Suzuki X-HEAD Hits the Bullseye in Detroit

By Mike Mello


Suzuki’s next big ticket could be the X-HEAD concept which is currently revolving on a turntable in Cobo Hall at the Detroit Auto Show. This is the first look at the X-HEAD in North America and I think it’s going to generate a few conversations about Suzuki that will keep people talking. Remember how much fun the Samurai was? This truck has that kind of potential.

To me, the X-HEAD has an appeal similar to that of a Kubota tractor or a John Deere Gator. It looks like the kind of tough, fun, versatile vehicle that makes you want one of your own. Suzuki says the X-HEAD can be outfitted in three different ways: A “Camper” version with sleeping space for two adults, a “Fashion” model that’s geared more for the city, and a “Rescue” edition designed to serve in search and rescue environments.

As you would expect from its looks, the X-HEAD is equipped with four-wheel-drive enhanced by a limited slip center differential. Ground clearance appears to be adequate although I don’t think this is the kind of truck I would want to lift without widening the track width. The overall height appears to be a bit on the tall side, but that’s only from where I’m standing on the show floor in Detroit. A 16-valve DOHC engine powers the vehicle, is backed by a six-speed dual-clutch transmission but there’s no word on what kind of fuel the engine uses.

The X-HEAD’s angular, capable looks continue on the inside where a flashlight that can also function as a hammer is included and a rear-facing camera displays images on a monitor. Those seats with the X-shaped seatbelts are made of neoprene and netting designed to be waterproof and comfortable.

Out back, the bed gives you the opportunity to stow a considerable amount of tools and equipment. I’m not sure if the roll bar is functional but based on the truck’s intended use, one would hope that it is tied into the frame or chassis. Speaking of protection, I wonder if the X-HEAD could be built with some kind of rocker panel protection. The look is great the way it is, but rockers are among the first panels to go when negotiating tough terrain.

Be on the lookout for any updates on the X-HEAD, which has my vote for a total go-ahead in the production department. Hopefully we’ll see some detailed specifications soon accompanied by an arrival date. If that’s the case, the small truck market could get exciting really quickly.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. When I look at the side profile of this truck the thing that I think of immediately is the Willys FC-150 and FC-170 “cab-forward” designs from the late Fifties and early Sixties. Which were strikingly different at the time and something that was quickly imatated by Ford and Chrysler in their truck line. The look was not successful in terms of staying power, but it was extremely popular among a small percentage of the market.

  2. Hi jeepster,
    Yes, I agree and I love those FCs from Jeep. Once in a while I see one here or there.

  3. It looks like a Go-Bot but it’s cool.

  4. I looked up an FC-150 on Google but I don’t see a strong resemblance. Although the Willys FC-150 is very funky and cool-looking. I don’t know why they stopped making that.

  5. darnell, Patrick Foster had writen a good article about the Jeep FC trucks in the June 2007 issue of the magazine Collectible Automobile. It was ahead of its time and there was a pictures of a clay-model of a van version of the Jeep FC.

    It wasn’t the end of the Jeep FC, Mahindra & Mahindra of India, a Jeep licensee, buyed the dies, tooling and equipment to manufacture them and they produced the FC trucks to the mid-1990s

  6. Hi darnell n,
    Although I never got to drive an FC-150 or its big brother, the 170, which could be bought with a dually rear end, I’ve heard heard from some Jeep fans older than me that they could be somewhat scary to drive if you didn’t have a substantial load in the bed. I think the short hood on the X-HEAD could help in the weight distribution department since it moves the cab further back than a forward-control type of design.

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