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Upscale Affordability in a Stylish SUV
The 2007 Suzuki XL-7

By Keith Burton

KEY FEATURES

3.6-Liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine
Horsepower: 252 hp @ 6500 rpm   Torque 243 ft.lbs
Variable valve timing
5-speed automatic transmission w/ manumatic shift
Available All-Wheel Drive
Driver and passenger front and side-curtain airbags
Available DVD entertainment system
Available navigation system
3,500 lbs. towing capacity

The XL7 is much bigger than the previous XL7 because it is built atop the same General Motors Theta platform that anchors the Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent. That means it's about 10 inches longer than the last XL7, a couple of inches wider, and with a wheelbase upped by about 2 inches. This helps combine to make a much smoother and more stable ride.

Plus, its a lot better looking, with a European design that somewhat looks like an Audi SUV, especially at the rear and in the interior with an attractively laid out dash with white on black gauges at night surrounded by red accessory lights,.very much in the vein of the VW Touareg and Audi Q7, at much less the cost.

The 3.6-liter engine produces 252 horsepower, which should be plenty, but felt more modest in this 2-ton-plus vehicle. The torque, at 243 lb.-ft., should be enough for medium-to-small boats or weekend-gear/supplies trailers. Power is transmitted through a smooth five-speed automatic transmission.

The XL7 front-wheel drive accounts for a base price down around $23,000. The test model's all-wheel drive would be fine for most winter travels in New England and probably for modest off-road slogging and sloshing, but without a low-range option, you won't crawl with the Wranglers, Toyota FJs, and other true off-road wanderers.

Its five-passenger configuration provides good space for exactly that -- five people. High headroom, good legroom, and wide shoulder space. The best feature of the third row of seats, however, is that they fold flat, allowing plenty of cargo space. But if you need to occasionally carry a couple of children in the rear, or make a couple of neighboring teens suffer on their way to a soccer game, the third row is a decent option.

Interior comfort is quite good, especially in the front seats. The aforementioned instrumentation is easy to see and well laid out. We liked the overall look of the interior design as it is both functional and upscale in appearance, especially considering the platform, coming from the GM Theta platform that underpins the Chevy Equinox. The back seats are roomy, especially for people with long legs, but the cushion is somewhat flat. All of the materials are well matched and have a consistent feel and look, no mismatched plastic bits either.

Inside, the leather-appointed seats, leather steering wheel with audio controls, six-way power seats, heated front seats, wood grain trim, and tight fit and finish make it a crossover worth considering.

On the road, the XL7 quickly makes it clear that it is not to be driven as a sports car. It handles well enough but the engine and drivetrain produce a lot of torque steer if you floor the vehicle when passing.

Engine and wind noise are minimal at speed, though the tires were a bit loud. Overall, handling was smooth, controlled, and confident. Steering is light but communitive but not as accurate as some others. But it is fun to drive and there is good visibility all around.

The standard package of safety gear is impressive and includes a self-leveling rear suspension, driver information center with trip computer, front and rear air conditioning, and an MP3-adaptable audio system with seven speakers.

Overall, the XL7 is a step up in looks and performance over the GM versions. It feels upscale with its leather
seats and navigation system, it is affordable, at around $30,000 for a fully loaded version, and it has a terrific ride for cities with poor roads.

ENGINE

Type:                                       3.6-liter, V6, 24-valve DOHC (Suzuki N36A)

Materials:                                 Aluminum cylinder block/aluminum cylinder heads

Displacement:                         3.6 liters (3,564 cc/217 cu. in.)

Bore x stroke:                          94.0 mm x 85.6 mm/3.70 in. x 3.37 in.

Compression ratio:                 10.2:1

Horsepower:                           252 hp @ 6,500 RPM

Torque:                                    243 lb.-ft. @ 2,300 RPM

Valves per cylinder:                 Four

Fuel system:                           Electronic multi-port fuel injection, variable induction system, in-tank fuel pump

Emission compliance:            Dual, close-coupled catalytic converters, positive crankcase ventilation, intake and exhaust cam phasers with internal exhaust gas recirculation and evaporative emissions system

Exhaust:                                  Dual, stainless steel

TRANSMISSION

Five-speed automatic (AF33-5 Aisin AW) with manumatic control

1st                                            4.68:1

2nd                                           2.94:1

3rd                                            1.92:1

4th                                            1.30:1

5th                                            1.00:1

Reverse                                  3.18:1

Final drive ratio                        2.48:1

ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE SYSTEM
Electronically controlled, on-demand all-wheel drive.  PTO on transaxle with rear-mounted electronic clutch pack delivers torque to rear wheels as necessary.

SUSPENSION

Front:                                       Independent:  MacPherson strut suspension with coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and 26 mm anti-roll bar.

Rear:                                       Independent:  Multi-link (four link) suspension with coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and 20 mm anti-roll bar.  Seven-passenger versions are fitted with Nivomat load-leveling shock absorbers.

STEERING

Type:                                       Hydraulic, power-assisted, fixed-ratio rack-and-pinion

Overall ratio:                            17.1:1

Turns, lock-to-lock:                 2.7

Turning circle:                         41.8 ft. (12.7 meters) curb-to-curb

 BRAKES 

Front:                                       Power-assisted vented disc (11.6 in./296 mm) with floating two-piston calipers and pad wear sensors

Rear:                                       Power-assisted disc (11.6 in./296 mm) with single piston calipers

ABS:                                        Standard, four-wheel, four-channel with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD)

Traction control:                      Standard, engine torque reduction

Electronic Stability

Program (ESP)1

(including traction control):     Standard

WHEELS                                16 x 6.5-in. alloy

                                                17 x 7.0-in. alloy

                                                17 x 7.0-in. chrome plated alloy (Platinum Touring Package)

TIRES                                     P235/65R16

                                                P235/60R17

Spare:                                     Full-size spare

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase:                             112.4 in. (2,857 mm)

Overall length:                         197.2 in. (5,008 mm)

Overall width:                          72.2 in. (1,835 mm)

Overall height:                         68.9 in. (1,750 mm)

Tread width, f/r:                       61.6 in. (1,565 mm)/61.8 in. (1,570 mm)

Overhang, front:                      37.5 in. (953 mm)

Overhang, rear:                       46.5 in. (1,181 mm)

Ground clearance:                  7.9 in. (200.6 mm)

Approach angle:                      17.5 degrees

Departure angle:                     20.0 degrees

INTERIOR DIMENSIONS

Headroom

Front:                           41.3 in. (1,048 mm)

            Rear:                           40.0 in. (1,015 mm)

            Third:                           38.8 in. (986 mm)

Legroom

            Front:                           41.2 in. (1,047 mm)

            Rear:                           38.8 in. (986 mm)

            Third:                           30.9 in. (784 mm)

Shoulder room

            Front:                           55.6 in. (1,413 mm)

            Rear:                           55.3 in. (1,405 mm)

            Third:                           50.0 in. (1,270 mm)

Hip Room

            Front:                           52.2 in. (1,325 mm)

            Rear:                           53.1 in. (1,350 mm)

            Third:                           38.2 in. (971 mm)

Total interior volume:              146.1 cu. ft.

Passenger volume:                 132.1 cu. ft.

Maximum cargo volume:        14.0 cu. ft. (all seats up)/ 49.4 cu. ft. (behind 2nd row)/ 95.2 cu. ft. (behind 1st row)

CAPACITIES

Fuel tank:                                18.6 gallons (70.3 liters)

Engine oil:                               5.0 quarts (4.8 liters) with filter

Engine coolant:                       12.7 quarts (12.0 liters) two-row configuration

                                                13.1 quarts (12.4 liters) three-row configuration

CURB WEIGHT

2WD, auto transmission:        3,886 lbs. (1,763 kg)

AWD, auto transmission:       4,049 lbs. (1,837 kg)

Weight dist, f/r:                        57 percent/43 percent

Payload:                                  1,127 lbs. (511 kg)

TOWING

2WD, auto transmission:        3,500 lbs. (1,587 kg)

AWD, auto transmission:       3,500 lbs. (1,587 kg)

EPA FUEL ECONOMY ESTIMATES

2WD, auto transmission:        18 mpg/city and 24 mpg/highway

AWD, auto transmission:       17 mpg/city and 23 mpg/highway

 

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