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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Suzuki XL-7 Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Suzuki XL-7 Overview

A Worthy Option

The XL-7 is Suzuki's largest SUV. It began life just a few years ago, the union of a stretched Grand Vitara platform and powerful V6 engine. Not willing to leave well enough alone, Suzuki overhauled the XL-7's interior last year, giving it a rather upscale look, complete with an electroluminescent dash and a long list of standard appointments. For 2004, the XL-7 continues to improve, sporting a new front grille and headlights and a new five-speed automatic transmission, a first for this class of SUV.

The XL-7 makes a worthy rival for such vehicles as the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Murano and Subaru Forester. With pricing for the base two-wheel-drive LX starting at just under $20K, the XL-7 certainly seems to undercut these other vehicles, two of which don't even offer a third-row seat option. Granted with the added seating capacity there is not much room for cargo and even though the second-row seats slide back and forth, the third-row seat is really only fit for kids or very small adults. We think most people would be happiest with the standard seating configuration and the additional 40 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the second-row seat; fold the second-row seats down, and the cargo space jumps to a whopping 75 cubic-feet. Though you'll find the XL-7 is long, it's not terribly wide, limiting somewhat the ability to fit three across. Front-seat passengers will find they have ample head and legroom though the wide transmission tunnel does eat into the footwells a bit.

The XL-7 differs from most crossover SUVs in that it employs a rugged body-on-frame platform and a traditional four-wheel-drive layout that includes a high/low transfer case necessary for advanced off-road exploration. With over seven-inches of ground clearance, you can safely take the XL-7 places no crossover vehicle could ever reach. The XL-7's four-wheel-drive can be engaged with just a push of a button and can be operated at speeds up to 60-mph; but unlike the crossovers, you cannot engage the four-wheel-drive under normal driving conditions. The XL-7 is tow rated for up to 3000 pounds, one more advantage of the body-on-frame platform.

Power for the XL-7 comes from Suzuki's proven 2.7-liter V6, a little muscle-bound brute of an engine high on low-end torque. With the new optional five-speed automatic, the XL-7 accelerates smoothly and has surprisingly quick pick up from a standing start. Once speed, the fifth gear helps quiet the engine, which can become a bit loud over 4000 rpm. If you prefer to shift for yourself, you can get a 5-speed manual gearbox, but only on the five-passenger LX trim.

You'll find the steering, braking and handling abilities of the XL-7 to be above average. There is very little body roll when executing sudden maneuvers and the steering, though heavy at times, responds quickly and precisely to your inputs. The XL-7s ride is near car-like on smooth pavement, though it quickly reverts back to its truck-like roots when encountering broken pavement or washboard roads. For everyday driving, we think most people will be fairly happy with the comfort level the XL-7 returns.

Inside, the XL-7's new interior is simply first class all the way; what a difference from the vast sea of generic gray plastic that was the interior just a few years back. Today's XL-7 greets you with a handsome sew pattern on the seats and doors and a rich two-tone dash trimmed in faux wood. The audio unit is placed up high in the dash where it's easy to see and operate; for ease of use, there is a set of steering-wheel-mounted redundant controls. The new HVAC switches are also much easier to use and feature three rotary knobs that are clearly marked with logical pictograph displays.

Standard equipment on the XL-7 LX includes the 2.7-liter V6 engine, automatic air conditioning, rear defroster, power windows, power door locks, keyless remote entry, automatic headlamp control, dual heated-power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD and separate subwoofer, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear-wiper/washer. The EX trim adds leather seating, anti-lock brakes, power sunroof, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. In addition, seven passenger models come standard with rear air conditioning vents and climate controls.

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