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2006 Compact SUV : SUZUKI Grand Vitara
Suzuki calls the newly redesigned version of its primary sport utility vehicle an “off-road athlete” and says it delivers “class-leading interior space.” Based on a purely Suzuki design, the 2006 Grand Vitara went on sale in August 2005. Competitors include the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4. Midyear addition of a gas-electric hybrid makes 2006 news for this compact five-seat SUV from General Motors’ Saturn division.
Vue shares its basic design with GM’s midsize Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent SUVs but has unique styling and plastic body panels. It also is the only one with a hybrid version. Conventional-power-train Vues offer a 143-hp 4-cyl and a Honda-built 250-hp V6. Both are available with front-wheel drive. The V6 is also available with all-wheel drive that lacks low-range gearing and is not intended for off-road use. The 4-cyl versions have manual or automatic transmission, the V6 comes only with automatic.
ABS is standard on V6 Vues, optional on 4-cyls. Available for V6s is a sporty Red Line package with a lowered and firmer suspension, 18-inch wheels, and specific trim. For all Vues, curtain side airbags are optional. Styling is freshened inside and out for 2006 and OnStar assistance and steering-wheel audio controls become standard. Except for occasionally awkward, almost jerky, automatic-transmission operation — especially on upgrades — the Grand Vitara performs and behaves capably.
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