drive XL-7 with third row of seats, starts off at
$24,899. Included for 2006 is the ABS system.
The optional Premium Package adds leather
seating for seven, a six-disc in-dash AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA/XM Satellite
Radio-ready audio system with seven speakers including a subwoofer, power
sunroof, fog lights and running boards at an MSRP of $25,499.
The real world cost of this SUV is going to
be much less however. We felt that the XL-7 is designed for someone looking
for the ability to hold seven passengers, mostly kids, with a budget in the
low twenty-thousand range. The vehicle is more of a commuting-around-town
type of car and not suited for extended road trips or any serious off-roading.