Few vehicles in Today’s marketplace have the ability to seat seven people. Sure, GM’s Suburban and Ford’s Excursion are in this select group, but their immense size makes them ponderous about town and seriously lacking in the fuel economy department. Enter Suzuki’s XL-7, a compact SUV with enough room to accommodate the Brady Bunch kids, and Alice, without having to stop for gas every three days. At first glance, the XL-7 looks almost like any other compact SUV. It features a boxy shape, with a somewhat plain face highlighted by large headlights and a distinctive grille. Look closer, however, and you will find that camouflaged in that unassuming exterior is unique vehicle. The exterior dimensions of the XL-7 are comparable to that of the Ford Escape and Toyota Highlander, overall length, width and height are 183.6.in., 70.1.in. and 67.5.in., respectively, but the Suzuki has about 20 percent more interior volume. Third row seating is standard on the XL-7 Plus, Touring and Limited Editions models. Those who would rather use the cargo, can opt for the standard version that comes without seats. Under the hood of the XL-7 is Suzuki’s aluminium block 2.7 liter V6 that produces 183 bhp and 180 lb.ft. of torque.
This powerplant is a bored out version of the 2.5 liter unit in the Grand Vitara. Smooth and economical, this 24 valve engine gives the XL-7 EPA fuel economy rating of 18/20 mpg city/highway. The engine comes mated to either a 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic transmission. You can also choose between rear wheel or all wheel drive, the later featuring shift on the fly capabilities.