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#5

in 2009 Compact Pickup Trucks

Avg. Price Paid: $7,705 - $14,465
Original MSRP: $17,220 - $30,600
MPG: 19 City / 23 Hwy
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2009 Suzuki Equator Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

For the most part, reviewers are pleased with the 2009 Suzuki Equator's performance.  Like the Nissan Frontier it is based on, the Equator isn't as comfortable or refined as a crossover or SUV, but what drivers sacrifice in refinement they gain in towing, hauling and off road capabilities.

  • "We drove the two-wheel-drive short-bed V-6 Crew Cab and weren't surprised to find that the Equator not only looks like the Frontier, but drives like it, too." -- Motor Trend
  • "Should you want to venture off road, the Equator 4x4 should be able to handle just about everything short of the Rubicon Trail." -- Chicago Sun-Times
  • "The Equator was quiet and stable on the road with driving dynamics that are quite good for a truck. Though nowhere near as car-like as some competitors, namely the Honda Ridgeline, that truckiness is exactly what Suzuki wanted and the fully boxed frame and rugged suspension deliver on that promise." -- Autoblog
  • "The Equator's V-6 provided nice acceleration, and the truck handled nicely on tight canyon roads." -- Los Angeles Daily News

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Equator comes with either a 2.5 liter in-line four cylinder engine or a 4.0-liter V6.  Most reviewers comment solely on the V6. While most reviewers say the engine is competent, some add that it's also very noisy. The Equator's fuel economy also leaves something to be desired in the eyes of many reviewers.  A five-speed manual transmission is standard with the four cylinder engine, while the V6 has a standard five-speed automatic.

  • "The V-6 engine has enough torque to throw you back in the seat without having to rev it to the redline. Which is fortunate, because at redline this engine is as sonically gratifying as a Fran Drescher-Gilbert Gottfried rendition of 'I Got You Babe.'" -- New York Times
  • "The V-6's power delivery is excellent, but the engine is somewhat crude and noisy." -- Truck Trend
  • "The Equator's V-6 engine is smooth but hardly capable of providing the urge that V-8 pickup owners enjoy. The electronically controlled transmission is slow to kick down for passing and hill climbing. With a 4000-pound boat trailer in tow, we had no difficulty keeping up with traffic but passing moves had to be carefully timed." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Speaking of gas, oh boy. The paper work says 15/20 mpg. The reality was about 17 mpg in a 40/60 mix of city/highway driving. I wasn't wearing my heavy shoes, nor was I pulling a trailer or driving in 4WD. Towing." -- Chicago Sun-Times
  • "What we could detect loud and clear was the big V6 engine at the helm along with the four rather aggressively tread contact patches at each corner. In was livable, but you may find yourself turning up the stereo a few notches on the highway." -- Autoblog
  • "The five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission shifted nicely while I romped on the accelerator. I found driving the Nissan...uh, Suzuki, very enjoyable on the road aided by greater visibility and less rear wheelhop associated with most full-size trucks." -- Truck Trend

Handling and Braking

The 2009 Suzuki Equator gets mixed reviews when it comes to handling and braking.  While some reviewers find it nimble for a truck, others complain about road noise and poor handling. Still, overall, most reviews are positive about how the truck drives. Reviewers who took the Equator off-road, especially those with the off-road RMZ-4 package, found the truck to be extremely capable.

  • "The Equator's rough ride could be helped by filling the bed with cargo, but there's nothing that can be done about its 43.6-foot turning circle-that just about guarantees three-point turns where U-turns would suffice in other trucks." -- Motor Trend
  • "Despite the lofty ride height and rear leaf springs, the Equator handles with lively precision for a body-on-frame pickup. That seems to be a Nissan truck hallmark, as even the full-size Titan steers with a nimbleness that belies its sun-blotting mass." -- New York Times
  • "Even without stability control, which compensates for the unusual weight distribution in a pickup-especially when the bed is loaded-ride is pleasant on clear roads and handling is decent." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "Zipping around corners the Equator feels a little skittish and makes you think you're riding higher off the ground than you are. Standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake-force distribution provided ample stopping power." -- Chicago Sun-Times
  • "We piloted the Equator through the same off-road course we took the Grand Vitara through, and it wasn't the least bit challenged-not surprising, given the RMZ-4 package, and the fact that the Frontier it's based off is arguably the most capable pound-for-pound midsize pickup truck on the market these days." -- Four Wheeler
  • "And the fun wasn't limited to the asphalt. I took the Equator down dirt roads and up rounded hills. Its fully boxed frame remained firm on uneven paths with ease, which is impressive considering this is the two-wheel-drive version of the truck." -- Truck Trend
  • "The Equator impressed with flawless handling of a rutted dirt mountain road. It honestly felt like I was driving a large, enclosed-cabined ATV." -- The Sunbury PA Daily Item
  • "The brake pedal feels mushy, with topping power more proportional to the distance the pedal is pushed than the pressure. Braking distances were acceptable and there was no particular fade tendency." -- Automobile Magazine

Towing and Hauling

Two-wheel drive Equators have a 6,300 pound tow rating, while four-wheel drive Equators can pull up to 6,100 pounds. Reviewers say that for light towing, the Equator is up to the task. All Equators has a payload capacity of around 1,400 pounds.

  • "Suzuki says the Equator can tow loads up to 6,500 pounds when properly equipped. The maximum tow rating will vary by model, but we learned that something closer to 5,000 pounds would be the cutoff for a standard Class 3 receiver hitch." -- PickupTrucks.com

Next Steps: 2009 Suzuki Equator

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