By KBB.com Editors
The SX4, a brand new model from Suzuki, joins a small group of all-wheel-drive hatchbacks favored by young buyers who want a low-end, compact-sized carry-all. A friendly little car with a distinctive design, the SX4 fits nicely into the economy-plus-power niche that the budget-conscious buyer seeks. Suzuki predicts huge growth in the compact five-door hatchback market in deference to fuel prices and the decline of large SUVs. With an engine designed by General Motors and built in Japan, the SX4 is assembled in Hungary, handy production locations for a model that Suzuki plans to sell as a world car. Sales of the carmaker's entire lineup have soared over the last two years, with Suzuki increasingly recognized as a reputable, reliable maker of market-driven, inexpensive models.
You'll like this car for its tough-enough-to-take-on-a-truck attitude, reasonable price and standard "intelligent" three-mode all-wheel-drive (i-AWD) system that switches to two-wheel drive for fuel economy. Flexible seating folds down to increase cargo space. And if small and affordable are your goals, the SX4 serves them up with panache.
A carload of character is designed into the sturdy stance and exterior. The wedge-shaped body gives an appearance of forward readiness with a sloping nose and raked windshield. The rear doors extend to the height of the roof and over the rear wheels for maximum ease of entry and exit. The distinctive wrap-around hatch window affords excellent visibility, and rear lights placed halfway up the tailgate mean those in road monsters can see the SX4's brake lights easily. Although they don't open, the small pyramid-shaped glass inserts mounted forward of the front windows and bordered in black add pizzazz. Built-in roof rails can carry bicycle racks.
The least expensive all-wheel-drive vehicle on the market, the cheery SX4 is a sport (S) crossover (X) that fuses function with a sense of fun. Suzuki has built its smallest vehicle as a precocious pup of a hatchback with a terrific all-wheel-drive system and a powertrain that can best most comers.
Driving Impressions The SX4 Sport is one nimble little car. The rigid steel body, wide track and fine-tuned chassis deliver efficient stability, responsive handling and minimal body roll, although the dual grab...handles might tempt front-seat riders to reach up and use them at speed. Crisp response from the strong 2.0-liter engine and automatic transmission, and the hatchback's tidy size and low weight, combine to encourage enthusiastic driving, even for commuters. The well-designed and highly-tuned front and rear suspension provides a stable, comfortable ride.
The star of the show is the i-AWD, whose console-mounted switch is just itching to be turned to one of three modes: Two-wheel drive for maximum fuel economy on decent, dry roads; Auto, to control the ratio of power sent to the rear wheels; and Lock mode, for increased traction in snow or mud. The Lock mode is automatically cancelled above 36 miles per hour.
Flip the rear seat down and a cavernous 54 cubic feet of cargo space is available. Coupled with a very wide opening through the fifth door, the trunk area can store bulky items.
At first glance, the interior appears similar to its competitors, until the split rear seatbacks are folded down to reveal an expanse of cargo space that can swallow a couple of boogie boards through the yawning hatch door. The SX4 offers reasonably comfortable room for five passengersif the rear middle rider is slim. An obviously plastic vertical panel runs down the center of the dash and holds the radio, air conditioning, i-AWD and other control buttons and switches, with extra tabs on the steering wheel. The seating and interior trim are prosaic but the intrinsic beauty of the SX4 is found in its practicality, performance and price.
Better-equipped than many compacts in its price range, the SX4's crown jewel is the easy-to-use i-AWD system. Other major features include an exceptional array of safety equipment, with six airbags for side impact, front and side-curtain protection. Also in the package are four-wheel drive anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic braking distribution, power windows and locks, air conditioning, AM/FM/MP3/CD audio system, remote entry and tilt wheel. The Sport model adds electronic stability with traction control to assist with front or rear wheel slip, cruise control, power heated mirrors, climate control and a six-disc CD changer audio system.
Do nine speakers and a subwoofer do it for you? They're an option on both models, as is the four-speed automatic transmission. With so much equipment already standard, options for the SX4 are limited to cruise control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated stereo controls, which is also part of the standard equipment for the Sport model.
Few cars of this size and price house a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 143-horsepower engine (the Fit's horsepower is 109, the xA is 103 and the Versa is 122). Matched to the five-speed manual transmission or the specially-tuned four-speed automatic, which probably will far outsell the manual in the U.S., the SX4's engine and gearbox are exceptionally compatible.
2.0-liter in-line 4
143 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
136 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/29 (manual), 24/30 (automatic)
By pat on Monday, February 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "ALL ABOVE"
Cons: "LOT OF WIND NOISE WHEN WINDOWS DOWN"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"ex head room both of us wife is 5 ft spouse 6 ft good visibl&& &y 30mpg excellent traction she loves it many months of snow an ice in north maine. cold bothers the low tire light on a lot.WHERES THE THE SEAT REPAIRS PROMISED BIG PROBLEM NOT IMPORTRD NO DEALERS ONLYREASON FOR NO RECOMMEND."
By Renie on Thursday, January 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "excellent in snow, convenient city parking; color"
Cons: "small gas tank. cheap plastic inside"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The AWD is awesome in the snow! I love the SX4. The only cons I have are: some of the plastic pieces on the rear interior seats popped out after folding down for storage and had to be replaced; the gas tank is small so for frequent use you will be stopping at a gas station more often; there is no interior button for the hatchback so when you want to open it, you have to do it manually outside of the vehicle; the gas tank door opener is in an inconvenient location on the floor next to the driver's seat. Suzukis are no longer being sold in the United States!! WHY?????"
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By linda on Friday, January 17, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: bad gas mileage and totaled the vehicle
Pros: "bad gas mileage"
Cons: "lots of head room"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Thew suzuki company must have worked really hard to make a 2.0 motor get this BAD of gas mileage 21 MPG city 23 Highway but I should say that it did take a beating hit a stopped car at 50 mph and no one was hurt this did surprise me."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Suzuki love on Friday, January 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "AWD super fun to drive in wet or snowy conditions"
Cons: "Not crazy about cloth seats in any vehicle"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is a great vehicle. Super cute, handles great, small and versatile. Kicks butt in the snow! Hit the AWD in rainy conditions and you feel the traction and stability. Love the hatchback, too. Heats and cools quickly like most foreign cars. Definitely would recommend this car."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By jffl82 on Monday, December 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "good gas milage, good city car"
Cons: "terrible control in wet and snowy roads"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased one used less then a week ago. The Tire pressure monitor was on they said that it was fixed when I took it and that the light would go out. It didn't. The traction control system make a boom when it kicks in. I followed the plow truck out the road and spun tire the entire way with the AWD system engaged. also AWD system handling is terrible. I have driven many trucks and SUV's in my life and none have been this bad on back roads."
By BMW-bound on Tuesday, November 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Dependable, fits into small spaces"
Cons: "Over pri$ed, POOR gas mileage, NOT sexy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"My car gets about 24mpg "pitiful", the brakes have been replaced twice, the 1st time I paid the dealership over $300.00 but the second time the dealership replaced them with "no charge" because I already OVER PAID to purchase it. I think this car should have been priced at 9,999.00 so I'm glad to hear that the US will not be selling it anymore. It's precise, quick and it start-up EVERY time I'm ready to go. I may give it to my teenager because it's reliable, doesn't have too many blind spots and it's not intimidating but the gas mileage is disappointing. I've read the reviews on the good, bad and the ugly and I don't believe this car can handle 100k miles like my past Toyotas' did, therefore I shall trade it in for a Mini."