By James Bergeron

Day 1:

2007 Suzuki XL7 JLX AWD Navi
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As some of you may know, I participate in some “driver’s skills competitions” some weekends. This weekend I headed out to the Motorsports Club of Ottawa’s slush ‘n slide event, which is held at the Ottodrome just outside Stittsville. And as luck would have it, I drove a Suzuki, although not an XL7, but a Swift from 1998.

Now this may seem completely unrelated but stay with me; while driving that Swift this weekend (pictures can be found here) and trying to save myself the embarrassment of being beached on a snowbank, I whacked my elbow on the door panel, a door panel made of the hardest plastic known to man.

2007 Suzuki XL7 JLX AWD Navi
Click Image to Enlarge

Now I don’t fault the little Swift for its hard plastics. It was the most basic of basics back in 1998 for transportation and its cost was minimal. But I do fault the new Suzuki XL7, a vehicle that sells for close to $40,000, for having the same hard plastics and aggravating my injury.

Hard plastics aside, the Suzuki XL7 has a somewhat appealing interior which, for some reason, really reminds me of a Cadillac. It could be the GM switchgear, XM radio or the navigation system, or I suppose it could be the wood trim with beige leather interior.

The engine reminds me of Cadillac as well: a 3.6 litre V6 mated to a 5 speed automatic transmission, the same engine which just happens to be used in vehicles such as the Cadillac CTS. So is this a Suzuki or is this a GM re-badge exercise? The XL7 actually rolls off the same assembly line as the Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent.

Not that a re-badged GM would intrinsically be a bad thing. Platform sharing is a great cost savings exercise and, typically, the consumer benefits. I’ll try to judge the XL7 on its own merit this week by putting it through the same test drive I do with the rest of my test vehicles.

2007 Suzuki XL7 JLX AWD with Navi
MSRP as tested: $37,995

For more information on Suzuki and the XL7 visit Suzuki Canada

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