In just about any area of the country trucks are just as essential to motocross as helmets and fuel cans. Almost every moto-head owns a truck and those that don’t wish they did. Sure there is the guy with the panel van, but when he is not at the track, let’s be honest, he looks like a stalker. And SUVs and cars with bumper carriers, us truck guys just look at you and shake our heads. If you own a dirt bike, you need a truck; it’s as simple as that.
Usually when we review anything from Suzuki is has two wheels, and on the rare occasion it has more it is for sure an ATV. Except this time. Suzuki recently tossed us the keys to a 2012 Suzuki Equator RMZ-4 Crew Cab 4X4 truck. Lately, our Road Test Editor Adam Waheed has been in love with our long term 2012 RM-Z450, so just the RMZ-4 designation had him drooling for this compact pick-up. For three weeks we used the Equator as a daily driver to the track and around town to get a feel for what it would be like to live with this truck day-in and day-out.
Most people that are moto-centric in their interests vaguely have a clue that Suzuki makes automobiles, and even less know about the Equator. At first glance you might mistake the RMZ-4 for a Nissan Frontier and rightly so. Look a little closer and
The 2012 Suzuki Equator RMZ-4’s 4.0-liter DOHC V-6 puts out decent numbers on the dyno and sounds awesome.
the beefier front grill, chunkier hood and flared fenders set it apart from the Frontier. That, and the iconic Suzuki S chrome badges on the grill and tailgate. In our opinion the Equator looks more substantial and aggressive than its dated looking and boxy platform donor.
Underneath the hood is a four-liter DOHC 24-Valve V-6 that feeds power to a five-speed automatic transmission. Suzuki claims 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque out of the Equator powerplant. On the dyno the numbers were 182.87 horsepower and 170.22 lb-ft at the rear wheels. On the street the 4461-pound machine accelerated to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds and covered the quarter in 16.1 seconds at 86.7 mph. It’s not a hot-rod by any means, but it feels stout when it’s time to stomp on the loud pedal. The engine roar and exhaust note is burly for a V-6 making it feel sportier than it is. The fuel economy is also sporty, using gasoline at a rate of 16.9 miles-per-gallon during our testing.
Swinging the Equator in and out of traffic, parking lots and motocross parks this truck feels like a big-truck. It is solidly built and has the character of a half-ton truck. The steering effort has a heavy and deliberate sensation just like a pick-up should have, but the feedback and road-feel is excellent. The ride is taut thanks to the Bilstein shocks when on the street, but not uncomfortable.
In the dirt the off-road package included with the RMZ-4 make the Equator more than capable for a stock pick-up The aforementioned Bilsteins smooth out the bumps, while the oil pan, transfer case and fuel tank skid plates protected the undercarriage admirably. Switching from 2WD to 4WD is a snap with a dash-mounted switch. If the going gets really tough the locking rear differential adds some extra insurance that you will make it out of those sticky situations.
The Suzuki Equator RMZ-4 is a capable machine on and off the road thanks to irs Bilstein suspension.
A push on the brake pedal rewards the driver with a strong initial bite and excellent modulation. In our stopping test, the fully fueled RMZ-4 went from 60 mph to a stop in 134 feet. With a towing capacity of 6300 pounds it’s reassuring that the four-wheel discs are up to the task of hauling the Suzuki down from speed whether empty, fully laden or pulling a trailer.
Inside the cab, the Equator is compact, but has ample room for five adults. The rear seating area is tighter than the front, and I wouldn’t recommend long road-trips with 6-foot plus passengers. However, for short jaunts it’s more than acceptable. Flipping up the rear seats opens up the back for tossing in gear bags and other miscellaneous items needed for a day of riding. Up front the seating is spacious and comfortable. The seats are firm and supportive, and the material is rugged yet appealing to the touch. Everything on the dash is laid out logically and the stereo is easy to reach. Long road trips are no problem if you are sitting in the first row.
The reason a truck is a must have for MX’ers is the bed. While the cargo space is smaller than a full-size truck, fitting two full-sized dirt bikes is easy along with a gear bag and stands. A factory-equipped Moto Bed extender increases the bed length by allowing the owner to use the tailgate as additional cargo area; it also fits snug to the bike’s rear tire and keeps it from hopping around when the road gets rough. A track-type tie-down system gives numerous configurations with its four included cleats.
After spending three weeks with the 2012 Suzuki Equator RMZ-4 it was tough to find fault with any part of this truck. We could whine about the less than impressive stock AM/FM stereo but that is easily remedied with the $260 integrated Bluetooth system option. It may be the best deal out there for a compact pick-up at this premium trim level coming in at $30,550, a comparably appointed Nissan Frontier prices out at couple thousand dollars higher. Not only is it packed with features such as the bed extender and off-road running gear, it also comes with a 100,000-mile 7-year limited powertrain warranty. Even if you are not a Suzuki fan like Waheed, the Equator RMZ-4 deserves a look if you’re in the market for a compact truck.