Suzuki isn’t the first manufacturer that will cross your mind when somebody asks you about pickups. There is no secret that the company didn’t had the necessary know-how to build its own 4x4 platform and in order to spare a serious amount of money, Suzuki decided to ally with Nissan.
The result was Equator, Suzuki’s first 4x4 pickup which is basically a rebadged Nissan Navara (also known as the Frontier). The product is a pretty interesting one, offering a good mix between Suzuki’s core values and Nissan’s reliability.
The Equator price starts at $ 17200 and is available as either a four seat Extended Cab or a five seat Crew Cab. There are two power outputs available namely 152 hp and 261 hp, with 883 kg and 1393 kg payload capacities.
The Suzuki Equator’s silhouette looks almost identical with its counterpart from Nissan. Yet Suzuki’s designers have put the pen at work and came up with a few essential modifications to give the Equator a unique look.
The overall body lines aren’t far by what you’ll find at the Navara, but a keen eye will spot the reshaped hood and the different line of the front fenders.
The grille it’s also completely redesigned and comes with a sporty chromed edge and the big Suzuki logo in its center. More unique traits you’ll find in the headlights design which are slightly rounder than the ones from the Navara.
The exterior differences continue with the bumper which shows the front part of a big skid plate and it’s fitted with a pretty thin air intake. The circular fog lamps remained unchanged and can be seen at both models.
Around the back there aren’t any differences and the only detail that helps you distinguish between the two models is the company badge mounted on the tailgate.
The interior design is completely identical with the one from the Nissan Navara and the only detail that proves you are sitting in a Suzuki pickup, it’s the company’s badge mounted in the center of the steering wheel.
The overall style is pretty robust, but the materials and plastics are pretty good respecting Nissan’s superior standards. The build quality it’s also pretty good and the cabin looks ready to withstand the punishment of arduous jobs without disappointing you.
The center console features a simple and functional design and is fitted with an audio system and easy to reach controls. The steering wheel must be the most masculine unit you’ll find in the segment and features a three spoke steering wheel with a two tonne treatment.
We especially like the sporty instrument panel which comes with a nice set of white faced gauges that can be read without too many efforts.
Drivers will be happy to know that the front seats are fairly comfortable and offer adequate back and side support with enough adjustments to keep you happy. The rear seats are also fairly comfortable and there is enough leg and shoulder room for up to three adults.
The road visibility is also part of the first class and the windscreen and lateral windows are fairly big. You won’t have any complains about the exterior mirrors either, as they’ll do their job just fine offering a good rearward visibility in any conditions.
Both Extended Cab and Crew Cab body styles come with flip-up rear seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat and removable storage boxes tucked beneath the rear seats to provide extra load space.
Additional storage places includes a dual glove box with locking lower compartment, door pockets, cup holders and center console storage with power outlet.
Engines and performance
The Suzuki Equator is offered with a choice of two engines. The 2.5 liter four cylinder unit is available with 152 hp and 171 lb-ft, while the 4.0 liter V6 engine churns out 261 hp and 281 lb-ft.
The entry level models are offered only with the 2.5 liter unit, while the top of the range and 4WD versions can be equipped only with the V6 engine. Depending on the engine, the vehicle is equipped with either a standard five speed manual gearbox (for the 2.5 liter) or a five speed automatic transmission (for the V6).
Both units are fairly capable of dealing with harsh working conditions and big payloads rewarding you with adequate performances regardless of what load you’ll put at the back. The units are also pretty refined, but they could’ve come with better efficiency as the 2WD model scores a city fuel consumption of 17 mpg, while the 4WD model will is rated at 15 mpg.
Suzuki Equator Engines Specifications
|2.5||152 @ 5200||171 @ 4400|
|4.0||261 @ 5600||281 @ 4000|
Ride and handling
The Suzuki Equator features an independent setup with double-wishbones at the front and leafs at the rear. Naturally, the ride quality is more on the bouncy side as we are talking about an utility vehicle, but the off road performances are fairly strong. However, with some load at the back the ride will drastically improve.
There is also a pretty small body lean and the Equator deals well with windy roads too. Though, don’t expect to any sporty performances as the rear end can feel jittery over rougher surfaces. The steering won’t inspire too much confidence as its light and doesn’t give you a proper road feedback.
Overall the Suzuki Equator offers good value for money. Its rugged nature it’s a perfect match even for the toughest jobs which will be done without too much fuss.
The cabin hasn’t the best looking design you’ll find in this segment, but it offers a good ergonomy and it’s pretty comfortable with decent materials and a strong build quality.
Fortunately you won’t complain about the engines either as they can deal with almost anything you’ll ask of them.
The vehicle it’s a fairly capable off-roader, but the ride quality and handling aren’t in the same league as some of the rivals.