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2008 Suzuki SX4

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2008 Suzuki SX4 Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors


The SX4 Crossover joined Suzuki's lineup for 2007, offering active-lifestylers a practical, comfortable and affordable all-wheel-drive utility vehicle with impressive looks and loads of features. Its unit-body design shares key engineering elements with the Swift -- a popular Suzuki model currently sold only in Europe and Asia -- and therefore endows this versatile five-door hatchback with some car-like characteristics. Available in one, well-appointed trim level, the SX4 Crossover has a terrific warranty and merits serious consideration from anyone shopping for either a space-efficient front-drive hatchback, such as the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa or Scion xB, or a true all-wheel-drive crossover utility vehicle, such as the Jeep Compass or Nissan Rogue.

You'll Like This Car If...

When affordability, reliability, practicality and an impressive roster of standard features head your new-vehicle "must-have" list, the 2008 Suzuki SX4 Crossover deserves a look and a test drive.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The SX4 Crossover's ride-oriented suspension tuning and leisurely acceleration won't score many points with enthusiast drivers, while luxury lovers may reject it for not offering leather upholstery.

What's New for 2008

Suzuki simplified the SX4 Crossover lineup to a single trim level for 2008 and fitted the standard five-speed manual transmission with a slightly taller top-gear ratio, which reduces engine rpm relative to vehicle speed and thus helps improve fuel efficiency and minimize interior noise levels, particularly at freeway speeds. New exterior colors and an optional rear spoiler are the only other changes.

Driving It Driving Impressions

With its compact proportions and relatively tight turning circle, the 2008 Suzuki SX4 Crossover is easy to maneuver, even in tight confines. The steering is fairly quick and precise while the brakes are competent and sure, despite a slightly soft pedal feel. Ride comfort is good over most road surfaces, although the compliance that helps deliver that smooth ride also allows for a fair amount of body motion during spirited cornering. The SX4 Crossover's multi-mode all-wheel-drive package brings extra confidence all year 'round, and can be further upgraded with the available stability and traction controls that are part of the Touring Package. However, the absence of a low range rightly indicates that this stylish Suzuki is more at home on the road rather than off-road and far from pavement.

Favorite Features

Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system (i-AWD)
Button-activated i-AWD lets the SX4 operate as an economical front-driver or automatically transfer up to 50 percent of the engine's power to its rear wheels as traction conditions worsen or when the tires start to slip. A third "Lock" mode keeps 50-70-percent of the available torque up front when driving in extra-slick conditions at speeds up to 36 miles per hour.

Flexible interior space
Folding and tumbling the SX4's 60/40-split rear bench seat nearly triples the capacity of its rear cargo area while a large rear hatch simplifies loading and unloading.

Vehicle Details Interior

The SX4 Crossover packs an impressive amount of usable space for people and cargo inside its nicely finished and feature-rich cabin. A black and silver color scheme with brushed aluminum accents, clearly legible instruments and well-positioned switchgear highlight its suitably sporting look, although lots of hard plastic trim bits and a relatively small covered center bin deserve some legitimate criticism. The front seats favor comfort over lateral support, but the 60/40-split rear bench can handle two adults or a trio of kids and, when it's folded and tumbled into its maximum-utility position, the total cargo capacity is increased from 16.0 to 43.0 cubic feet.

Exterior

A product of the world-renowned Italdesign styling studio, the 2008 Suzuki SX4 Crossover's mildly wedge-shaped bodywork matches form with function. Significant elements of its clean, aerodynamic shape include a large glass area with triangular, fixed front windows, located forward of the doors, that improve driver sightlines, and well-scaled rear side doors that ease entry and exit. A large, one-piece rear hatch and built-in roof rails enhance utility, while relatively big P205/60R16 all-season tires on alloy wheels further emphasize the SX4 Crossover's dynamic character. Aluminum accents on its front and rear valance panels add visual impact to the black perimeter molding that encircles its lower body.

Notable Standard Equipment

Better equipped in base form than many its competitors, the 2008 Suzuki SX4 Crossover's crowning touch is its easy-to-use three-mode intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system (i-AWD). Other features include a full array of power assists, keyless remote entry, air conditioning, a tilt steering column and an AM/FM/CD/MP3-capable audio system. Key safety items include four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.

Notable Optional Equipment

Two main upgrade groups are available for the SX4 Crossover. The Convenience Package includes cruise control, heated outside mirrors, automatic climate control and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control buttons. The Touring Package begins with the Convenience Package and adds Electronic Stability Program with Traction Control System, keyless entry and start, a 380-watt premium audio package with CD changer, fog lamps and various other trim items. Key dealer extras include XM Satellite Radio and an iPod interface.

Under the Hood

The 2008 Suzuki SX4 Crossover has a 2.0-liter 16-valve in-line four-cylinder engine that makes 143 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque. Those are more than competitive figures for small, four-cylinder wagons; but, with its somewhat hefty curb weight of nearly 3,000 pounds, the SX4 Crossover does suffer a bit in the acceleration department. Slightly quicker with the five-speed manual gearbox, but easier to drive in heavy traffic situations with the optional four-speed automatic, the SX4 Crossover has EPA numbers of 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, regardless of transmission.

2.0-liter in-line 4
143 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
136 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 (manual), 21/28 (automatic)

Pricing Notes

Reflecting Suzuki's aggressive approach to value, the 2008 Suzuki SX4 Crossover's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts below $16,000 and, even with the automatic transmission and the Touring Package, will be less than $19,000. While you might find a lower sticker price on some front-drive-only alternatives, such as the Honda Fit and Scion xB, a comparably equipped all-wheel-drive Jeep Compass or Nissan Rogue will be more than $20,000. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what the SX4 is being sold for in your area. Residual value on the SX4 Crossover significantly outshines its Suzuki Reno and Forenza siblings and is even slightly better than for a Jeep Compass. However, it still lags behind most other Japanese alternatives, regardless of their drivetrain configurations.

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