I agree with the last comment. I own a new Suzuki GV with rear drum brakes and you would never know the difference except when you look at the back wheels. Brakes when designed by engineers will work in any configuration.. even drums! Marketers tell the engineers to use disc brakes to keep the public happy and for making brochures!
I agree with part of the November 3rd comment.
Drum brakes are fine for this application. Virtually every vehicle I've owned has had discs in front and drums in back. The stopping capability is fine.
However, I must disagree with one part of what he said. The cost of maintaining and replacing disc brakes are not more expensive than drums. In fact, they are usually less in several respects.
First, the components themselves (the actual disc versus the drum) cost less in many cases. Additionally, disc brakes are inherently easier to work on and, as such, easier for your typical backyard mechanic to work on.
Except for in poorly designed disc systems (Ford Festiva, for example), a novice can do your typical disc brake job (pads & disc) in about an hour. I'm not sure the same could be said about drums.
But, other than that, I agree with the comment. There's nothing wrong with drum brakes on an SUV.
Sorry, I had meant that I had found that the typical cost for shoes rather than pads had been cheaper!
I do agree that generally the pads are easier for a novice to change though...
I see so many issues where rear discs rust over or calipers seize from not being used hard enough.
In the correct application, for sports cars, they are great, but standard (proper!) SUVs are better of with drums due to the lack of high temperature use, and adversity of normal operating conditions, eg water, mud and salt.
Makes me wonder about the new SX4. It's considered a Crossover vehicle, half way between a hatchback and a small SUV. It comes with 4 wheel discs and ABS standard. It's clearly more car oriented in it's feel on the road, though it does have some limited back-road capability.
Much, I suspect, depends on how and where you drive these vehicles. Today, many people buy SUVs and drive them like cars, where they receive no more abuse (mud, etc) than any other car. In those circumstances, I don't know if rear discs are a benefit or not.
As I said before, I do greatly appreciate the ease of service associated with disc brakes. On the other hand, one rarely has to change their rear brake shoes/pads regardless of what kind they are. I have a number of cars over 10 years of age, all with drums on the back, and I have changed the rear pads on them maybe once or twice each.
Of course, those are FWD vehicles, not AWD, which may make a difference in longevity.
My dealers (see 2006 Jimny JLX+/2006 Swift DDiS) were kind enough to send me on a free off-road day after I bought the Jimny, and they had new SWB Vitara, LWB Vitara and an SX4 for us to try, along with demo rides in a modded Jimny. I took my standard 6 week old Jimny around the expert/modified only "black-run" and it laughed at everything else, even keeping up with the heavily modified and raised Jimny!
The Jimny is great as a dedicated off-roader, but if you read my report, has serious on-road issues, which would lead me towards an SX4 if I wanted to use it on the road.
The SX4 I tested (or Fiat Sedici) was very impressive on loose tracks, being softly sprung, responsive and comfortable; just like an off road biased Ford Focus would be. The rear discs are well suited to this application, as it can be hooned along at quite a pace on the twisties, and will not suffer the extreme conditions that a dedicated 4wd will encounter.
I was impressed by the car overall, as it is a good compromise for someone who wants a car, not a four wheel drive, but needs to get home to a rural spot when the weather closes in. It is surprisingly spacious and practical, but why do they only offer the diesel in two wheel drive form, and the the 4Grip version only in petrol?
That seems daft-Suzuki misses so many sales because they do not offer a diesel in the Jimny or SX4 4Grip in the UK. You would think that the good Vitara diesel sales would tell them something!
Thanks for the SX4 comments above.
We don't even get the Diesel or 2wd models here in the U.S. All are 2.0l gasoline engines. All come with standard AWD.
Rumor has it that a 2wd only version will be available perhaps for the 08 model year. I doubt we'll ever see the diesel engine here, though.