2009 XL7 New Car Test Drive
The 2008 Suzuki XL7 is a large mid-size SUV that offers space for three rows of seats with sufficient room for adults to sit in reasonable comfort in the third row. The name XL7 denotes that this Suzuki can be equipped to carry up to seven passengers. Fold all the passenger seats down, including the front one, and there's a generous amount of cargo space.
All-new for 2007, this latest XL7 is longer, wider and more powerful than the previous model. If its look seems faintly familiar that's because it's based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent models from GM, though it shares no sheetmetal with them. The XL7 is assembled in Canada alongside the Equinox and Torrent. The XL7's V6 engine is built in Japan, however.
As with other crossover utilities, the XL7 offers a much smoother ride on the highway than truck-based SUVs. All-wheel drive is available, improving traction and stability in foul weather and on dirt or gravel roads. With one of the most powerful engines in its class, the XL7 offers decent acceleration performance yet it delivers reasonable fuel economy. It's aided by its smooth-shifting five-speed automatic.
For 2008, Suzuki offers a new, more affordable base model; while adding a sunroof and other items to the list of standard equipment on the Luxury and Limited versions.
For 2008, Suzuki expanded the XL7 line to four trim levels: base ($21,349), Premium ($23,249), Luxury ($24,949) and Limited ($27,299). The base model now comes only with front-wheel drive and only with seating for five. All-wheel drive ($1,600) is optional on the other three models. The Premium and Luxury are available in both five-passenger and seven-passenger ($1,350) configurations, while the top-of-the-line XL7 Limited features standard seven-passenger seating.
The base XL7 comes with a five-speed automatic transmission with Manumatic manual override. Standard features also include remote keyless entry; power windows, door locks and mirrors; tilt steering wheel; cruise control; trip computer with driver information center; auto on/off headlamps; black roof rails; 16-inch alloy wheels; privacy glass; overhead storage compartment; air conditioning with automatic climate control; and an AM/FM/CD stereo system with six speakers.
The XL7 Premium adds floor mats and 17-inch alloy wheels. Interior trim is woodgrain or satin-nickel, depending on upholstery color. More significantly, buying the Premium model allows you to choose seven-passenger seating and/or all-wheel drive. All three-row, seven-passenger XL7's feature Nivomat load-leveling rear suspension, rear cargo under floor storage, and rear air conditioning with separate controls.
The XL7 Luxury adds leather seating surfaces, power driver seat, heated front seats, and brushed aluminum-look trim on its bumper valances. For 2008, a sunroof, a six-CD changer, and leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls are standard as well.
The XL7 Limited adds fog lamps, rear spoiler, upgraded roof racks with silver-colored rails and cross bars, auto-dimming rearview mirror, 17-inch chrome wheels, Pioneer premium AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio with seven speakers (including subwoofer), touch-screen navigation, and a remote starter. (XM Satellite Radio requires a subscription.) A DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones may be substituted for the sunroof and navigation at no cost. A new rear-vision camera ($649) is also available, and exclusive to the Limited.
The only other factory option is pearl white paint ($200), which is available on all models, even the base.
Safety features that come standard on all XL7 models include driver and passenger front airbags, side-curtain airbags for all rows of passengers, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESP) with traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.