When you think of pickup trucks, you probably don’t think of Suzuki. Suzuki has been selling cars in United States under its own name since the 1980s, it’s never offered a real pickup for the U.S. market. But that all changed with the Suzuki Equator.
The Equator isn’t exactly Suzuki’s own creation, it’s essentially a clone of Nissan’s midsize Frontier pickup. Equator’s differences related to exterior styling and features. The Suzuki Equator benefits from a stout V6 engine, lots of versatility and substantial off-road capability.
Suzuki’s Equator is a pickup that can handle just about anything thrown at it, short of the kind of major duty that a full-size truck would be better suited to. Fans of Suzuki’s beefy warranties will want to take a look, as should other midsize pickup truck shoppers.
The Suzuki Equator midsize pickup truck is offered in two styles: a basic extended cab and a crew cab. Extended cabs are available in base, Premium and Sport trims, and all come with a 6-foot bed. Crew cabs are available in Sport and RMZ-4 trims — the former can be had with either a 5- or 6-foot bed, while the RMZ-4 is 5-foot-only.
The Equator comes with a choice of two engines — a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, or a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 261 hp and 281 lb-ft. The V6 is the only engine available for crew cabs and 4WD variants, while the four-cylinder is available only in the lower-trim extended-cab models. The four-cylinder is matched to either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic (standard on the Premium). The V6 is equipped with a five-speed automatic only.
Inside, the Equator is comfortable but far from luxurious. There is no leather seating option. Instruments are no-nonsense but easy to read. The crew cab provides a nice list of features, including a cleated “C-track” tie-down system, with various storage compartments and a spray-on bedliner for the Sport version. The RMZ-4 is an off-road-oriented truck with heavy-duty axles, an electric locking rear differential, Bilstein shocks, skid plates, hill descent and hold control, 16-inch alloy wheels, off-road-oriented tires and foglamps.
On the options roster are a removable Garmin navigation system (for RMZ models only), Bluetooth, a satellite-radio-ready audio system and a sunroof. Safety features are extensive and include side curtain airbags and antilock brakes on all Equators, plus stability control for Sport and V6 models.
Driving dynamics are impressive for a midsize pickup. The steering is precise with ample feedback, the brakes are reasonably responsive and the suspension soaks up the bumps adequately, even for the 4WD-equipped trim when it’s taken off-road. In fact, the specialized Equator RMZ-4, with its dedicated off-road-biased hardware, is especially appealing as a vehicle that can tackle the great outdoors. The four-cylinder engine provides superior fuel economy, but we suspect most buyers will be happier with the less economical V6.
In all, the Suzuki Equator is a solid truck that, while not outstanding in any one particular area (except for its seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty), can stand up admirably against its far better known competition. It’s a good daily driver and well equipped to handle the great outdoors.
My one week 2011 Suzuki Equator test drive vehicle was provided by White Bear Mitsubishi Suzuki in White Bear Lake, MN. Total MSRP $28,500