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2007 Suzuki XL7 – Needs Lessons in Quietness

SUZ XL7 FV.jpg

We have been wanting to drive the new Suzuki XL7 ever since we heard that it would be a larger derivative of GM’s Theta platform that underpins the Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent. What separated the XL7 from its GM brethren is its 3.6L V6 engine with 252HP . The GM models have a 3.4L V6 with 185HP. The staffers at AutoPacific and VehicleVoice have just finished a week-long evaluation of the new 2007 XL7.
XL7 Can Be Priced Above $30,000!
To match its size and power, the XL7 is base priced a bit above $22,500 and tops out at $29,000 for a Limited AWD model. Add the nav system like our evaluation XL7 had and the price peaks at $31,200. Wow! A Suzuki priced above $30,000. Base-to-base the XL7 is about $1,000 over the smaller Pontiac Torrent but reaches much higher. BTW: a base Ford Explorer XLT is $24,600 (V6), about $2000 higher than the XL7 and can top out over $33,000. But the Suzuki is certainly in the same price category.
Apparently this pricing strategy has caused Suzuki dealers some indigestion and they have asked Suzuki to shift the model mix being produced from being heavily loaded models to more base models. This will give them models at a lower price point at the dealership.
The XL7 has a 112.4-inch wheelbase, an overall length of 197.2-inches, overall width of 72.2-inches and overall height of 68.9-inches. We were lucky enough to have an Explorer in our parking lot to compare with the XL7. Explorer is 113.7×193.4×73.7×72.8… longer wheelbase, shorter overall length, a bit wider and a bunch taller. It’s surprising that the Suzuki is actually larger in some respects that the Explorer.
The photo below shows the XL7 parked in a spot adjacent to an Explorer – almost hidden in the background.
SUZ XL7 SV.jpg

Suz XL7 RV.jpg

Inside the XL7 Limited with leather seats is comfortable, but the seats are a bit hard and the interior styling lacks the finesse of many of the newest Crossover SUVs. The surface radii (especially for the console) are too sharp and the interior, while functional (good), doesn’t flow particularly well. Our finicky rear seat passengers complained that the 2nd row seats were too hard, but, knowing who was complaining, maybe they were really OK.
SUZ XL7 Interior.jpg

The cargo room with all three rows of seats up is relatively small. With the 3rd row down cargo room is pretty good but narrower than our comparison Explorer. The 3rd row seats are 50/50 affairs and are easy to fold down. The cargo area is carpeted in mouse fur – a particular peeve of ours – and would benefit from a heavy duty washable cargo mat.
SUZ XL7 Cargo.jpg

Driving the XL7 – OK, But Noise Needs to be Reduced and Quietness Improved
The XL7 is a pretty nice drive. It has enough power when empty to feel sprightly. It handles OK without much ride harshness. The XL7 is maneuverable and can fit into compact parking spaces. It doesn’t feel that it takes as much effort to dock as an Explorer, for instance.
Under acceleration our perceptions of the XL7 were really hurt by the terrible NVH the vehicle has. Push the accelerator even a little and the engine gives out some sort of blaaaaaaaaaaa sound. Not only does the exhaust note need a lot of fine tuning, the cabin needs a lot more sound deadening material. This level of noise… and objectionable noise at that… may be semi-acceptable in a 4-cylinder Vitara (I know only the Grand Vitara is still with us here i the USA), but for a vehicle $30,000 that tips the price chart at over $30,000 this level of NVH is unacceptable.

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