There are a lot of things to like about the 2012
Namely, the capable compact SUV is nicely equipped
and hits the nail on the head in terms of pricing.
Aside from being a functional and affordable means of
transportation, this isn’t a vehicle that makes you all warm and
fuzzy. I doubt very many people have the Grand Vitara’s webpage
bookmarked on their computers. It doesn’t have what I call the
For the 2012 model year, there’s not a lot of
changes. In addition to a new tailgate design, the Grand Vitara has
added an additional trim level.
Available in rear- and four-wheel drive
configurations, it is still powered by a 2.4-liter I-4 engine (166
horsepower and 162 lbs.-ft. torque). With a curb weight of just
below 3,500 pounds, the I-4 does an adequate job of moving the
Grand Vitara. I would even go so far to say it does a satisfactory
job of getting up to speed on the highway.
While rated to tow up to 3,000 pounds, I didn’t get
the chance to test its towing capabilities.
That said, it is not a performance vehicle under any
Mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed
automatic transmission, the Grand Vitara’s fuel economy numbers are
pretty middle of the road for the segment, achieving 19 mpg city,
26 mpg highway for rear-wheel drive models (19/23 respectively for
four-wheel drive models).
The Grand Vitara is ideally suited for an in-town
commuter car capable of doing double duty as an off-road SUV on the
For short commutes in town, its compact wheelbase
makes it easy to maneuver and park in crowded lots. Capable of
carrying five passengers and still provide 28.4 cubic feet of cargo
room behind the second seat, it does offer additional cargo
versatility as the rear seat can be folded, expanding cargo room to
70.8 cubic feet.
And, it’s actually a pretty good off-road vehicle,
especially when equipped with four-wheel drive.
Here’s the down side.
On the highway, the cabin is noisy and I didn’t find
the seats comfortable at all. No matter how many times I adjusted
the settings, I couldn’t find a position that made me want to drive
the vehicle on an extended road trip. In fact, for those with a
length daily commute on the highway, I wouldn’t recommend the 2012
Grand Vitara as a primary or sole vehicle.
With four trim levels available, the base Grand
Vitara ($19,499) comes with a long list of standard features, which
includes air conditioning with automatic climate control, remote
keyless entry, power windows and door locks, tilt steering wheel,
driver information display with outside temperature gauge,
integrated touchscreen navigation system, audio system with XM
Satellite Radio compatibility, steering wheel audio controls, among
Other trim levels include Premium (starting at
$21,399), Ultimate Adventure Edition (starting at $22,299) and
Limited (starting at $23,749).
When it comes to bang for the buck, the Grand Vitara
provides a lot of features for the price, along with an exceptional
Neal White has been covering the automotive
industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas
Auto Writers Association.