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Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

With an aggressive ad campaign telling consumers that “less is more” (in this case, less
means smaller and more manageable than full-size sport-utility vehicles), Suzuki has played
off its success with the Grand Vitara with a new model to compete in a more popular niche
market. The XL-7 is the largest SUV that Suzuki has ever produced and the seventh SUV model
it has sold in the United States, hence the XL-7 designation. According to the company,
this new SUV has more cargo space than a Jeep Grand Cherokee, more front headroom than a
Lexus RX-300, more standard power than a Nissan Xterra and a 3,000-pound tow rating. In
addition, the company reports the XL-7 (4WD model only) can be flat-towed with all four
wheels on the ground with no modifications, and no odometer mileage is accumulated while
being towed. To ensure that the XL-7’s interior space is easily accessible, the rear doors
are extra wide — 8 to 12 inches wider than other SUVs in its class. Second row seating
features fore and aft adjustments, and shares the split folding capability of the third row
seats to provide up to 73 cubic feet with both rows folded down. If need be, up to 100
pounds of cargo can be carried on the XL-7’s standard roof rails, and there’s additional
storage below the cargo decking and in under-seat storage bins. The full-size spare tire
mounts outside the cargo area on the back door to free up even more room. The XL-7’s
quad-cam, 24-valve, all-aluminum V-6 engine is isolated with special liquid-filled mounts
that help eliminate vibration. Add to that calibrated suspension bushings and extensive
sound attenuation technologies, and the XL-7’s comprehensive noise, vibration and harshness
control strategy is said to deliver a very quiet and serene ride. While traveling in a
straight line, the 4WD XL-7 can be shifted on the fly between two-wheel-drive (2WD) high
and four-wheel-drive high at any speed up to 60 mph. A pneumatic actuator automatically
engages the front differential and front axle whenever 4WD is selected, so manual-locking
hubs are not required. In 4WD, two gear ratios are provided: straight-through 4WD high
(1.00:1) for smooth surfaces and 4WD low (1.86:1) for treacherous, punishing terrain.

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