Maruti Suzuki, a brand that needs no introduction. It has got its roots deep into the industry and has been unmatched in terms of sales. Ask an Indian for a budget car, a Maruti is going to come up for sure. But when it comes to the SUV segment, Maruti Suzuki has no option in it. But why? Well, there’s a sad story of the failure of a global SUV. Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7. It was nothing like the puny Vitara Brezza we see today. A fully-grown SUV that came with a powerful engine and world-class features. Before the reasons for failure, let’s take a look at what the Vitara XL-7 offered.

When did the XL-7 come to India?

Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 2003
Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 2003

It was the year 2003. Indians started welcoming the global cars ranging from Hyundai Santro to Mitsubishi Lancer. Maruti Suzuki decided to give their customers a taste of what the global audience had at the table. Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 was launched and brought in through the CBU route.

Someone said a V6 engine!

All the cars currently in Maruti Suzuki line-up are equipped with in-line 4-cylinder engines. But XL-7 was a different one. It had a 2.7-litre V6 engine under the hood.

Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 | Engine Specifications

Engine H27A V6 Type
Capacity 2736cc
Power 183hp@6,000rpm
Torque 244.04Nm@4,000rpm
Transmission 5-speed MT / 4-speed AT
Drivetrain Type shift-on-the-fly 4WD

Before starting, let me tell you that the engine was naturally aspirated petrol engine. This means that the power and the torque output were just massive. And the SUV was 4WD and that too on a push of a button. Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 took the saying “I’m outta here” quite literally!

What all did the V6-engine powered SUV offered?

The Grand Vitara XL-7 oozed performance as well as luxury. A feature that even the current line-up of Maruti Suzuki misses on, Sunroof. Grand Vitara had it. It also offered Automatic Climate Control, Rear Aircon, power windows, power door locks, in-dash CD player with 7 speakers, 12-volt accessory socket, adjustable centre armrest with storage, rear window defogger, heated mirrors and much more. XL7 was one hell of a ride.

It was a Maruti Offering, Was it safe?

Grand Vitara XL7
Grand Vitara XL7

Well, first things first, it was a Suzuki car. The car offered a whole lot of safety features such as four-wheel ABS with EBD, dual airbags at the front, DRLs, child seat anchors, side-impact door beams and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS),  a feature that is still not common in cars. Being from Maruti Suzuki, it is really great to see that company thought of providing their best to the Indian customers.

Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 2006
Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 2006

Why did the SUV fail, even after having so much at the offer?

  • The major problem was with the brand name. People were not going to buy a Maruti Suzuki at such a cost. And we are talking about ₹19.7 lakhs of the price! Maruti has been known for making budget cars and people liked it that way only.
  • The prices could have been lowered if the route was not the CBU one. Most of the cars that have failed in India were brought through this route which added to the cost of the cars.
  • Fuel efficiency! ‘Kitna Deti Hai?’ a question coined by Maruti Suzuki itself. Well, the Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 failed to answer this question with pride as it was a fuel guzzler.
  • Non-availability of spare parts. Strange! Maruti Suzuki is known to have the best network when it comes to sales and spare parts. But this being a CBU unit had difficulty when it came to search parts.
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 was not able to justify the price tag. People chose other available options such as Ford Endeavour and Toyota Fortuner.

And the vehicle was silently removed from the lineup in 2007. Poor sales response led the company to discontinue the Grand Vitara from India. And this is how kids, Maruti Suzuki’s only offering in the SUV segment said: “Imma head out!” and since then, there is no offering in the fully-grown SUV segment. Although the smaller iteration carrying the name of Vitara has made its name in the compact SUV segment, it’s no way close to the XL7. Yes, I am talking about the Vitara Brezza. So, what do you think about the SUV? Should it be launched in India, and this time with an alternative route known as CKD? Let us know in the comments section below.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. It’s high time that Maruti Suzuki launch full 7 Seater SuV with 4×4 option. If they produce locally cost would be much competitive than other players in this segment. I can bet you that would be huze success.

    • Hi Partha,
      Yes indeed! If Maruti introduces a locally produced SUV under the NEXA offering, it can become a huge success. Maruti has been segment leader in the other segments and it would be great to see how well can the company do in the SUV segment.

  2. I want the grand vitara with AWD back to india very nearly… I want to buy a suzuki car with Four Wheel drive option and good seating capacity.
    I always bought suzuki cars. Now I am using maruti suzuki ciaz petrol zxi+ which is 5 year old. I want to buy a new car with good build quality, four wheel drive option , good space capability.. So I wish to buy car from maruti suzuki. But now there is no such model available. So introduce Grand Vitara with such features back to india

    • Hi Fazil,
      It is unlikely for Maruti Suzuki to bring the Grand Vitara back in the country. You can go for the 2020 Mahindra Thar as it has got good seating capacity, powerful engine and shift-on-fly 4WD. And if Maruti does plan to get the SUV back, we’ll make sure to let you know. So, stay tuned!

  3. Some of the informations are not right, especially about the features of the XL 7 (guess how do I know!). But nice article overall.
    One point, it is not a ‘push button’ 4WD but a lever (like gypsy has) that engage four wheel drive in an XL7

    • Hi Debu,

      All the information in the article has been sourced from a brochure of Suzuki Grand Vitara XL7 (India/International). It had a shift-on-fly 4WD that could be activated with a push-button. Stay tuned!

  4. Maruti must bring a model above Brezza and in competition to Jeep. people will definitely go for it and at the same time it will benchmark many other models of other manufacturers

    • Hi Suresh,

      Maruti Suzuki should surely bring in a full-sized SUV now in the Indian market, especially when it has the NEXA premium channel now. Stay pinned and one day you might hear from us the news about some vehicle from the carmaker in the segment!

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