I bought this car after looking to trade in my '01 CR-V. I was disappointed in Honda's 2007 CR-V with its reduced ground clearance and soccer-mom styling. It might as well be a minivan.
Overall, the Grand Vitara seems to be well designed and well put together, and unlike most previous Suzuki models, it has an appealing design. Unfortunately, I do seem to notice more minor squeaks and fit/finish issues than I did with my previous Honda CR-V.
Solid would be the one word I would use to describe this car. It feels planted to the road and goes where I point it. Handling and body roll were better than I expected. The exception is on uneven ground where the short wheelbase, stiff suspension and ladder-frame unibody combine to give a somewhat bouncy ride.
Despite what some reviewers have said, the 2.7L V6 is fairly smooth and refined and delivers what you would expect of a small V6 engine, though as other reviewers have mentioned it does seem to run out of steam when trying to pass at highway speeds.
Fuel consumption is OK. I drive it fairly gently and average about 22MPG (10.7L/100Km) mixed city/freeway driving. For the vehicle's weight and the fact it has a full-time 4WD system coupled to a 6-cyl engine, this seems about right. For freeway-only driving, I get about 25MPG (9.4L/100KM) by sticking to the speed limit. Going above 65MPH causes a rapid decline in fuel economy.
The biggest let-down with this car so far has been the dealer backup. Suzuki USA needs to shore up their dealer representation in Southern California.