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Suzuki Escudo
MY2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited (US)
Manufacturer Suzuki
CAMI Automotive
Santana Motor
Production 1988–present
Assembly Hamamatsu, Japan
Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada
Linares, Jaén, Andalusia, Spain
Kosai, Japan
Alvear, Argentina
Bagong Ilog, Pasig City, Philippines

The Suzuki Escudo (known as Sidekick in North America, Vitara in most of Western Europe, Bolivia, Ecuador, the Philippines, as well as North America after 1999 and the Grand Vitara in the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, parts of South Asia and Australia) is an off-road vehicle that has been in production since 1988. The North American version was produced as a joint venture between Suzuki and General Motors known as CAMI. The vehicle was a follow-up to the popular SJ413 and Samurai. Also, this vehicle, while sold in North America, was designed to slot above the Samurai. A larger version is also made, known as the Suzuki Grand Escudo (known as Grand Vitara XL-7 in other markets).

The Sidekick was sold in various badges such as the Geo Tracker (Chevrolet Tracker after 1998) in the United States, and as the GMC Tracker, Chevrolet Tracker, Asüna Sunrunner and Pontiac Sunrunner in Canada. It was also sold as the Santana 300 and 350 in Spain. In the Japanese home market, it was variously sold also with Mazda badge. The 1st Generation Escudo was sold in Mexico as the Geo Tracker (Just Soft Top) 1994–1995 (Produced in Canada). The 1st Generation rebadged as Chevrolet Tracker (Soft Top and 4 Doors, 2WD, 4WD, AUTOMATIC AND MANUAL) 1998–1999 (Produced in Canada) The 2nd Generation was sold in Mexico (Soft Top, 4 Doors, 2wd, 4wd, AUTOMATIC and MANUAL, L4 AND V6) 2000–2004 (Produced in Canada). When the Chevrolet Tracker was discontinued in North America (Equinox replaced) GM Mexico and Brazil import from Argentina the Suzuki Grand Vitara rebadged as Chevrolet Tracker (Produced by GM Argentina) in Mexico just 2wd and Automatic, but in Brazil 2wd and 4wd options, and in South American countries (Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela) was sold Suzuki Grand Vitara rebadged as Chevrolet Vitara (1st Generation) and Chevrolet Grand Vitara (2do Generation) produced by GM Ecuador.while in Argentina (Produced in Argentina), Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay is sold as the Suzuki Grand Vitara (Produced in Japan). In Chile was sold as Suzuki Nomade.

First generation (1989–1998)

First generation
1992–1994 Suzuki Vitara (SE416C Type2) JX softtop (Australia)
Also called Asüna Sunrunner
Chevrolet Tracker
Chevrolet Vitara
Geo Tracker
GMC Tracker
Mazda Proceed Levante
Pontiac Sunrunner
Santana 300/350
Suzuki Vitara
Suzuki Escudo
Suzuki Sidekick
Production 1988–1998
Body style(s) 2-door SUV
2-door convertible
4-door SUV(1991-1998)
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Engine(s) 1.3L 64 hp (48 kW) I4
1.6L 80 hp (60 kW) I4
1.6L 95 hp (71 kW) I4
1.8L 120 hp (89 kW) I4
2.0L 130 hp (97 kW) I4
Transmission(s) 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2-door: 86.6 in (2200 mm)
4-door: 97.6 in (2479 mm)
Length 2-door: 143.7 in (3650 mm) (1996–98)
142.5 in (3620 mm) (1989–1995)
4-door: 158.7 in (4031 mm)
4-door Sport: 162.4 in (4125 mm)
Width 2-door: 65.2 in (1656 mm) (1996–98)
64.2 in (1631 mm) (1989–1995)
4-door: 64.4 in (1636 mm)
4-door Sport: 66.7 in (1694 mm)
Height 2-door: 64.3 in (1633 mm) (2WD, 1992–93 & 1996–98)
65.6 in (1666 mm) (1989–1991)
65.1 in (1654 mm) (4WD, 1992–93 & 1996–98)
64.4 in (1636 mm) (2WD 1994–95)
65.2 in (1656 mm) (4WD 1994–95)
4-door: 65.7 in (1669 mm) (2WD)
66.5 in (1689 mm) (4WD)
66.3 in (1684 mm) (Sport)
Related Suzuki X-90
Suzuki LJ80
Suzuki Jimny
Suzuki Vitara

First introduced as the Escudo in the Japanese domestic market in May 1988, the North American Sidekick became available for 1989 as a 2-door convertible or hardtop, in 1.3 liter JA and more powerful 4-wheel-drive JX & JLX trims. An 80 hp (60 kW) 1.6 liter, 8-valve, 4-cylinder engine was available on the JX & JLX. 1990 brought the deletion of the upscale JLX version. In 1991, a 4-door Sidekick with a lengthened wheelbase was introduced and the following year a 95 hp (71 kW), 1.6 liter, 16-valve engine was introduced. 1991 also brought the introduction of rear antilock brakes. The original Sidekick was updated in 1996 with a new Sport version available with 120 hp (89 kW), 1.8 liter 16-valve 4-cylinder engine. The Sport also had dual airbags, 2-tone paint and 16" Alloy wheels.

There is also a very limited edition factory special named the Vitara Rossini which came in metallic pink with a cream leather interior, only 250 of this model where produced worldwide,

In 1996, Suzuki introduced the Suzuki X-90 which was mechanically identical to the Sidekick but had a much rounder body, a trunk, and removable T-bar roof. The Suzuki X-90 disappeared from Suzuki's lineup after the 1998 model year. The Sport variant was replaced by the Grand Vitara in 1999.

In Spain, production went on at Suzuki's partner Santana with the Vitara nameplate. After a facelift in 2005 the name was changed to Santana 300/350.

In Australia, there were two models available. The Vitara JX and the Vitara JLX. The JLX featured mainly with powered windows. Both versions featured the 1.6 Litre engine. In May 1997, Suzuki introduced the 1995 cc 2.0 Litre 4 Valves/Cylinder Double Overhead Cam engine with both soft top and hardtop 3 door models. This engine was rated at 97 kW (130 hp) at 6300 rpm. At the same time the 5 door models received the 1998 cc 2.0 litre V6. Engine power rated for the 5 door V6 models was at 100 kW (134 hp) at 6500 rpm. The 1.6 litre variant for the 3 door models were named the Suzuki Vitara Rebel. All models in Australia were sold as four wheel drives.

The naming scheme, engines and trim options available in Chile, closely follow that of the Australian market. In 1998, there became available models featuring 1.9 litre turbodiesel engines from Renault, built in Spain by Santana Motors, all of them were 4WD vehicles, but there were no automatic transmissions available. Since 2001, all diesel 1st Gen Vitaras are to be imported from Argentina, built by General Motors in Argentina, featuring 1.9 litre HDI engines from PSA, all of them with 5-speed mechanic transmissions, while automatic transmissions are only available with Japanese built models with gasoline engines.

Second generation (1999–2003)

Second generation
Suzuki Escudo 3-door (Japan)
Also called Suzuki Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara
Chevrolet Grand Vitara
Chevrolet Tracker
Mazda Proceed Levante
Production 1999–2004
Assembly Hamamatsu, Japan
Body style(s) 3-door wagon
3-door convertible
5-door SUV
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Engine(s) 1.6L 16V I4 97 hp (72 kW)
2.0L J20A I4 127 hp (95 kW)
2.5L H25A V6 168 hp (125 kW)
2.0L RF/RHZ/RHW Turbodiesel I4
Transmission(s) 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Related Suzuki XL-7

The Escudo/Vitara was redesigned in 1999, and the Sidekick name was dropped in North America, using the Vitara name instead. It was a 4-seater which in Europe featured 1.3 L, 1.6 L and 1.8 L straight-4 gasoline engines available with carburator or electronic fuel injection. A 16-valve 1.8 liter gasoline engine and a 2.0 liter V6. Diesel engines were also available in Europe. The Vitara was available with 4- and 5-speed manual transmissions, as well as automatic transmission, and in hardtop 2- or 4-door models or soft-top 2-door models.

A rebadged version was sold in North America by General Motors as the Chevrolet Tracker. The Tracker is sold in Latin America, but Mexico, as the Chevrolet Grand Vitara. In Mexico, Grand Vitara and Tracker are different vehicles, sold by Suzuki and Chevrolet respectively. In Chile, 5-door Grand Vitara is known as Grand Nomade.

In North America, the regular Vitara (not Grand Vitara) was available with a 1.6 and 2.0 four cylinder, with the vast majority of 1.6 liter motors being found in the two door variants and the 2.0 in the four door versions. A 2.5 liter V6 was also available, and became standard in 2004. All were available with manual transmissions and four wheel drive, via a manual transfer case.

The Vitara and Grand Vitara were facelifted in 2002 and again in 2004. As of 2003, the smaller Suzuki Vitara has been withdrawn from the North American market. Sales were slow, with just 4,860 sold in 2004 for the United States. In Canada, sales were strong. All North American Vitaras were built at CAMI Automotive in Ingersoll, Ontario, while the North American Grand Vitaras were built in Japan, where it is the badged "Suzuki Escudo". The 2006 model has had a structural redesign with a new ladder-boxed chassis integrated into a unibody construction. The Vitara was the last compact SUV sold in the US to retain a body on frame construction until the 2006 model year, when Suzuki phased it out for the newer unibody Grand Vitara.

The 2001 model Suzuki Grand Vitara comes standard as a 2.0 Liter 4WD vehicle in New Zealand. The 2005 and onwards Grand Vitara is sold in Ecuador by Chevrolet, yet it still retains its Suzuki badges.

Grand Escudo

Main article: Suzuki XL-7

The Grand Escudo was a longer larger, pricier and more powerful version of the regular five-door. The Japanese market "Grand Escudo" was sold in North America, Chile and Australia as the Suzuki XL-7.

Third generation (2005–present)

Third generation
MY2006–2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara 5-door (US)
Also called Suzuki Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara
Suzuki Grand Nomade
Chevrolet Grand Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara SZ
Production 2005–present
Assembly Hamamatsu, Japan
St. Petersburg, Russia (since 2010)
Tehran, Iran (Since 2008 by Iran Khodro)
Bekasi, Indonesia
Quito, Ecuador (by GM Omnibus BB)
Body style(s) 3-door SUV
5-door SUV
Engine(s) 1.6L 16v I4
2.0L J20A 139 hp 16v I4
2.4L VVT J24B 16v 169 hp l4
2.7L V6 185 hp 24v
1.9L Turbodiesel I4
3.2L VVT V6 D-VVT 132 hp.
Transmission(s) 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 4-Door: 103.9 in (2639 mm)
2-Door: 2,440 mm (96.1 in)
Length 2009– 4-Door: 177.2 in (4501 mm)
2006–08 4-Door: 176.0 in (4470 mm)
2-Door: 4,005 mm (157.7 in)
Width 4-Door: 71.3 in (1811 mm)
2-Door: 1,810 mm (71.3 in)
Height 4-Door: 66.7 in (1694 mm)
2-Door: 1,695 mm (66.7 in)

Suzuki Grand Vitara 3-door (Germany)

Suzuki Grand Vitara 5-door (Australia)

The second generation was replaced in the fall of 2005 by a new vehicle using some components of the GM Theta platform, and is built in Japan. The 2006 Escudo was developed independently by many of the same Suzuki engineers who developed the Theta. Although it uses some Theta componentry, especially in the suspension, it is quite different and should not be considered a Theta vehicle. Notably, it uses a longitudinally-mounted engine and is rear-wheel drive with a 103.9 in (2639 mm) wheelbase, while all other Theta vehicles are transverse engined with front-wheel drive as the default. All can also be ordered with all-wheel drive as well, however. The contemporary generation Suzuki XL7 (starting in model year 2007) was a true Theta vehicle, and was built alongside the Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent at CAMI Automotive in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada.

The most widely available chassis is a 5 door version, but a 3 door version is also available in some markets. In some markets the 3 door variant drops the "Grand" to be branded simply "Vitara". In some countries, including Chile the 5-door version is named "Grand Nomade".

The vehicle is also mass produced in Iran by Iran Khodro Manufacturing Co.[1]

In Ecuador, this version of the SUV is known as Suzuki Grand Vitara SZ.


Until 2008 the standard gasoline engine for the 5 door was an updated J20A (4 cyl. 2.0L 140 PS); with an optional Suzuki H engine H27A (V6 2.7L 185 PS) in higher specified models. Pre 2001 turbo diesel models were fitted with Mazda's type RF engine, with later models fitted with a 1.9 L 4 cylinder turbo diesel featuring 129 PS (95 kW), manufactured by Renault). The only engine fitted to the 3-door model before 2008 was the M16A (4 cyl. 1.6L 106 PS (78 kW)).


MY2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited (US)

In the second half of 2008, the Suzuki Grand Vitara was given a face-lift and two new engines. A 2.4L in-line four is offered producing 122 kW (166 PS/164 hp) of power and 225 N·m (166 lb·ft) of torque. The new V6 is only offered in the flagship prestige model which produces 165 kW (224 PS/221 hp) of power and 284 N·m (209 lb·ft) of torque. Fuel economy has also been improved with the addition of VVT to both engines and the 1.9L Turbo-Diesel has also received some mechanic work improving its economy. Safety has also been improved with more air-bags and traction control standard on all models. The four mode four-wheel drive system is also available on all models. It features a lockable central differential along with low ratio gears.

See also


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