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Higher Tech Grand Vitara Better in All CONDITIONS


Higher Tech Grand Vitara
Better in All CONDITIONS

A newly developed four-mode four-wheel-drive system is a key element in the bigger, stronger, more durable new Suzuki Grand Vitara.

Fitted as standard to all but the entry-level 1.6 litre three-door version, the 4WD is a major step forward in driver convenience and simplicity of operation.

While the first two generations of Vitaras were "on-demand" four-wheel-drives, the latest model is permanently operating in 4WD.

A limited slip center differential absorbs differences between the front and rear wheel speeds.

Keeping the centre differential free provides the benefits of all-wheel-drive traction, while reducing fuel consumption. It also diminishes the characteristic "wind up" effect and under-steering traits of four-wheel-drive systems with conventional rigid centre transfers.

A simplified four high mode only full-time 4WD is standard on the 1.6 litre, three-door version. This is light and compact and is permanently fixed in 4H at the transfer box.

The four-mode arrangement on the 2.0 litre 4-cylinder and 2.7 litre V6 Grand Vitaras has a centre differential and a wide range of options to suit both on and off-road applications.

High ratio for normal on-road operation and high and low "lock" ratios for more difficult terrain are easily selected by a convenient dash-mounted rotary switch.

The 4H lock mode can be selected at speeds up to 100 km/h, but the Suzuki must be stationary with the brakes applied to select 4L lock. A further built-in safety feature requires the dial to be depressed when selecting 4L lock.

During most normal motoring, the standard setting 4H with free centre differential is the preferred setting, providing neutral handling and quiet operation.

The front to rear torque split is 47:53 respectively while traction in slippery conditions is first class. A torque-sensing differential provides immediate throttle response.

In high-range lock, a clutch locks the centre differential to eliminate any speed differences between the front and rear wheels. More traction and power through deep snow or mud offsets the braking effect that may occur when cornering with locked differentials.

When the going becomes particularly tough, four low locks the centre differential and transmits power via high-low transfer.

The transfer gear ratio is about twice that of the 4H lock mode at 1.970 that allows the Grand Vitara to escape from extremely difficult situations.

By selecting the neutral mode, the centre differential is free so there is less potential for wear and tear when towing.

For the first time Suzuki has opted for unitary, rather than body on frame, construction but this does not imply a watering-down of the Grand Vitara's off-road ability.

On the contrary, while there is no longer a separate ladder chassis, the new monocoque construction incorporates a "built-in ladder frame".

This is a series of strengthening elements incorporated into the body that provide additional rigidity to match traditional off-roaders while also ensuring excellent off road attributes.

Resistance to twisting and bending allows the new four-wheel independent suspension to realise its full potential, resulting in improved ride quality both on and off road.

While 17 per cent of the body in the previous Grand Vitara was made from lightweight, high tensile steel, the new JB series is more than double this at 39 per cent.

The front suspension comprises double acting MacPherson struts. High tensile steel is used for the suspension frame that is both light, yet highly rigid.

The suspension frame in turn supports the front engine mountings, steering assembly, front differential and mountings and front control arms. Noise and vibration transmitted to the body are reduced because of the isolated front suspension mounting.

A new multi-link rear suspension consists of upper and lower control arms, control and trailing rods all mounted on a light high tensile frame.

To reduce road noise and final drive NVH to the cabin, the floating type suspension frame is fitted to the body via isolating bushes.

All versions of the new model have hydraulic power assisted rack and pinion steering, and the respective turning circles of the three-door and five-door models are 10.2 metres and 11 metres.

A new brake booster incorporates a pedal speed sensing brake assist mechanism. Force applied to the brake pedal is increased by a constant value depending on pedal pressure and pedal depression speed, effectively shortening the time to reach maximum braking effort.

New for Suzuki 4WD models is the diagonal split brake-piping circuits, resulting in a four-channel, four-sensor ABS system with electronic brake force distribution (EBD). Ventilated front disc brakes are complimented by 254mm rear leading and trailing drum brakes.

Although curb weights of the new Grand Vitaras have increased as a consequence of higher specifications and larger body dimensions, the power and torque output of each of the three engines have been lifted accordingly.

Curb weight of the manual 2.0-litre version, for example, has increased from 1355kg to 1575 kg.

At the same time, towing capacity maximums have sharply increased. The five-door recommended maximum of 1850 kg is an increase of 32 per cent over the previous Grand Vitara's 1400 kg.

The double overhead camshaft M16A motor fitted in the new 1.6 litre model replaces the single overhead cam G16B power unit in the previous entry-level Grand Vitara.

The new engine produces 78 kW at 5,900 rpm – a 13 per cent power increase on the G16B, while torque increases from 138 Nm at 4,000 rpm to 145 Nm at 4,100 revs.

The newer all aluminium, 16-valve four-cylinder unit has a variable valve timing system operated by a computer controlled oil intake valve mounted on the front timing cover. This advances or retards the intake camshaft timing by a maximum angle of 30 degrees.

The 1.6-litre averages 9.0 litres/100 km in the combined fuel cycle test and 7.8 litres/100 km in the extra urban highway mode.

Several improvements have been made to the J20A DOHC 16-valve engine in the 2.0-litre Grand Vitara, boosting power by 10 per cent to 103 kW at 6,000 rpm. Torque rises to 183 Nm at 4,000 rpm, compared to 174 Nm at 4,300 rpm on the out-going model.

The resin intake manifold on the latest motor contains an air tuning system to enhance both output and torque. This varies the effective length of the intake manifold, thus improving engine torque at all engine speeds.

A new double stainless steel tube exhaust manifold is used and the radiator fan is electrically driven to reduce mechanical load on the engine.

These improvements have made the 2.0-litre engine more economical. In the combined fuel cycle the new model averages 9.2 litres/100 km (10.1 litres for the automatic) compared to 9.3 litres (9.8 litres) for the previous Grand Vitara.

A 2.7-litre version of Suzuki's alloy V6 engine replaces the 2.5-litre H25A V6 used previously. The H27A produces 16 per cent more power and 17 per cent more torque, with the 135 kW of power at 6,000 rpm providing smooth, effortless performance.

Peak torque of 250 Nm is realised at 4,500 rpm, and the long-legged DOHC V6 provides the premium Grand Vitara models with ample power for all conditions.

In the combined fuel cycle test, the V6 averages 11.6 litres/100 km and in the extra urban cycle 9.3 litres/100 km.

All three engines have fly-by-wire throttle body assemblies, comprising an accelerator pedal and electrically driven throttle body.

An accelerator pedal position sensor is built into the accelerator pedal assembly and transmits its position to the ECM.

This decodes the signal from the accelerator assembly and controls the throttle valve electric motor. Because there is no accelerator cable, the ECM drives the throttle precisely according to accelerator pedal position.

The engines have advanced emission control technologies such as injectors that enhance fuel atomisation and exhaust gas recirculation.

They meet Australia's ADR79/01 emission standard. Both the 1.6 and 2.0 litre engines comply with Europe's Euro 4 regulations and the 2.7 V6 meets North American LEV-II/BIN5 standards.

A new 5-speed manual gearbox is available on the 1.6 and 2.0 litre versions, but V6 Grand Vitaras manual transmission models can be indented to customer requests. The new transmission has improved housings and brackets to reduce noise and vibration while the shift quality is also enhanced.

A new gate design has been developed for the four-stage automatic in the 2.0 litre petrol, while the 2.7 V6 gains a new five-speed automatic transmission.


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