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The Good :)   Great engine and transmission, rugged exterior looks, useful bed liner and track system. 

The Bad :(   Rear cabin seats are not very comfortable, More storage room inside would help a great deal.

Engine 6Cyl 4.0 Liter

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Output 261 hp / 281 lb-ft
Top Speed 128 mph
0-60 mph 8 sec (est.)
Weight 4,248 lbs
Price As Tested $24,375

In the United States, more people probably recognize Suzuki for their motorcycles and ATVs then they do for their automobiles.  Suzuki has always filled a niche market here in the states and has never really broken into the mainstream car market that is dominated by bigger Japanese brands such as Toyota, Honda , Nissan and Mazda.  Perhaps this has to do with the tremendous resources one needs to make special cars just for the American market, or perhaps Suzuki figured they would stick to what they do best which is to focus on small engine products. 

By sticking to what they do best, Suzuki has captured a special place in the recreation market with their wide range of products from motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and even marine engines.  Many of us are more familiar with their outstanding sport bikes such as the powerful Hayabusa or the GSX line.  Others recognize their superiority in off-road dirt bikes and ATVs such as the KingQuad. However, mention SX4 or XL7 and they won’t have clue as to what you’re referring to. 

Suzuki recognized this dilemma and asked their automobile dealers what product they would most like to see in their showrooms.  The overwhelming response was a pickup truck.  The thinking being that all the loyal fans of the Hayabusa, GSX, KingQuad and all of their other recreational vehicles would use a Suzuki made pickup truck to transport their toys.  Sounds like a good plan to us, but how could a small car manufacturer jump into the truck market without taking out billions of dollars in loans to build a completely new truck factory?  The answer lies in outsourcing.

The Suzuki Equator is a joint effort with Nissan and shares the majority of its parts and design with the familiar Nissan Frontier.  Suzuki basically took a truck already in the market and stuck their name badge all over it.  This was the quickest and cleanest way to get a truck into their product lineup to fill the needs of their dealers who were tired of seeing their friends down the street making more money selling boatloads of dirt bikes while they were stuck peddling a small car such as the SX4.  The 2009 Equator is an impressive and well-made truck that fits the Suzuki product lineup very nicely and will surely bring some needed traffic into dealer showrooms.

“Suzuki offers a range of highly capable, value-packed vehicles that combine attractive exterior and interior styling with the performance and functionality requirements to meet some of the most demanding needs of American car buyers,” said Mark Harano, executive vice president, American Suzuki Automotive Operations.  “With the arrival of the all-new Equator pickup truck, a natural fit with Suzuki’s off-road heritage and lifestyle-driven DNA, we’re extremely excited about the forthcoming 2009 model year.”

The Suzuki Equator is built in Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant and available in both Extended Cab or the four door Crew Cab style.  The Equator is rear wheel drive with the option for 4-wheel drive.  We tested the Crew Cab Sport model, which was rear wheel drive and featured the 4.0 Liter V6 engine.  The standard base engine is a 2.5 liter inline four-cylinder.  While our truck had the short five-foot bed, there is an option for a longer six-foot bed configuration as well. 

The base model Equator Extended Cab starts off at  $17,995 and comes with a five-speed manual transmission and 4-cyclinder engine.  We highly recommend buyers stick with the Sport model which has the five-speed automatic transmission and the more powerful and smooth V6 engine along with other comfort amenities. 

If you prefer the 4-door Crew Cab style, you will be happy to know that it comes only with the V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission.  The Crew Cab Base model with 2WD starts at $23,985, while the Crew Cab Sport, which adds aluminum alloy wheels, cruise control and power windows and door locks, starts out at $25,150 for 2WD and $28,095 for 4WD models.  If you enjoy off-roading, Suzuki offers the top of the line RMZ-4 model that features Dana 44 axles, electric rear locking differential, Bilstein high-performance shocks, skid plates, BFGoodrich Rugged Trail P265/75R16 tires and other trim upgrades.  The Equator Crew Cab RMZ-4 carries a starting MSRP of $29,325.

The Equator is attractively styled with a prominent front end that has a large bold grill that features a large chrome Suzuki “S” badge in the center.  A chrome border that adds an upscale look surrounds the center grill.  The one-piece jewel-faceted headlamps blend into the center grill and feature a large halogen lamp with smaller circular signal lamps surrounding it.  Below the grill is a large silver painted skid plate which helps protect the underside when going off-road.  The side profile features very large fender flares that give the Equator its muscular look.  The sharp looking alloy wheels are wrapped in husky P265/65R17 BFGoodrich tires.

The overall length of the truck is 206.6 inches with a width of 72.8 inches and height of 70.1.  It’s a well-proportioned truck that looks really sharp on the road.  As you approach the rear you immediately notice the cargo bed area that has both a sprayed on bedliner and a track type tie-down rail system with four cleats that are easily movable to secure your gear.  This is very useful to have on a truck and Suzuki was kind enough to include this as standard equipment.  The Equator also comes with tinted privacy glass on the rear windows and dual powered rearview mirrors.

The Equator is a capable truck and strongly built with a fully boxed ladder frame and a body-on-frame construction.  The boxed frame helps increase strength and reduce body flexibility which helps improve road-handling and towing characteristics.  The Equator can also handle most off-road situations with up to 32.6 degree angle of approach and up to 23.3 degree angle of departure.  There is even 10 inches of ground clearance at the rear differential.

The interior of the Equator is refreshingly nice and straightforward.  The clean uncultured appearance is a good change from what most pickup truck owners are used to.  The tilt steering wheel has cruise control switches mounted on the right side and felt good and well proportioned.  The instrument cluster features two large dials for engine RPM and speed with built-in digital message displays.  The center display features a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system that is basic and easy to use.  Below this is the climate control system that has two large dials on the outside of the four air direction control switches.  The system worked well heating the vehicle during our freezing 20-degree test days.  The cloth bucket seats up front are fairly comfortable and provided good lumbar support however their bottom cushion could be made larger for more comfort.  The front passenger seat can fold down flat to increase interior storage room while the rear seats are 60/40 split with a flip up bottom cushion.  Everything was very straightforward and intuitive to use.    Doors lack a good grab handle from the inside as the area to grab is placed near the outer edge of the doors.  The Equator also comes with power windows, power door locks and power rear view mirrors as standard equipment.  The interior is fairly roomy with plenty of leg and headroom even for second row passengers.   Front legroom is 42.4 inches with rear being 33.6 inches.  There are 58.3 inches of shoulder room and 40 inches of headroom front and back.  

Our Equator Crew Cab Sport came with an aluminum 4.0 liter, 24-valve DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Timing.  Horsepower is rated at 261 at 5600 rpm with 281 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm.  We liked the feel of the engine which had strong pull and never lagged even when pressing down on the pedal at top speed.  In fact, the Equator handled so well during highway driving that we almost forgot we were driving a truck.  The engine was smooth and quite and felt stronger than its 261 horsepower rating.  The five speed automatic transmission also performed flawlessly with smooth shifts.  The system also kept the right gear engaged depending on how we were driving.  Stopping power is superb thanks to the four wheel vented disc brakes that handily stopped the Equator even during abrupt stops on wet roads.  The four-wheel anti-lock brakes also come with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) that increases braking performance when you most need it.  The overall handling performance of the Suzuki Equator was fantastic and a huge improvement over pickup trucks from just a few years ago.

The Equator comes with so many life saving safety features that it’s hard to believe how far trucks have really come.  There are driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags with roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags.  There is also a tire pressure monitoring system that notifies you if a tire is deflating.   The vehicle also has an energy-absorbing steering column with front and rear crumple zones. Suzuki has an incredible 7-year or 100,000 mile powertrain warranty that is fully transferable.

The Equator is a well made truck and the small additions that Suzuki added are a nice welcome over the Nissan Frontier.  While the Equator will fill the immediate need of dealers who recognize that it’s easier to sell a truck then a car, we highly disapprove of private labeling other manufacturer’s vehicles.  We understand that many consumer products are made this way, with China producing every imaginable item and scores of U.S. companies happily private labeling their goods.  While it may work for pillows, bathroom fixtures and car floor mats, we don’t think it works in the car market. 

Just look at what GM did to all the companies it acquired from Saab, Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac; Eventually all their products starting to look the same and each brand which was once very unique and exciting, is now fading into a miserable death spiral.  Let’s be clear about one thing, people want cars that are unique and that express their own sense of being.  When everything becomes homogenized, people turn to other brands that still have a sense of what they stand for.  Suzuki has stood for something different with its unique styling and own brand identity.  If they try to take the easy way out by private labeling their cars they won’t stand a chance in this competitive and cut-throat market.  However if they create their own unique product that stands for what they are, they will continue to increase market share and also retain their existing base. Bookmark

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Car Reviews And




Base Pricing



Equator    2WD    Equator Extended Cab Premium 6' Bed
Equator    2WD    Equator Extended Cab Sport 6' Bed
Equator    4WD    Equator Extended Cab Sport 6' Bed

Equator    2WD    Equator Crew Cab 5' Bed
Equator    4WD    Equator Crew Cab Sport 6' Bed
Equator    4WD    Equator Crew Cab RMZ-4 Sport 5' Bed


Convert= 8 liters per 100km in mpg

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COMPARISONS 2009 Suzuki Equator
Sport 4dr Crew Cab 5 ft. SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
2008 Chevrolet Avalanche
LS 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.3L 8cyl 4A)
2009 Mitsubishi Raider
LS 4dr Double Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A)
2008 Toyota Tundra
SR5 4dr Double Cab SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
2009 Nissan Titan
XE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (5.6L 8cyl 5A)
MSRP $24,375 $33,435 $26,295 $26,205 $31,550
Invoice $23,400 $30,593 $24,703 $23,715 $28,569
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Drivetrain 7 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi.
Roadside 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. Being Researched / Being Researched 3 yr. / 36000 mi. Limited to towing service to the nearest authorized Nissan dealer if your vehicle is inoperative due to the failure of a warranted part.
Rust 3 yr. / Unlimited mi. 6 yr. / 100000 mi. 7 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V6 V8 V6 V6 V8
Base Engine Displacement 4.0 liters 5.3 liters 3.7 liters 4.0 liters 5.6 liters
Valvetrain 24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
overhead valves (OHV)
12 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
32 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Variable Valve Timing Standard Not Available Not Available Standard Standard
Horsepower 261 hp @ 5600 rpm 320 hp @ 5200 rpm 210 hp @ 5200 rpm 236 hp @ 5200 rpm 317 hp @ 5200 rpm
Torque 281 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 340 ft-lbs. @ 4200 rpm 235 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 266 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 385 ft-lbs. @ 3400 rpm
Handling Equator Avalanche Raider Tundra Titan
Max. Payload Capacity 1382 lbs. 1444 lbs. 1580 lbs. 1470 lbs. 1914 lbs.
Max. Towing Capacity 6300 lbs. 8200 lbs. 4000 lbs. 4800 lbs. 9400 lbs.
City 15 mpg. 14 mpg. 15 mpg. 15 mpg. 12 mpg.
Highway 20 mpg. 20 mpg. 20 mpg. 19 mpg. 17 mpg.
Length 206.6 in. 221.3 in. 218.5 in. 228.7 in. 224.6 in.
Width 72.8 in. 79.1 in. 71.7 in. 79.9 in. 79.5 in.
Height 70.1 in. 76.6 in. 68.6 in. 75.8 in. 76.3 in.
Weight 4248 lbs. 5556 lbs. 4435 lbs. 4930 lbs. 5286 lbs.
Wheel Base 125.9 in. 130 in. 131.3 in. 145.7 in. 139.8 in.
Ground Clearance 9.8 in. 9.1 in. 7.9 in. 10.2 in. 10.4 in.
Interior Equator Avalanche Raider Tundra Titan
Front Headroom 40 in. 41.1 in. 39.9 in. 40.2 in. 41 in.
Rear Headroom 38.7 in. 40 in. 38.4 in. 38.7 in. 40.4 in.
Front Shoulder Room 58.3 in. 65.3 in. 57.7 in. 66.6 in. 65.1 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 58.3 in. 65.2 in. 57.5 in. 65.7 in. 64.6 in.
Front Hip Room 55.6 in. 64.4 in. 54.9 in. 63 in. 61.3 in.
Rear Hip Room 58 in. 62.3 in. 56 in. 62.6 in. 60.5 in.
Front Leg Room 42.4 in. 41.3 in. 41.9 in. 42.5 in. 41.8 in.
Rear Leg Room 33.6 in. 39.1 in. 36.4 in. 34.7 in. 40.4 in.


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