By KBB.com Editors
Best known in America for its small, rugged SUVs, Suzuki is steadily cultivating a new image, one that centers around small, fuel efficient cars. Leading the charge is the 2009 SX4 Sedan, which arrives in both base guise and in a well-appointed Sport trim. Like the SX4 crossover, this four-door sedan shares basic chassis and mechanical bits with the Suzuki Swift, a well-respected player in European and Asian markets. Despite the SX4 nomenclature originated by its all-wheel-drive cousin, the Sedan is strictly front-drive – at least for now. It's also nearly 15 inches longer than the hatchback version, most of that stretch to accommodate its formal trunk. A step-up replacement for the old Aerio, the SX4 Sedan gives Suzuki an affordable compact entry that's far more youthful and fun-to-drive than either its existing Forenza or Reno.
Those with slight nonconformist leanings who need a practical daily transporter but also want a serious dose of driving fun – and demand it all at an attractive price – will be impressed with the attributes of the 2009 Suzuki SX4.
Drivers whose tastes run more towards hard-line performance – particularly with a Teutonic flavor – or who prefer more aggressive styling might be better off considering something slightly pricier, like a Honda Civic Si, MAZDA3 or VW Jetta 2.5/GLI.
The 2009 Suzuki SX4 Sport receives a built-in Garmin navigation unit as standard equipment, a first for a car in this price range. Also new is a lower-priced base Sedan and additional content added to the Sport's Touring package.
Driving Impressions Although it still ranks higher in practicality than in pure exhilaration, the SX4 Sport is a nicely balanced package with dynamic character that goes well beyond the original SX4 crossover....With less weight to move and only two wheels to drive, the engine shows even greater enthusiasm here, but acceleration is definitely more spirited when it's paired with the standard manual gearbox. The biggest difference, however, is in the suspension tuning, which is commendably crisp without being unduly harsh. While the SX4's basic MacPherson strut and torsion beam design carries over, the Sport's more rigid body structure, lower ride height, upgraded shock absorbers and low-profile Dunlop tires on 17-inch alloy wheels (the Crossover rides on 16-inchers) impart an entirely different temperament to the vehicle. Toss in communicative power steering and capable four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and the SX4 Sport reacts confidently to driver inputs, even without the optional traction and stability controls.
Crisp suspension tuning coupled with decently grippy low-profile tires on the largest wheels in the segment help the SX4 Sport live up to its name when the roads get twisty.
The SX4's large glass area complemented by front quarter windows and oversize outside mirrors provides the driver with exceptionally good front, side and rear sightlines.
Nicely finished and appointed, the SX4's cabin offers generous passenger space in both front and rear quarters. Much is shared with the SX4 crossover, including the dash and door panels, intuitively-positioned switchgear and an abundance of hard plastic surfaces. One key difference: The Sport trim's front bucket seats feature more prominent bolstering and merit high marks for both lateral support and long-range comfort. The SX4's aft quarters possess sufficient head and leg room for two average-sized adults, but three-across occupancy is definitely a kids-only proposition. A new split folding rear seat replacing last year's fixed seatback allows access to the 15.0 cubic feet of trunk capacity.Exterior
Suzuki claims the SX4's front-end was inspired by a traditional Japanese Kabuki mask but, beyond a few bolder creases in its unique soft fascia and revamped grille openings, the headlights, hood and fenders are all identical to the SX4 crossover. The Sedan has an arched roofline and relatively large glass area that help create a roomier cabin and afford exceptional outward visibility. Pronounced fender flares accentuate the Sport's standard body kit (front and rear valence panel extensions and tasteful side sills), while additional visual and functional enhancement is provided by largest-in-class 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 205/50 all-season tires.
An economical daily commuter with legitimate enthusiast overtones, the 2009 Suzuki SX4 LE Sedan's extensive creature-comforts roster starts with air conditioning, power windows, locks and mirrors, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, tilt steering column and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags. The Sport trim adds GPS navigation, the Aero package, keyless entry and 17-inch wheels. Both trims share the same mechanical highlights including four-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, a 143-horsepower engine and a five-speed manual transmission. The warranty is equally noteworthy. Basic bumper-to-bumper numbers are an industry-average three years/36,000 miles, but Suzuki also includes a free loaner car and covers pricy powertrain elements with a seven-year/100,000-mile zero-deductible blanket that's fully transferable.
The SX4 Sport offers two key upgrade groups that can be added singly or in combination. The Technology Package brings fog lamps, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio, and cruise control buttons and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. The Touring Package adds traction and stability controls, automatic climate controls, heated side mirrors, Smart Pass keyless remote locking and starting, and a nine-speaker upgraded audio system with six-disc CD changer. Prime single options include a four-speed automatic transmission, integrated iPod adapter and dealer-installed XM Satellite Radio.
All 2009 Suzuki SX4 Sedans share the same 2.0-liter DOHC all-aluminum in-line four-cylinder used in the SX4 crossover. Here, too, the engine makes a solid 143 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque and is fitted with a variable-runner intake manifold that helps broaden both those output curves. Because of the more performance-oriented gear and axle ratios used in cars equipped with the standard five-speed manual transmission, an SX4 Sport with the optional four-speed automatic actually earns slightly better EPA fuel economy numbers. In either case, the SX4 Sport's front-drive-only configuration helps trim well over 100 pounds off its curb weight compared to the crossover, a factor that significantly improves acceleration.
2.0-liter in-line 4
143 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
136 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 22/30 (automatic), 22/30 (base, LE, manual), 23/31 (base, LE, automatic)
By jffl82 (PA) 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 (FL) 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."
By cliffy (ME) on Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,891overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas miledge ,great price ,dependability,goes"
Cons: "a little small inside but my 6 ft 300 pound frame"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The suzuki SX4 that I have owned for over 5 years is one of the best vehicles I have ever owned! I lock the diferentials(4 lock mode ) and goplaces that full blown mud trucks cannot handle ,I have installed a rocky roads 2 inch lift ,a full front skid plate and a rear differentials 3/8 aluminum skid plate,with the g-force fuel chip I installed I get over 26 miles a gallon around town and 34 highway ,the stock jeep cherokee rims fit right on and give me a larger assortment of tire sizes to choose from , Everyone like my little suzi-q and are always betting against the cars abilities I have not lost a bet on what this car can do !(but I judge the car criticacly and willonly be pushed so far )"
By ColoradoFoothillsDriver (CO) on Friday, October 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great VALUE - inexpensive AWD w/a GOOD warranty."
Cons: "Small, fairly low ground-clearance."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Commuted 50 miles 1-way through the Colorado foothills for over 4 years. No breakdowns and I never got stuck in any snowstorms. I drove a Subaru Legacy for many years before I got the Suzuki. The Subaru's got higher ground clearance and a longer per-tank range *but* it would have cost me $10k+ more to get another one than what I paid for the Suzuki. The Suzuki was a tremendous value. Handled as well as the Subaru in light snow. I had to replace the engine in the *subaru* at 65k miles (under the *extended* warranty I bought). The Suzuki came w/a 4 yr/100k powertrain warranty standard, so not only was it less expensive but the better warranty massively improved the value. At the time I bought it, the Suzuki was a "settle for" car because I couldn't afford another subaru. After 5 years and a single check-engine light (related to a loose gas-cap) it was really one of the best purchasing decisions I've made in my life."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By goodone (WV) on Sunday, October 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "excelent on gas"
Cons: "no console"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Cheep car. Great on gas. Small for a heaver persons or more then 3 to 4 people for comfort. Handles well. Not enough storage in car, Exp. missing console area. The car has a hard start/no start at times and odors from engine along with other ongoing issues that should be taken care of that are safety hazards. Not recommended. The car needs recalled and pulled off road."
By PC (MI) on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I owned and sold this car
Reason: cost/time to repair - My approximate mileage is 90,000
Pros: "Fun, unique, loved the style of it"
Cons: "Very $$$ repairs, rotten mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"My SX4 was one of the most fun cars I've ever owned, shed a tear when I traded it in actually. But that's not saying it was a great car. It was fun to toss around, very spirited, but the mileage was poor (22-24 at best) and with such a small tank, my 120-mile commute to work had me at the gas station every other day. No troubles until it neared 50k, then the AC quit. Had continual issues with check engine light, catalytic convertor and more. Car would stall with no warning. When the transmission started getting hinky I'd had enough. So few were on the road that repairs were very high ($1400+ for a refurbished AC compressor alone!) and basically all would require a looong wait as parts were infrequently shipped on a slow boat from Japan. I thought I'd keep this car forever but the bad ultimately overtook the good. Best car I've ever driven in bad weather, especially snow. This thing goes like a billy goat and fills you with a sense of security. Many times during my freeway commute I'd regularly see all sizes of cars off the road, stuck or in the ditch as Zippy and I kept on going. My golf clubs fit sideways with 1/4" to spare, but they did fit. This car had a lot of character, a fun spirit, but it was not economical in any way."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful