Midsize SUV; Built in Canada
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $8,800 – $16,200*


2008 Suzuki XL7


2008 Suzuki XL7


2008 Suzuki XL7


2008 Suzuki XL7

Pros:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Cargo room
  • Seat comfort
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Noise

Suzuki’s 2007 redesign improved on the trucky, previous-generation XL7, but it still trails the competition for value and overall refinement. XL7 shines only for acceleration and transmission performance. For ride, handling, and quietness it falls far short of class leaders such as the Honda Pilot and Saturn Outlook.

Overview

Suzuki replaced its homegrown midsize sport-utility vehicle for 2007 with a design borrowed from General Motors. Again named XL7, the new flagship wagon adopted the car-type structure of the Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent, but differed in styling and engine. The 2001-2006 XL7 used a truck-type design and a 185-hp V6. This 2007 version was about 10 inches longer, had a 252-horsepower V6, and seated up to seven. Equinox and Torrent, in contrast, had a 185-hp V6 and seated five. XL7 came in base, Special, Luxury, and Limited trim, each with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (without low-range gearing). A five-speed automatic was the sole transmission.

Antilock braking and traction/antiskid control were standard. Front side airbags were not available, but curtain side airbags that covered all seating rows and included rollover deployment were standard. Seven-seat versions had a load-leveling suspension. A navigation system and DVD entertainment were available, but not together. Additional options included a rearview camera, remote starting, and chrome wheels. Luxury models had leather upholstery and heated front seats. Competitors included Honda Pilot, new Saturn Outlook, and Toyota Highlander.

Yearly Updates

2008 XL7
A new base model debuted for 2008, and the previously optional sunroof and navigation system were now standard on the XL7 Limited.
2009 XL7
The Base trim level and all five-passenger models were discontinued for 2009. XL7 now came in Premium, Luxury, and Limited trims. All had a 252-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a new 6-speed automatic transmission that replaced a 5-speed.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Each XL7 contains a 252-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission, with either front- or all-wheel drive. For 2010, a new 6-speed automatic transmission replaced the 5-speed.

dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/217
Engine HP 252
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 243
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic
6-speed automatic
15/22
16/23
16.6

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Ample power is available from any speed, and there’s little difference between 2WD and AWD models. The ultra-smooth automatic transmission kicks down promptly for swift passing, and always seems to be in the right gear. Its manual shift gate is helpful in mountain driving. Suzuki claimed that the XL7 accelerated to 60 mph in under 8.0 seconds, which sounds about right. Towing capacity is 3500 pounds.

Fuel economy is a sore spot. A test AWD model averaged just 16.6 mpg. Each XL7 uses regular-grade fuel.

Although the XL7 suspension smothers most small bumps reasonably well, it suffers from excessive floatiness and wallow over even modest road imperfections. Little difference is apparent between 16- and 17-inch tires, and with or without the load-leveling suspension.

Suzuki’s comfort-biased suspension leads to marked body lean that demands slowing down in corners. Steering has numb, artificial feel, plus a wide turning circle that restricts close-quarters maneuvering. Brakes offer good stopping control, but some testers would have liked a firmer pedal feel.

Unlike similar engines in other GM vehicles, the XL7’s V6 is coarse during acceleration, and never quiets completely. Wind and road noise are well above class norms.

A modern car-like dashboard has legible gauges and mostly handy controls. On the other hand, some may dislike the power-window switches, arrayed around the shift lever in the center console. The optional navigation system demands some study, and its screen may be a bit small; but it controls no climate or audio functions–a big bonus. Cabin materials and finish are just adequate. Slightly odd texturing on the lower dashboard and door panels gives the cabin a low-budget feel.

Supportive, high-set front seats provide adult-size headroom and leg space. The XL7’s tilt steering wheel aids driver comfort, though it doesn’t telescope. The rear roofline and small back window impede views astern and to the right rear. A high-riding stance doesn’t help, and also compromises entry/exit compared to lower-riding rivals.

Second-row headroom is six-footer adequate. Legroom shrinks significantly with front seats set far back, but the chair-height cushion and good underseat footroom compensate. Width isn’t quite sufficient for three grown-ups, though, and entry/exit is a bit steep. Third-row space is adequate for adults, at least for shorter trips.

Cargo volume is ample for the class in any configuration, but the liftgate lacks opening glass and could open higher. Only grocery-bag space is available behind the 50/50 third-row seat, but that seat folds flat without removing headrests. The 60/40 second-row seat tumbles forward with its headrests in place. Cabin storage consists of undersize door pockets, a smallish dashboard glovebox, and two roomy console bins.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 XL7 AWD Limited

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 9
90%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 56

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.4 197.2 72.2 68.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
95.2 18.6 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
41.3 40.0 41.2 38.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 XL7 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Airbags
Description: The airbag warning light may illuminate due to loose connections or broken wires in the wiring harness under the dash. (2007-09)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak onto the front floor during heavy rain due to insufficient sealant at the strut towers. (2007)
Wipers
Description: The windshield wipers may only work on one speed and/or the other functions on the turn signal stalk may quit due to voltage spike from the wiper motor damaging the body control module. (2007)
Information stickers/paperwork
Description: The procedure for resetting the oil life monitor is wrong in the owner’s manual. (2007)
None
Description: The CV joints may make clicking noises and sound like they are failing during cold weather, but replacement grease and boots usually fixes this. (2007-08)
Turn signal
Description: The trailer turn signals and brake lights will not work if the two relays for them are installed incorrectly. (2007-09)
Navigation system
Description: The navigation screen goes blank or locks up requiring updating the software. (2007-09)

Recall History

2007 XL7
Description: Incorrect primer may have been used when installing windshield, which may not be retained properly in a crash.
2007 XL7
Description: Vehicles in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas have a plastic supply or return port on the fuel pump module that may crack. This could cause a fuel leak, which in turn could cause a fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.