Suzuki Equator Review

Gee, stranger...you look familiar.

Welcome to our brave new world...where badge engineering is no longer something that happens between divisions of the same automaker. Nope, now competing companies are swapping product and slapping nameplates on them.

Okay, it's not really new. Honda and Isuzu had the same kind of deal 15 years ago with the Rodeo and Passport SUVs and Oasis and Odyssey minivans.

In that particular deal, Honda provided the Odyssey for rebadging as the Oasis and Isuzu shipped some Rodeos over to Honda to be rechristened as Passports. Why buy one instead of the other? Well, Isuzu actually had the edge, even with the Honda-made product, by virtue of the stronger warranty.

That's essentially what's going on with the Suzuki Equator. What we have here is a Nissan Frontier pickup with an arguably more aggressive grille. That's it. Otherwise the same truck...right down to an identical EPA estimate of 15 city and 19 highway miles per gallon.

The Suzuki's base price is about $800 more than the comparably equipped Nissan...but wait. The Nissan limited warranty is 3 years or 36,000 miles with a powertrain warranty of 5 years or 50,000 miles. Suzuki jacks the ante way up with a 7 year/100,000 mile warranty. Which, if you're planning on keeping the truck more than 5 years, will more than cover the $800 price difference. Plus, dealers are hungry right now and Suzuki dealers are likely ravenous. I'd bet on your ability to make the $800 difference go away. You might even get a better deal on an Equator than you could a Frontier, depending on the dealers involved.

The Equator/Frontier's a nice truck (read my review of the Frontier here). Buying one from the Suzuki store could be a very smart move.