FRANKFURT –Motor Corp. shows the new, third-generation '06 Grand Vitara that for Europe comes in two body styles: a 5-door similar to the one offered in North America, as well as a short-wheelbase 3-door version.
Like its counterpart for North America, the front-engine, all-wheel-drive cross/utility vehicle is unibody construction with a built-in ladder frame. (See related story: Grand Vitara Reinvented as Aggressive CUV)
That should maintain its reputation in Europe as a leading off-road vehicle, where it is the only CUV in its segment to offer permanent AWD.
The auto maker expects to sell 200,000 units of the global vehicle annually. The '06 model goes on sale in Europe Oct. 15.
The 5-door has a tweaked 2.0L 4-cyl. gasoline engine. A 1.9L diesel will be added to the mix next year, the same engine found in theLaguna. Powering the 3-door is a 1.6L gasoline engine, with the diesel also to be available.
Germany will sell about 7,000 units in 2006, 70% 5-door and the rest 3-door, says Dominik Eiland, Suzuki International Europe GmbH product manager.
The CUV is built at Suzuki's plant in Iwata, Japan, near Hamamatsu.
The new Grand Vitara comes from a new, single-vehicle platform.
Reports out of Tokyo say Suzuki may introduce a hybrid version for the U.S., by 2010. The auto maker is developing its own hybrid system. (See related story: New Sedans, Utilities Coming for Suzuki)