Compact pickup truck; Built in USA
  • crew cab long bed
  • crew cab short bed
  • ext. cab short bed
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $11,000 – $22,500*


2009 Suzuki Equator Front


2009 Suzuki Equator Rear


2009 Suzuki Equator Interior


2009 Suzuki Equator Front-2

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Passenger and cargo room (Crew Cab)
Cons:
  • Interior materials
  • Maneuverability (RM-Z)
  • Rear-seat room (Extended Cab)

Like the Nissan Frontier on which it’s based, the Suzuki Equator is a credible compact-pickup contender with the option of a powerful V6 engine, middle-of-the-pack size, and new-vehicle options that appeal to off-road enthusiasts. Ride and handling are decent for the class, but interior disappoint with too much tacky plastic and subpar rear-seat room.

Overview

The 2009 Suzuki Equator was a brand-new compact pickup truck from this Japanese automaker, best known for SUVs and subcompact passenger cars. Available with rear-drive or four-wheel drive, the Equator was essentially a retrimmed Nissan Frontier, sharing that pickup’s drivetrains and general dimensions. Extended Cab and Crew Cab body styles were available, each with four doors. The Extended Cab’s rear-hinged back doors did not open independently of the fronts, but Crew Cab models had four full-size doors. Extended Cabs had flip-up rear seats and a 6.1-foot cargo bed. Crew Cab trucks had a rear bench seat and could have either a 5- or 6.1-foot cargo bed. Extended Cabs came in Base, Comfort, Premium, and Sport trim levels.

Extended Cabs held a 152-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission; the Sport edition could have a 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 with a five-speed automatic. Crew Cabs came only with the V6 in Base, Sport, and off-road-oriented RMZ-4 trim levels. Both body styles might have either rear-wheel drive or part-time 4WD that included a low-range gear for off-roading. Four-wheel drive, which should not be left engaged on dry pavement, was offered only on Sport and RMZ-4 editions. Standard safety features included antilock brakes and curtain side airbags. An antiskid system was included in a Sport package for the RMZ-4 model. A sunroof and wireless cell-phone link were among the available features on top models. Maximum towing capacity was 6500 pounds. With the Equator, Suzuki competed against the Dodge Dakota, Honda Ridgeline, and Toyota Tacoma, as well as Nissan’s Frontier.

Yearly Updates

2010 Equator
Little changed for the Equator’s second season on the market, except for newly standard stability control on V6 models. Suzuki now offered an integrated Garmin navigation system as an Equator option. All models except for the RMZ-4 and RMZ-4 Sport had rear-wheel drive. Available on the Sport and standard on RMZ-4 and RMZ-4 Sport was part-time four-wheel drive. Base, Comfort, and Premium models used a 152-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Others held a 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6. A five-speed manual gearbox was standard on rear-drive base extended-cab models; all others had a five-speed automatic transmission. A navigation system was available on the RMZ-4 and RMZ-4 Sport. The latter also included a sunroof, CD changer, and wireless cell-phone link. Hill-ascent/descent control was standard on 4WD trucks.
2011 Equator
The 2011 Suzuki Equator saw no major changes.
2012 Equator
Only minor trim changes marked the 2012 Suzuki Equator.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Equator buyers have had a choice of four-cylinder or V6 power. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 152 horsepower, driving either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Only the five-speed automatic has been offered with the 4.0-liter V6 engine. Depending on model, Equators may have either rear-drive or four-wheel drive.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 152
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 171
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

19/23

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 152
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 171
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic 17/22
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/241
Engine HP 261
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 281
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic 15/20 16.2

Road Test

Acceleration is appealing with V6 power. In 2WD Extended Cab V6 form, the Equator is strong from a stop and around town. The automatic transmission kicks down quickly for good midrange passing punch.

Fuel economy hardly qualifies as thrifty. An RMZ-4 Sport averaged 15.2 mpg, while another-serving as an extended-use vehicle-averaged 16.2 mpg. Equators use regular-grade gasoline.

Ride quality is firm but absorbent. Sharp ridges register, but don’t jar. Typical truck-like bounding and jiggle over bumps-with an empty cargo bed-is quickly quelled.

Handling is nicely balanced for a pickup truck. The steering feels weighty and direct, but is slow to react in tight turns and parking spots. Body lean is evident in corners but well-controlled, and a regular Equator never feels tippy. The RMZ-4’s tall build makes it a bit more tippy, though it never feels uncontrolled. The RMZ-4 also suffers from a very large turning radius, which impairs close-quarters maneuvering.

The V6 engine growls at full throttle, but isn’t unduly loud. Wind rush is evident over 60 mph and rises sharply with speed. Equator tires drone on coarse pavement.

All controls are within easy reach on a simple, handy layout, but they do not operate with precision. Audio and climate controls hold no mysteries. Hard plastic abounds on the dashboard, console, and door panels, and looks low-budget. Other cabin materials are predictably workman-like.

Front-seat occupants can expect good six-footer headroom and legroom. Seats are comfortable, but could use more side bolstering to hold front passengers in place through turns. Wide-base windshield pillars can hinder visibility to the front corners. Views are fine to the rear corners and directly aft. The Extended Cab’s rear seats would be more appropriate in a small passenger car; only preteens will fit comfortably. Crew Cab models have about as much rear-passenger space as a compact car.

Equators have useful space behind the front seats and some thoughtful small-items storage up front, though the console’s shallow tray could use a rubber mat to keep objects from sliding around.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2010 Suzuki Equator Sport Ext. Cab

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 - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 45

Specifications

crew cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
139.9 220.1 72.8 70.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1423 21.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.0 38.7 42.4 33.6
crew cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
125.9 206.6 72.8 70.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1471 21.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.0 38.7 42.4 33.6
ext. cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
125.9 206.6 72.8 68.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1461 21.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.7 38.3 42.4 25.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Equator crew cab short bed

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

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

Sunroof/moonroof
Description: The sunroof will quit working if the battery has gone dead or has been disconnected, requiring re-initialization. (2009)
Vehicle noise
Description: The driveshaft universal joints may make squeaking or popping noises and eventually cause vibration, requiring replacement. (2009)
Vehicle noise
Description: The rear driveshaft center support bearing gets noisy. (2009)
Paint/body
Description: The sprayed in bedliner discolors. (2009-10)

Recall History

2009-2010 Equator vehicles with Garmin navigation system
Description: The batteries contained in the affected GPS units can overheat. Overheated batteries could result in a fire. Suzuki will notify owners and the repairs will be performed by Garmin technicians by replacing the battery and inserting a spacer on top of the battery free of charge.
2010
Description: On certain trucks made from Feb. 22, 2010 to March 13, 2010, fasteners securing passenger front airbag module, and also fasteners securing steering-shaft positioning bracket, may not have been tightened to proper torque; could affect front airbag deployment trajectory and/or separation of fasteners from steering-column bracket.
2010
Description: The lower control link bushing collars, located in the front suspension, may contain welds that do not meet strength specifications. If a collar weld separates, it may change the wheel alignment, potentially allowing the vehicle handling characteristics to deteriorate. This could cause the driver to have difficulty controlling the vehicle, which could result in a crash. Dealers will inspect, and if necessary replace, one or both lower control links on the vehicle free of charge.
2011-2012 Equator
Description: Some bolts connecting the engine oil cooler and oil filter may be weaker than specification strength. The bolts may break and cause an engine oil leak, leading to engine oil pressure drop and engine seizure.
2012 Equator 2WD
Description: Vehicles may have front-wheel hubs weaker than design specifications, which may wear prematurely and crack.

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.