XL-7: Stretched Compact SUV that's More than a Minivan

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Suzuki XL-7

There are plenty of good things to be said about the Suzuki XL-7. It is an excellent product, though one that had fallen victim to GM’s bankruptcy upheaval and not slow sales. Here’s what you need to know.

If you were looking to get your hands on an SUV with seven-passenger seating but weren’t in the mood to splurge out for a full-size sport utility vehicle, there is the option of a convenient in-betweener such as the original Suzuki XL-7. Suzuki actually created an entirely new concept of a car by using the extended-wheelbase version of its Grand Vitara small SUV and then adding a third-row seat to it. Recognized as the right move by a number of competitors, Suzuki also quickly realized what it had done and turned out a redesigned second generation midsize XL-7. This new model was longer and wider than the first one and here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about it.

Reliable Engine Power

It was in 2007 that the redesigned 2nd gen XL-7 first saw light of day. It was actually sold with the optional third-row seating and five-speed automatic transmission throughout the 2008 model year and was generally seen as a reliable and well-equipped seven-passenger midsize crossover. A total of three trim levels were available, each of which included more features and interesting trinkets. Each model could similarly be had with either front- or all-wheel drive and Suzuki made sure to build a reliable 3.6-litre V6 engine to power the XL-7, complete with 252 horsepower and 243 lb.-ft. of torque.

Standard Features Galore

There are many standard features on the XL-7, some of which were rear air conditioning, privacy glass, automatic climate control, a six-speaker CD stereo, security alarm and even alloy wheels. Going up the trim ladder to the Luxury trim meant you were on the receiving end of heated front seats, leather interior, and a standard third-row seat. Going full-out with the Limited trim brought a rear spoiler, fog lights and satellite radio-ready audio with navigation and DVD entertainment.

Usability Worthy of Its Name

If you’re aiming to get your hands on the most comfortable and largest Suzuki ever built, then definitely go for the last generation XL-7. Its functional, spacious and refined interior is truly impressive; the second-row 60/40 split seats can be tumbled forward in order to enable effortless access to the third row. That’s not all, though, as the third-row seats can be folded flat to allow for extra cargo room. Good reflexes on the pavement and an overall car-like ride were the results of the XL-7’s unibody chassis, as well as ample maneuverability, secure handling and plenty of power coming from the engine throughout the rev range. When you add engine smoothness, ride quality and steering precision into the mix, it’s more than clear that the XL-7 is sufficiently refined as well.

An Affordable SUV Worthy of Your Investment

The Suzuki XL-7 was envisioned as a remarkable piece of Japanese technology – it was sufficiently powerful, well-styled, reliable and usable in almost all conditions. Add to that a refined interior, ample functionality, ease of access to all of the seats and a spacious cabin, and it is clear that this crossover SUV was destined for greatness. Unfortunately, it was discontinued after the 2009 model year and is now available only as a used car.