HEELS ON WHEELS: 2009 SUZUKI EQUATOR REVIEW
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE EQUATOR VEHICLE
Taking cue from Honda's Ridgeline idea – to create a car that can carry more brand-specific product in the form of ATVs and dirt bikes – comes Suzuki's all-new smaller pickup, the Equator. Trucks offer functions not available in a crossover or SUV and are great for the outdoorsy types, like myself.
I drove a four-door 2009 Suzuki Equator with the crew cab, the 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine and the RMZ-4 (4WD off-road package). Starting price is $28,550, but price gets easily bumped up to mid-$30k when you add all the wonderful features that made this truck standout, like a moonroof, Bluetooth capability, a Rocksford Fosgate 6-disc CD audio system or the Suzuki TRIP Navi System. Seating is for five.
Other Suzuki vehicles I have driven recently include the Suzuki Grand Vitara and the SX4 crossover. I have been pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the capability of all three vehicles.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: Air quality control is very precise; no need for constant extreme dial turning. Suzuki's TRIP or touch-screen navigation system can be removed from the vehicle. A Rocksford Fosgate stereo is one of the best audio systems you can get. The Equator offers a nicely designed flexible synthetic covering – it looks great, it feels great and it's a sensible alternative to leather.
Reliability & Safety Factor: Suzuki offers an outstanding 100,000-mile/7-year warranty. The Equator does have the LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) along with lots of modern safety features such as Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Hill Descent Control (HDC), and Hill Start Assist (HSA).
Cost Issues: $28,550 seems affordable until you add on the necessary extras in order to love and appreciate your car. You'll experience the same pricing dilemma with both the Nissan Frontier and Dodge Dakota (the Frontier and Equator have a nicer bed).
Activity & Performance Ability: The Equator is essentially the Nissan Frontier, providing strong passing acceleration and an even, smooth ride. Editor Fred Williams at Peterson's 4Wheel & Off-Road Magazine named it the "4x4 of the Year," beating out many big-named competitors. The bed features a textured spray-on bedliner with four in-bed tie-down cleats for cargo; we fit an oak table, leaf and four chairs comfortably with room for more (and no scratch or scoff marks). Tailgate can be removed. My truck bed was rather short; the extended bed offers better space off-road vehicle owners. I noticed a rattling sound in the front and concluded it was from the front fascia or bumper (another reviewer also cited this sound).
The Green Concern: With 15-mpg city and 20-mpg city, you're getting what a larger truck gets. You can choose the smaller 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine for 19-mpg city and 23-mpg highway, but don't expect to tow as much bed weight.
FINAL PARTING WORDS
When an esteemed off-road editor like Fred Williams tests, compares and endorses a vehicle above all else, the truck is excellent. After a week of driving, I was as comfortable as I am inside a crossover – the truck bed bringing additional benefits, of course.
Katrina's Car Tips For Women Drivers
- Katrina's 2009 Crossover Watch List
- Katrina's 2009 3-Row SUVs and SUVs
- Katrina's 2008 Top 10 Vehicles For Female Drivers
- Katrina's Basic Car Insurance Coverage For Women
- Katrina's Money Saving Car Tips For Women
2010 and 2009 Model Reviews
- 2009 Acura RDX Review
- 2009 Acura TL Review
- 2009 Acura TSX Tech Review
- 2009 BMW X3 xDRIVE 30i Review
- 2009 Chevrolet Traverse Review
- 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid Review
- 2009 Dodge Journey Review
- 2009 Ford Flex Review
- 2009 Honda Pilot EX-L Review
- 2009 Infiniti G37 Coupe Review
- 2009 Kia Borrego Review
- 2010 Lexus HS250h Review
- 2009 Mazda5 Grand Touring Review
- 2009 Mazda6 Grand Touring Review
- 2009 Mazda CX-9 Review
- 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML320 BLUETEC Review
- 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
- 2009 Nissan Murano Review
- 2009 Suzuki Equator Review
- 2009 Subaru Forester Review
- 2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid Review
- 2009 Toyota Yaris Review
- 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
- 2009 Toyota RAV4 Review
- 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan SE 4Motion Review
- 2009 Volkswagen CC Sport Review
- 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI Review
2008 Model Reviews
- 2008 Buick Enclave Review
- 2008 Ford Escape
- 2008 Ford Escape Limited 4x4 Review
- 2008 Honda CR-V Review
- 2008 Honda Reidgeline Review
- 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
- 2008 Kia Sportage 4x4 Review
- 2008 Lexus RX400h Hybrid Review
- 2008 Lexus GX470 Review
- 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD Review
- 2008 Nissan Pathfinder Review
- 2008 Nissan Armada Review
- 2008 Suzuki SX4 Review
- 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX Review
- 2008 Toyota Prius Hybrid Review
- 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Review
- 2008 Volkswagen Touareg Review
- 2008 Volkswagen Touareg Review
- 2008 Volvo C30 Review
©2008 Katrina Ramser