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Should I modify my Suzuki Grand Vitara?

A reader wants help with his Suzuki Grand Vitara for sand work.

Hi Robert,

I have been contemplating buying a 2014 Suzuki Grand Vitara as my daily driver, but it will need to be able to handle light duty off-road work. I’m talking mainly soft beach sand, and deeply gouged sandy tracks with tall centre ‘humps’. What worries me is the unladen ground clearance of only 200mm.

Buying larger diameter tyres will only give me a small increase, as I’m not prepared to modify the wheel arches. My main question is this. Does a lift kit just raise the body to gain extra wading depth, or does it actually increase the ground clearance? If it’s the latter, then a spend of around $1500 seems worth it to gain an extra 40mm. Your advice would be most welcome.

Cheers,

 
G
 
Hi G
 
The Grand Vitara is a superb little offroader, but as you say, clearance may be an issue. You can fit slightly larger tyres which give you additional clearance of half the extra tyre diameter – in the case of a small 4WD like the Suzuki that might be around another 10mm or so. Increasing tyre diameter will raise the gearing, increase unsprung mass and increase the chances of transmission stress, but a small increase of 20mm should be fine – don’t go any wider though, just taller.
 
A “lift kit” could be a suspension or a body lift. Body lifts are increasingly rare as all they do is raise the body relative to the chassis, and only work on separate-chassis vehicles, not integrated chassis/body vehicles like the Grand Vitara. Typically body lifts are done so you can run bigger wheels, or to some extent increase approach and depature angles.
 
The other type of lift kit is a suspension lift kit, something that can be done on any 4WD,  and this will give you an increase in ground clearance as the Grand Vitara is a fully independently sprung vehicle, as well as greater approach, ramp and departure angles.
 
The wading depth is, in theory, slightly improved but another 25mm isn’t really an increase of any significance. You’d better off fitting a snorkel.
 
Piranha Offroad are Suzuki specialists, and they have taller coil springs which give you a 25mm lift, which combined with the 200mm standard means 225mm, and that’s enough to go just about anywhere. Suspension lifts usually raise a vehicle by 50mm, but the Grand Vitara is smaller than say a Prado so the lift isn’t going to be as much due to the shorter control arms.
 
The stock tyres are 225/70/16 (or equivalent with 17 and 18″ rims) – if you went up a size to 225/75/16 that’d be another 12mm, so you could be looking at 233mm which is plenty of clearance. The Suzuki’s gearing, engine, traction control and everything else will see you go wherever you want!
 
Please note that the advice given here is of a general nature and any modifications should be carried out to be compliant with your road regulations, and you should always advise your insurer.
 

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Gene
Gene
4 years ago

Perfect -just what I needed to know. Thanks once again. G

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper