The Inside

Perhaps the biggest downer about the five-seat Grand Vitara is its outdated cabin, which looks like it's about 10 years behind the times. The biggest offender is the center control panel, which incorporates an audio system with a number of buttons poking through the panel. Maybe it was the tan color of that center panel, but the design just said "old" to my eyes. That impression is exacerbated when you compare it with a recently redesigned model, like the Equinox; the difference is like night and day.

The front bucket seats in my Limited test model had leather upholstery and seat heaters. You'd think for nearly $28,000 you'd also get power-adjustable seats — but you don't. The seats were comfortable for shorter trips, but I was a little sore at the end of a four-plus-hour drive on the highway.

The Grand Vitara's backseat is snug. The Equinox and RAV4 have relatively spacious second rows for adult passengers, allowing them to move about a little, but you feel wedged-in in the Grand Vitara's second row, with your knees pressed firmly against the back of the front seat. You can't improve the situation unless you ask the person in front to move their seat forward because the backseat doesn't slide (though it does recline) like the seats in some competitors, including the Equinox and RAV4. However, the seat cushion is relatively high off the floor, which helps with thigh support.

See also:

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