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Custom Suzuki
By Larry Edsall

Blizzard Suzuki show cars show ideas for customizing your vehicle

Hear the word "snowmobile" and you probably think of a noisy, track-driven machine that requires you to wear bulky coveralls and a crash helmet as you power over the snow. However, Suzuki has devised a show car that converts its new 2007 Grand Vitara sport utility vehicle into a different sort of snowmobile.

"Blizzard" is the name Suzuki put on this customized Grand Vitara, one of four special "lifestyle activity vehicles" the company produced to showcase the 2007 model for the auto show circuit. While you cannot buy a Blizzard at your local dealership, you can use the vehicle as inspiration for aftermarket customization of any sport utility vehicle.

To plow through deep snow, Blizzard's 2.7-liter V6 engine gets twin turbochargers that boost output to 357 horsepower and 344 pound-feet of torque. Blizzard rides on custom 18-inch wheels and ultra-high performance Nokian Hakkapaleta 2 snow tires with carbon steel studs. It also rides on a height-adjustable suspension that lowers the vehicle for highway driving, raises it for motoring on snow-covered city streets and lifts even more for negotiating deep backcountry powder.

A special body trim kit enhances aerodynamics and visual appeal. High-output halogen driving and fog lamps provide a better view at night and in snow.

Locking roof-mounted pods secure snowboards and ski gear. The interior features water resistant seat covers, built-in glove warmers and boot dryers and a wet box for storing snowy clothes.

To make the drive to the slopes more entertaining, there are two seven-inch video game monitors mounted in the back of the front-seat headrests, a ceiling-mounted PlayStation 2, a 1000-watt audio system with iPod jack and on-the-road Internet access to check conditions on the way to the slopes.

A special fold-out ski lift-style seat with a foot rest has been built into the cargo area to keep you out of the slush while changing into or out of boots.

In addition to the Blizzard, Suzuki showed "Dune," its off-road concept, at the North American International Auto Show, "Wave" for lake-sports enthusiasts and "Sea" (based on the Forenza station wagon) for surfers.

For information, visit www.suzukiauto.com and click on the "new concept cars" button.

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