Thanks to the Equator pickup truck, Suzuki motorcycle owners no longer have to mix their allegiances. Suzuki isn’t shy about admitting that its first-ever pickup is in fact a rebadged Frontier, made on Nissan’s assembly line in Tennessee. Even so, there’s no mistaking the truck pictured here for a Frontier. In fact, it’s hardly even recognizable as an Equator!
To show what this mid-size rig has the potential to become, Suzuki sent one to Southern California’s Icon Vehicle Dynamics (www.iconvehicledynamics.com). Using locally sourced parts and a hearty helping of man-hours, the Equator was transformed from a fun-and-functional pickup to an all-conquering Baja pre-runner ready to haul your GSX-R or RM-Z anywhere your heart desires.
Our test truck’s long-travel suspension was made in-house at Icon Vehicle Dynamics. Instal
The build began with an Extended Cab Sport model, which features a 4-liter engine, automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. The Icon crew then added custom Doug Thorley headers and a cat-back exhaust, but the Equator hardly needs the performance boost. In stock form the 24-valve V6 cranks out 261 horsepower and 281 lb.-ft. of torque, essentially negating any load you might carry. Meaty Goodyear Wrangler tires and big bead-lock wheels increase ground clearance and work in conjunction with oversized suspension components to encourage off-road excursions. A swanky grille, fog lamps, fender flares and a bed extender were also added, but the most apparent mod is the steel-tube contraption inside the bed. This stiffens the chassis while giving the piggyback shocks a place to mount, but also limits motorcycle capacity to one. The unmodified bed measures nearly 5 feet across, which would be plenty of room for two bikes plus a ramp and other gear.
We could do without the obtrusive bed bracingnot to mention the "gangsta" graphicsbut we love the V6 power that lets you enact swift passes. We also appreciate the fact that the truck is mid-sized, as in big enough to haul your bike and gear but not too big to fit in a standard parking space. The interior is simple-but-accommodating, with enough room in the cab to fit two full-size gear bags. Fuel mileage isn’t greatwe averaged about 14 mpg over the course of our two-week trial. But that figure is pretty much steadfast, so it doesn’t matter if you’re hammering over the Tejon Pass toward Buttonwillow Raceway with a full load or sailing down a wide-open freeway sans cargo. With a 6500-lb. towing capacity, you’re not limited to what you can fit in the bed, either. Go ahead and throw your pit bike and the big cooler in the trailer; the Equator can take it.
Trick as our Icon-modified test truck is, carrying capacity and fuel mileage would both be better with a stock Equator, and you’d be about $13,000 richer. And it still comes with that big, lustrous "S" on the grillejust like the one on your motorcycle.
|Price as tested ||$38,645 |
|Engine type ||l-c V6 |
|Valve train ||DOHC, 24v |
|Displacement ||4 liters |
|Transmission ||5-speed |
|Claimed horsepower ||261 bhp @ 5600 rpm |
|Claimed torque ||281 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm |
|Front suspension ||Icon adjustable-height coil-over shocks |
|Rear suspension ||Icon piggyback shocks |
|Front tires ||285/70R-17 Goodyear Wrangler |
|Rear Tires ||285/70R-17 Goodyear Wrangler |