in 2009 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $9,953 - $12,217
Original MSRP: $25,595 - $29,980
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2009 Suzuki XL7 Performance

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

Despite a noted improvement from previous years and a standard V6 engine, the XL7 still lags in handling and power delivery when compared with top vehicles in its class.

  • "With no truck in its ancestry, the XL7 feels very much like a large modern front-wheel drive car, in particular today's equivalent to the station wagon of the past. Its fully-independent MacPherson strut front, multilink rear suspension is tuned moderately firmly, and, with the relatively long wheelbase, gives a smooth, comfortable ride." -- The Auto Channel
  • "True to its soft-roader aspirations, the XL7 rides comfortably but carries an expected amount of body roll and numb steering." -- Car and Driver
  • "The XL7 is lacking when it comes to performance. Despite a new six-speed automatic transmission and a 252-horsepower V-6 engine, the gas pedal seemed to have two settings, slow and haul-booty, with no comfortable middle ground. The noise coming from under the hood was more clattery and hollow than full-bodied and powerful-sounding. Gas mileage was average at best, getting 16/23 mpg city/highway." -- Mother Proof

Acceleration and Power

The XL7 comes with a 252-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. For 2009, a six-speed automatic transmission replaces the five-speed automatic. According to the EPA, the two-wheel drive model nets 17/24 mpg city/highway, while the all-wheel drive model nets 16/23 mpg.

  • "XL7 has ample power from any speed, with little difference between 2WD and AWD versions. The ultra-smooth 5-speed automatic transmission kicks down promptly for swift passing, and it always seems to be in the right gear. Its manual shift gate is helpful in mountain driving." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The XL7's V-6 delivers 252 horsepower, more than its GM siblings, and for the most part the ponies are mated well with the five-speed automatic transmission delivering a majority of smooth shifts and on-demand acceleration." -- Chicago Sun Times

Handling and Braking

The XL7 received mixed reviews on handling and ride quality. Among test drivers' complaints were significant body roll and numb steering.

  • "XL7's comfort-biased suspension means marked body lean that demands slow speeds when entering corners. The steering has a numb, artificial feel. A wide turning circle complicates close-quarters maneuvering. The brakes have good stopping control, but some testers would like a firmer pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide
  • "On our track, the XL-7 felt solid and far more nimble than its predecessor. Understeer was surprisingly mild, but there was a fair amount of body sway. But despite that tendency to rock and roll, we found the XL-7's overall behavior to be confident and easy to handle. Stops averaged a slightly long 133 feet from 60 to 0 but were straight and true." -- Motor Week

Next Steps: 2009 Suzuki XL7

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