Avg. Price Paid:$7,345 - $10,922
Original MSRP: $21,599 - $29,149
MPG: 16 City / 22 Hwy
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2008 Suzuki XL7 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Suzuki XL7 was new.

Most test drivers have been pleasantly surprised by the XL7's performance, and describe it as a peppy and well-mannered (if noisy) machine. But the Boston Globe warns, "On the road, the XL7 quickly makes it clear that it is not to be driven as a sports car."

With a noted improvement from the previous year and a standard V6 engine, the XL7 still lags in handling and delivery when compared to cars in its class. Car and Driver is saying the Suzuki XL7 is "true to its soft-roader aspirations," as it "rides comfortably but carries an expected amount of body roll and numb steering." In contrast, the Orlando Sentinel auto reviewers were pleasantly surprised at how well the XL7 rides, claiming it to be "one of the most comfortable SUVs of any size and price," with "good" handling.

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Suzuki XL7 has an improved engine from previous generations, with added response and delivery. The XL7 has just one engine level, available on all models, a 3.6 liter 24-valve DOHC V6 engine, delivering 252 horsepower with 243 pound-feet of torque. The Detroit News claims that the engine is "terrific." Yet, U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman considers it "loud and clunky." the reports,

The 2008 XL7 comes with a five-speed automatic transmission with manumatic shift. The Chicago Sun Times calls the XL7 engine "mated well" with the transmission, delivering "smooth shifts and on-demand acceleration." Motor Trend states that the XL7 engine is "refined" and "responsive", and the transmission is "smooth."

The 2008 Suzuki XL7 with all-wheel drive has a fuel economy estimate of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. With front-wheel drive, the XL7 rates at 16 mpg in the city and 22 on highways.

Handling and Braking

The XL7 received mixed reviews on performance and handling. Some auto reviewers credited the upgrade from previous years, while other reviews compare its lack of acceleration and crisp handling to other cars in its class. The 2008 XL7 comes with independent Macpherson struts in front and multi-link independent rear suspension. The Detroit News found the steering "sloppy" and "vague" at higher speeds, not responding to driver input, for an overall ride that "doesn't exactly inspire confidence." USA Today cites the Suzuki XL7 as "clumsy in tight spots because of unusually wide big-truck-size turning circle of nearly 42 feet in diameter."

In contrast, the Orlando Sentinel auto reviewers were pleasantly surprised at how well the XL7 rides, claiming it to be "one of the most comfortable SUVs of any size and price," with "good" handling. The Chicago Sun Times states that the XL7 "was very maneuverable," with an "exceptional" turning radius, making parallel parking a breeze.

The XL7 has independent MacPherson struts in front and multi-link independent rear suspension, and by and large, reviewers were pleased with it. BusinessWeek claims that the new independent suspension gives the SUV "a smooth, car-like ride." Moving away from the truck underpinnings, the suspension system contributes to "a refined feel similar to its competitors," states Edmunds. The Chicago Sun Times, on the other hand, notes a stiff chassis and a jarring driver over potholes.

Test drivers generally report disappointingly long braking distances. The 2008 Suzuki XL7 comes equipped with four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution. Motor Week states that the XL7 stops averaged 133 feet from 60 to 0 and says though "slightly long," the brakes were "straight and true." On the other hand, Edmunds wanrs more strongly that the "distance it takes to come to a stop isn't exactly short enough to convince us that a long-term relationship is warranted."

All Wheel Drive

The XL7 has an AWD option, for added security while driving in adverse weather conditions. It's an option that auto reviewers at New Car Test Drive recommend for "a better all-rounder" vehicle. USA Today isn't impressed, noting that the all-wheel drive cuts "back on the power a bit much before providing the forward momentum you actually wanted on wet, leaf-slick slopes."


Suzuki's XL7 has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, which has increased from previous years but is cited as inadequate for heavy towing. Velocity Journal calls it "reasonable," but claims that the XL7 "isn't intended for heavy-duty towing." Autoweb credits the unibody frame and the four-wheel independent suspension for increasing the XL7's towing capacity.

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

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