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Long-Term WrapUp - 2009 Suzuki Equator Crew Cab RMZ-4

Posted in Project Vehicles on June 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Cody Huber

In our Feb. '09 issue we crowned the Suzuki Equator as the 4x4 of the Year, and we have never regretted it. True to its character, the tenacious little truck proved its mettle in a yearlong, 24,000-mile, long-term test. It's the perfect truck for many uses: It is a comfortable, economical, and right-sized commuter. It's also the handyman truck for hauling engines, axles, plywood, and stuff you never thought of, such as trees and furniture. The four doors make it great for stashing gear out of sight and for those pesky people who know you have a functional rear seat. For couples camping, it can't be beat: It has plenty of room in the bed for a dog, a keg, and a bag while the important one stays up front.

The bed of our Suzy seems to always be full, such as when we hauled tires and a pressure washer for a mud tire test. The V-6 engine was sufficient to haul the load as we flat-towed Pete's Jeep behind us throughout California. Comfortable yet basic, the Equator cab is nearly perfect. Visibility and ergonomics make for an enjoyable commute or cross-country experience, and the truck can still dig it in the dirt.

As for 4x4 of the Year? Yes, it can wheel all day long with a supple suspension, fairly good body clearance, and an engine with plenty of power, although we'd love a bit more low-end torque. The rear locker makes the difference in tough terrain, and the long wheelbase only detracts in the worst scenarios.

While a lift, tires, bumpers, and armor weren't in the cards for our long-term tester, we made a second Equator more of a backcountry beater, and it has also performed flawlessly. Averaging 18 mpg overall, the handy truck did everything it was asked to do and never faltered. Even the seats are comfortable for more than an hour at a time, which is important when you consider we commute longer than that!

The Equator is no doubt a basic truck, with manually adjusting seats and rearview mirror dimmer. The beauty is that these features allow for reliability, comfort, and convenience, rather than 47 electronically adjusted positions, of which none is truly right. Suzuki did its homework. While the truck is based on the Nissan Frontier, the special Suzuki touches make for a near-perfect truck that we've enjoyed from beginning to end. We'll miss this one in our fleet and look forward to the next Equator iteration.

SPECIFICATIONS
GENERAL
Manufacturer Suzuki
Model Equator Crew Cab RMZ-4
Base Price $28,550
Price as Tested $31,494
Options as Tested Floor mats
($119), Sport Package ($2,050; includes VDC, HDC, HSA, sunroof, Rockford-Fosgate premium audio w/ Bluetooth, XM, steering wheel controls), destination ($775)

ENGINE
Type V-6
Displacement (L/ci) 4.0/244
Bore & Stroke (in) 3.76x3.62
Compression Ratio 9.7:1
Fuel Req. (octane)/ Capacity (gal) 87/21.1
SAE Peak Horsepower 261 @ 5,600 rpm
SAE Peak Torque (lb-ft) 281 @ 4,000 rpm

TRANSMISSION
Type 5-speed automatic
Model N/A
Ratios First: 3.84:1; Second: 2.35:1;
Third: 1.53:1; Fourth: 1.00:1;
Fifth: 0.84:1; Reverse: 2.76:1

TRANSFER CASE
Type 2-speed, part-time
Model (Fuji Univance)
Low-Range Ratio 2.63:1
Center Locking Differential Yes
AXLES
Front Type Dana
Front Diff Open
Rear Type Dana 44
Rear Diff Selectable electronic
locker
Hubs Automatic
Ratio 3.36:1
Traction Aid Active Brake limited
slip, Electronic Stabilty Control (ESC), Hill Descent Control (HDC)
SUSPENSION
Front Independent double-
wishbone w/ stabilizer bar and Bilstein high-performance shocks
Rear Multileaf springs w/
Bilstein high-performance shocks
STEERING
Type Power-assisted
rack-and-pinion
Lock-to-Lock/Ratio 3.5/20:1
Turning Circle (ft) 43.33
WHEELS
Size (in) 16x7
Material Aluminum alloy
TIRES
Size P265/75R16
Brand BFGoodrich Rugged Trail T/A
BRAKES
Front Dual-piston,
11.7-in vented disc
Rear Single-piston,
11.3-in vented disc
60-0 (ft) 138.88
ACCELERATION
Standing 1/4-mile
(sec @ mph) 17.53 @ 81.15
WEIGHT (lb)
Curb Weight 4,491
Advertised GVWR 5,600
MILEAGE (mpg)
EPA Estimate (city/hwy) 14/19
As Tested 13.71
DIMENSIONS (in)
Wheelbase 126
Overall Length 206.75
Overall Width 83.5
Overall Height 69.5
Front/Rear Track 62/62
Front/Rear Overhang 31.5/46.75
Min. Front Ground Clearance 9.25

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