2009 Suzuki Equator – Click above for high-res image gallery Suzuki has chosen a rather dubious time to enter the pickup truck market with the 2009 Equator. As you are surely aware, trucks and SUV sales are way down from their apogee a few years back, and small cars like the ones that have historically filled Suzuki showrooms are all the rage. So, why would the Japanese automaker even bother with a mid-sized pickup truck based on the Nissan Frontier? That's a good question, and we aimed to find out when we grabbed the keys to Team Yellow's first-ever real pickup contender in the U.S. Read on to see what the Suzuki Equator has to offer. %Gallery-32252% All Photos © Copyright Jeremy Korzeniewski / Weblogs Inc. So why did Suzuki decide to enter the truck market in the first place? As one of Japan's largest makers of powersports products, the company has a very large customer base that already owns its off-highway line of vehicles. Whether they be motorcycles, dirtbikes, ATVs or watercraft, Suzuki's own research indicates that owners of its others products are 50-percent more likely to own a truck than the average person, so brand-loyal riders will now have the ability to haul their toys with the same brand of truck. Suzuki doesn't appear to have the delusion that it's going to sell a boatload of Equators, but any truck sales it does get are sales it wouldn't have otherwise, so it could be a winning idea in the end despite the current market conditions. Anyone familiar with the inside guts of the latest Nissan Frontier is likely to feel right at home inside the Suzuki Equator. An easy-to-read gauge cluster sits behind a familiar Nissan-spec steering wheel and switchgear. While we generally aren't in favor of this kind of product-sharing, at least the truck is based on a credible and successful model and it's not badge engineering within the same automaker. Suzuki makes no bones about the fact that the Equator is based on a competing model, and in fact claims to have hand-picked the Frontier specifically for its off-road worthiness and overall truck-ability. We put those supposed off-road credentials to the test and we'll tell you how it fared a bit later. In the meantime, let's take a look at the outer skin of the Equator and see how it compares with its kin and closest rivals. On the outside, and especially in profile, it may be easy to mistake the Equator for the Frontier. Most of the work that went into differentiating the two models was done to the front end. In comparison to its platform-mate, we prefer the looks of the Suzuki, which definitely has that square-jawed truck look that seems to be popular these days. On the highway, that big opening didn't add any undue wind noise that we could detect. What we could detect loud and clear was the big V6 engine at the helm along with the four rather aggressively …
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|MPG||19 City / 23 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd man w/OD|
|Power||152 @ 5200 rpm|
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