Suzuki For 2000
By Carey Russ
Suzuki is expanding its lineup with a luxury version of its Grand Vitara sport-utility. The small Esteem sedan and wagon have a larger engine, as does the Swift hatchback.
The renamed four-cylinder Vitara and V6-powered Grand Vitara made their debut last year. The lineup expands for 2000, with the introduction of the Grand Vitara Limited Edition. It starts where the regular Grand Vitara equipment level ends, and adds upscale exterior and interior features more common in SUVs costing twice its price. Like all Grand Vitaras and Vitaras, the Limited Edition is a real SUV, with rugged body-on-frame construction, and is offered in two- or four-wheel drive form. Its 2.5-liter V6, the same one used in other Grand Vitara models, is the only V6 in the mini-SUV class. All Grand Vitara models are four-door hardtops. Vitaras are available in four-door hardtop or two-door soft-top form, with two- or four- wheel drive.
Esteem Sedan and Wagon
Mini sport-utilities don't fill the needs of everyone looking for a small vehicle, so Suzuki also has the Esteem line of subcompact sedans and wagons. They received a larger engine partway through the 1999 model year. The 122-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder is a significant improvement on the previous 95-hp 1.6-liter engine.
Suzuki has long been a leader in the minicar class in Japan, and brings its expertise to the U.S. with the Swift. The Swift once had a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine. Now it has a 79-hp, 1.3-liter four-cylinder. It's still ultra-economical and inexpensive.