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Suzuki Escudo
2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited 3 -- 05-12-2010.jpg
Manufacturer Suzuki
Production 1988–present
Assembly Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan
Bekasi, Indonesia (Suzuki Indonesia)
Razavi Khorasan, Iran (IKCO)
Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada (CAMI)
Linares, Spain (Santana Motor)
Quito, Ecuador (Omnibus BB)
Alvear, Santa Fe, Argentina
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive

The Suzuki Escudo is a compact sport utility and off-road vehicle produced by Suzuki since 1988. It is also known as Sidekick in USA from 1988 to 1998, Vitara in USA since 1999, Western Europe, Bolivia, Ecuador, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and Grand Vitara in the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, parts of South Asia, the Caribbean, South Africa, Iran, Canada, and Australia. 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 mid-size version is also made, known as the Suzuki Grand Escudo (known as Grand Vitara XL-7 in other markets). The name is derived from the "escudo", the monetary unit of Portugal until the Euro was adopted.

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.

First generation (1988–1998)[edit]

First generation
1992-1994 Suzuki Vitara (SE416C Type2) JX softtop 01.jpg
Also called Asüna Sunrunner
Chevrolet Tracker
Chevrolet Vitara
Geo Tracker
GMC Tracker
Mazda Proceed Levante
Pontiac Sunrunner
Santana 300/ 350
Suzuki Vitara
Suzuki Sidekick
Production 1988–1998
Body and chassis
Body style 5-door wagon
3-door hatchback
3-door convertible
Related Suzuki X-90
Suzuki LJ80
Suzuki Jimny
Suzuki Vitara
Engine 1.0 L I4 (petrol)[citation needed]
1.3 L I4 (petrol)[citation needed]
1.6 L G16A I4 (petrol)
1.6 L G16B I4 (petrol)
1.8 L I4 (petrol)[citation needed]
2.0 L H20A V6 (petrol)
1.9 L XUD I4 (diesel)
2.0 L RF I4 (diesel)
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2-door: 86.6 in (2,200 mm)
4-door: 97.6 in (2,479 mm)
Length 2-door: 143.7 in (3,650 mm) (1996–98)
142.5 in (3,620 mm) (1989–1995)
4-door: 158.7 in (4,031 mm)
4-door Sport: 162.4 in (4,125 mm)
Width 2-door: 65.2 in (1,656 mm) (1996–98)
64.2 in (1,631 mm) (1989–1995)
4-door: 64.4 in (1,636 mm)
4-door Sport: 66.7 in (1,694 mm)
Height 2-door: 64.3 in (1,633 mm) (2WD, 1992–93 & 1996–98)
65.6 in (1,666 mm) (1989–1991)
65.1 in (1,654 mm) (4WD, 1992–93 & 1996–98)
64.4 in (1,636 mm) (2WD 1994–95)
65.2 in (1,656 mm) (4WD 1994–95)
4-door: 65.7 in (1,669 mm) (2WD)
66.5 in (1,689 mm) (4WD)
66.3 in (1,684 mm) (Sport)
1989–1991 Suzuki Sidekick 2-door (US)
1992–1994 Suzuki Vitara JX softtop (Australia)
Suzuki Sidekick JX 4-door (US)
Suzuki Vitara Rebel 2-door (Australia)
Suzuki Sidekick Sport 4-door (US)
Suzuki Escudo Nomade 4-door (JDM)

First introduced as the Escudo in the Japanese domestic market in May 1988, the North American Sidekick became available for model year 1989 as a 2-door convertible or hardtop, in 1.0-litre JA and more powerful 4-wheel-drive JX & JLX trims. An 80 hp (60 kW) 1.6-litre, 8-valve, 4-cylinder Suzuki G16 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-litre, 16-valve Suzuki G16A 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-litre 16-valve 4-cylinder Suzuki J18 engine. The Sport also had dual airbags, 2-tone paint and 16-inch Alloy wheels.

1993 brought an update of the dash in conjunction with the exterior. 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 were 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.[1] 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 PSA, built in Spain by Santana Motors, all of them were 4WD vehicles equipped with manual transmissions. Since 2001, all diesel 1st Gen Vitaras are to be imported from Argentina, built by General Motors in Argentina, featuring 2.0-litre HDI engines from PSA, all of them with 5-speed mechanic transmissions. Automatic transmissions are only available on Japanese built models with gasoline engines.

In Indonesia, Indomobil as the Suzuki sole agent introduced Vitara in 1992. While the Vitara was still in the market, Suzuki added 4x2-version and labelled as the Escudo in 1994 to gain urban-driver market. In 1996, Suzuki introduced Sidekick, as a spec-down version of Escudo, as the entry level model. Indonesia is the only market in the world which receive three different names of Escudo in a time. Only 5 door models, 1.6 litre petrol engine were offered with no automatic transmission. In 1995, Vitara received fuel-injection system and marketed as Vitara EPI (Electronic Petrol Injection). However, due to much higher price, Vitara EPI sold poorly in the market and later considered become collector item since its rarity. For also 1995, the Vitara got new interiors. Official production for this generation ended in 2006 with the end of the Santana 300/350.

Second generation (1998–2005)[edit]

For the short-wheelbase Suzuki Vitara that was sold from 2000-03, see Chevrolet Tracker
Second generation
99-01 Suzuki Grand Vitara.jpg
Also called Chevrolet Tracker
Chevrolet Grand Vitara
Mazda Proceed Levante
Suzuki Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara
Production 1998–2005
Assembly Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan
Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style 5-door wagon
3-door wagon
3-door convertible
Related Suzuki XL-7
Suzuki Vitara
Engine 1.6 L G16B I4 (petrol)
2.0 L J20A I4 (petrol)
2.5 L H25A V6 (petrol)
2.0 L RF/RFM I4 (diesel)
2.0 L RHW/RHZ I4 (diesel)
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2-Door: 86.6 in (2,200 mm)
4-Door: 97.6 in (2,479 mm)
Length 2002-05 4-Door: 164.5 in (4,178 mm)
1999-2001 4-Door: 163.0 in (4,140 mm)
Width 2-Door: 67.3 in (1,709 mm)
2002-05 4-Door: 70.1 in (1,781 mm)
1999-2001: 70.0 in (1,778 mm)
Height 2002-05 4-Door AWD: 67.8 in (1,722 mm)
2002-05 4-Door 2WD: 67.3 in (1,709 mm)
2-Door: 66.5 in (1,689 mm)
1999-2001 4-Door AWD: 68.5 in (1,740 mm)
1999-2001 4-Door 2WD: 68.0 in (1,727 mm)

The first-generation Grand Vitara was a slightly larger, pricier and more powerful version of the Suzuki Vitara 4-door.

It was facelifted in 2002 and again in 2004. 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 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.

2002-2003 Suzuki Grand Vitara (US)
2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara (US)
2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2 Door (EUROPE)

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 Suzuki Escudo. The 2006 model has had a structural redesign with a new ladder-boxed chassis integrated into a unibody construction. In India, it is sold by Suzuki's Indian subsidiary, Maruti Suzuki.

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[edit]

Main article: Suzuki XL-7

In 1998 The Grand Escudo was a longer, slightly larger, pricier and more powerful version of the regular five-door. The Japanese market Grand Escudo was sold in North America and Chile as the Suzuki XL-7. In Australia and Europe it was marketed as Grand Vitara XL-7.

Third generation (2005–present)[edit]

Third generation
2nd Suzuki-Grand-Vitara.jpg
Also called Suzuki Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara
Suzuki Grand Vitara JP (Taiwan)
Suzuki Grand Nomade
Suzuki Grand Vitara SZ
Production 2005–present
Assembly Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan
Linares, Spain (Santana Motor)[2]
Razavi Khorasan, Iran (Iran Khodro)
Bekasi, Indonesia (Suzuki Indonesia)
Quito, Ecuador (Omnibus BB)
Body and chassis
Body style 5-door wagon
3-door wagon
Engine 1.6 L M16A I4 (petrol)
2.0 L J20A I4 (petrol)
2.4 L J24B l4 (petrol)
2.7 L H27A V6 (petrol)
1.9 L F9Q I4 (diesel)
3.2 L N32A V6 (petrol)
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 4-Door: 103.9 in (2,639 mm)
2-Door: 2,440 mm (96.1 in)
Length 2009– 4-Door: 177.2 in (4,501 mm)
2006–08 4-Door: 176.0 in (4,470 mm)
2-Door: 4,005 mm (157.7 in)
Width 4-Door: 71.3 in (1,811 mm)
2-Door: 1,810 mm (71.3 in)
Height 4-Door: 66.7 in (1,694 mm) & 66.3 in (1,684 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 (northern hemisphere) autumn 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 at least rear-wheel drive with a 103.9 in (2639 mm) wheelbase, while all other Theta vehicles are transverse engined, defaulting to front-wheel drive. While the other Theta vehicles can be ordered with a front-drive biased 'all-wheel drive', the Escudo instead offers off-road capable selectable four-wheel drive.[3] 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 Escudo is the 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.[4]

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 facelift and two new engines. A 2.4L inline 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.


November: American Suzuki Motor Corp. files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Owing to its focus on small cars, a strong yen and stringent US safety regulations which have hurt growth, Suzuki Motors announces it will discontinue building autos for the US market and focus instead on motorcycles, ATVs and marine equipment.


In the second quarter of 2012 for the 2013 model year, Suzuki unvelied a facelifted Escudo with new wheels, a new grille and front lights.


From 1995, Nobuhiro Tajima used a heavily modified V6 Escudo in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. This version of the car was popularised by its use in the Gran Turismo video game series.


  1. ^ Asia Spy Report, Popular Mechanics, July 1995, p. 29 
  2. ^ "Al volante del Suzuki Grand Vitara". El Periódico del Motor. 2009-05-26. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  3. ^ "2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara". Eric Peters Autos. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  4. ^ "®ط¨ط±ع¯ط²ط§ط±ظٹ ظپط§ط±ط³". FarsNewsAgency. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 

External links[edit]

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