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2011 Suzuki SX4

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2011 Suzuki SX4 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.3

Suzuki's SX4 Sport, introduced in the 2008 model year, was and remains an attempt by Suzuki to enter the mainstream of the compact sedan segment, whose mainstays - the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla - are perennially among the best-selling sedans in North America. Unfortunately, the SX4 Sedan (a low-volume price leader) and more expressive Sport entered a mainstream category with a swollen profile and without a swollen promotional budget. In transforming the attractive 5-door Crossover (a product of Italy's ItalDesign Studios) into a more conventional 4-door they went in-house. And while the oversized greenhouse is great for visibility and ingress/egress - especially for those born before World War II - it's not so great in profile, coming closer to resembling Toyota's discontinued Echo than today's Corolla or Yaris. That said, in its Sport guise the SX4 is fun-to-drive, and with its new-for-2010 SportBack it's (again) fun to look at.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you enjoy a fun-to-drive platform for minimal expense, the SX4 Sport and SportBack deliver it in spades. Although not as responsive as those "hot hatches" that dominate the category, the SportBack constitutes a great combination of sporty handling and genuine utility. And for those families on a budget, the Sport Sedan offers comfortable seating for four - and one of the most expansive trunks in the compact segment.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If, while shopping in what has become a mainstream segment, you prefer a mainstream brand, Suzuki - despite some twenty-five years in the U.S. as an automotive importer - is not prepared to deliver. Its six-figure sales volume in 2007 and 2008 was built on rebadged Daewoos which (thankfully) are no longer part of the product mix. Niche vehicles like Suzuki's SX4 have a place in the U.S.; a prospect needs to determine if they have a place in his or her garage.

What's Significant About This Car?

With significant upgrades taking place in 2010, this year is more about fine-tuning. Rear seat side airbags bump its safety score in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings - now a "Top Small Car" - and an updated navigation system includes additional info, including flight arrival/departure, lowest gas prices (as if...) and Google search.

Driving the SX4

Driving Impressions At its launch in the fall of 2007, automotive media were - in large part - pleasantly surprised by the SX4 Sport's driving dynamic. One would credit good suspension design...

and control (standard KYB shocks), credible braking via 4-wheel discs, and steering with a seemingly direct connection to the front wheels for the surprised reaction. And having shed the Crossover's all-wheel drive and enhanced ground clearance, its sporting credentials were firmly in place. Four model years later, however, there are a number of new entries vying for the same value dollar, and while improvements to drivetrain enhance the SX4 family numerically, the overall impression is one of "sporty" rather than "sport" in the 4-door, and "warm" rather than "hot" in the hatch.

"Sport" Packaging
In this segment, "sport" can mean as little as a vinyl applique or dealer-installed wing. To Suzuki's credit, on the SX4 Sedan it provides a well-integrated aero package, beautifully executed alloy wheels, 50-series rubber and well-controlled suspension. And with a laundry list of comfort/convenience features as standard, it remains well under $17,500. If shopping for an affordable, sporty car, regard the SX4 as your "Eureka" moment.

Outstanding Visibility
With so many vehicles - and especially small cars - sacrificing glass area for swoopy architecture, the greenhouse of the SX4 Sport is almost unique. Great for in-town maneuvers, and expansive for the over-the-road travel, the generous sightlines make car travel a far more engaging experience. An added benefit to the high roof, of course, is easier access to the Suzuki interior.

2011 Suzuki SX4 Details
Interior

At the time of its 2008 introduction, the SX4 Sport's interior was - at least in Suzuki showrooms - a revelation. And while updated in 2010, it remains only a satisfactory solution at an under $20K price point. The affordable segment is quickly moving on, with a host of new entries (Fiesta, Mazda2) joining a long list of updated - or soon-to-be-updated - established players. To its credit, the Sport and SportBack instrument panel is well organized, seating is supportive and rear seat cushions aren't compromised by the short-ish wheelbase. The 5-door gives you the versatility of an available 43 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seat folded, while the 4-door provides a very generous trunk - along with the security of a trunk.

Exterior

Suzuki claims the SX4's face was inspired by a traditional Japanese Kabuki mask. Regrettably, the greenhouse was inspired by - we think - the Popemobile, looking less-than-congruent when blended with the structure's relatively low beltline and penetrating hood. With that, we'll admit it provides generous interior room and great outward visibility - while the longish rear overhang (the 4-door is some 14 inches longer than the 5-door) provides an exceptionally large trunk. Credit also goes to the Sport's aero package, which (while added on) is well integrated into the overall shape. We're biased toward the 5-door SportBack, which suffers no visual imbalance, and is equally fun to drive.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Suzuki's value proposition is never more evident than in the standard content available throughout the SX4 catalog. Standard safety features are heavily emphasized, and fully appropriate to the young family target. Eight standard airbags, 4-wheels discs with ABS and electronic force distribution (Sport and SportBack) and tire pressure monitoring system (when was the last time you checked tire pressure?) add up to a feature-filled argument for its purchase. Add navigation in the Sport (all trims) and credible audio (with XM capability) and you have a proper environment for both the short commute and cross-country travel. We'd also provide a shout-out to the Sport's KYB shocks, attractive 17-inch alloys and competent 205/50-17 rubber.

Optional Equipment

On the 2011 Suzuki SX4 Sedan, the Anniversary Value Edition adds 17-inch alloys, rear discs, remote keyless entry and paddle shifters (CVT) to what is described as last year's "LE Popular Value Package." Sport SE offers all of the goodness of the SX4 Sedan, and adds rear discs, aero body kit, integrated navigation, cruise, the 17-inch alloys and available Bluetooth hands-free operation. In the SportBack, opt for Technology and you'll receive the integrated navigation, advanced information (when does your flight leave?) and a larger, more aggressive rear spoiler. (With all of the above features, you'll want to stay planted.)

Under the Hood

Suzuki's new-in-2010 2.0-liter four provided a slight improvement in power (to 150) and torque, while adding a much-needed element of smoothness and a small bump in fuel efficiency. We were less pleased by the move from a 5-speed manual to the current 6-speed, which is simply less precise. For those preferring to opt out of a clutch - some 97 percent of the buying public - the CVT constitutes a wholesale improvement over the earlier 4-speed automatic. With the SX4 you won't race for a title, but with its affordable purchase point you might actually see the title.

2.0-liter in-line 4
150 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
148 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (CVT)
140 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 (manual, Sportback), 23/30 (CVT, Sportback, Sport), 23/33 (manual, Sedan), 23/32 (manual, Sport), 25/32 (CVT, Sedan)

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2011 Suzuki SX4 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 278 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Smooth tight ride, accurate steering, short wheel

By on Thursday, August 20, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: TRADE UP 4MY SON'S ASPEC TL

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Smooth, pretty, modern, reliable, Japanese quality"

Cons: "Irritatingly small fuel tank on AWD, noisy >60mph"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"PROS-inexpensive but well built & relatively trouble free, beautiful modern styling, headlights & paint, tightly built squeak free dash & interior for this price point, cold well built quiet A/C & heater, reliable on demand but unnecessary AWD, modern DCI ignition system & throttle by wire, PW,PL,PS, TILT, A/C, Cruise, intermittent front & rear wipers w/washers, trip computer, continuous mileage meter, TMPS, 4whl disc, 4channel anti-lock brakes & AM/FM/MP3 player all standard, CONS- cabin is a bit noisy above 60 mph for conversation, no modern variable valve timing engine, traction & stability control not standard, aux input or bluetooth connection not standard, small fuel tank (mostly due to the rear drive shaft relief), small but reasonably comfortable stadium like rear seating, gang style TMPS instead of individual wheel report TMPS, no electric P/S, no Lithium battery, no upper control arm, no direct fuel injection (this is and old lie, true fuel injection IS directly into the combustion chamber like a diesel. Manufacturers have falsified the term 'fuel injection' for decades now & have only recently created the term 'direct fuel injection' to represent a new and improved version of what they should have been doing all along) Most rate this vehicle as if it were a car & judge her fuel mileage as such. It is not a car. It is a Micro Crossover & a heavy one in that it is a car and 1/2 due to the AWD. Her fuel economy is on point with a relatively heavy AWD Crossover of this size & weight. She is NOT a Corolla nor a Civic & should not be compared to such. Her drag coefficient & center of gravity are far too high to compete in the economy car class. If missing out on a few modern niceties, a small tank & a bit of noise at highway speeds don't bother you; then you will be happy with the SX4. I suggest that you run her tires above 40 psi to get the fuel mileage up & make her a bit more confident on the road. She doesn't have everything but she has more than she deserves for this price point. Suzuki has done very well here."

Great car!

By on Friday, July 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "see above."

Cons: "blind spots take a while to get used to."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great car! Small but holds a lot. Does super on ice and through snow. Fun, comfortable car. I love it! Highly recommend."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Nice little car, just a few small issues

By on Friday, July 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Really cute car, Mini-like appeal for a lot less $"

Cons: "So-so mpg, dash light problems"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Love my 2009 SX4 AWD, but here's the few problems: Only averages 24-26 mpg -- thought it would be way better for such a small car -- guess it's because of the AWD; Some of the dash lights (tire, check engine) seem to have a life of their own -- "check tire" lights never go off -- dealership removed an automatic tire sensor to correct it, but it's still on, so I put a piece of black tape over it so it doesn't distract me; Really small gas tank (10.5 gal.) so I have to fill up every 200 miles or so; Wish it had a plug-in for my iPod/iPad, but it doesn't and the dealer couldn't upgrade it (bought it used at 1 yr. old.)"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Solid and fun AWD performer, given the price.

By on Monday, June 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Good price, fun, peppy, great in slick conditions."

Cons: "Not a big hauler, back seat is tight, small trunk."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This a fun, peppy car to drive, although the interior is a bit noisy at highway speeds. The AWD performs well in slush and shallow or powdery snow, but once you are in heavy/wet snow deep enough to push a drift in front of you with the bumper, you're about done. I've consistently gotten better-than-quoted gas mileage, right from day one, and MPG improves from 5% on up to 10% if you feed it non-Ethanol fuel (proved several times on multiple trips). Check the current price-per-gallon of each fuel type in your area to see if this makes fiscal sense. I'm hoping my next vehicle is close to as good as this one has been."

8 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Good little car

By on Monday, April 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great AWD through snow"

Cons: "gas mileage and tank size"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Wonderfully, affordable AWD car. It cuts through snow with ease! I like the visibility it offers and the interior layout - with GPS. It doesn't get that good of gas mileage (23 highway) and has a small gas tank, which makes fill-ups frequent. It's also a bit underpowered. The car has been reliable, but some of the parts are cheap. For the money (overall) it's a nice car."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Great value. Only AWD in my price range. Satisfied

By on Sunday, April 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 114,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Space Traction Reliability"

Cons: "Build Quality. No Dealer Support."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great little commuter car: 70 early morning miles on backroads daily. Goes through amazing amounts of snow. Very controlled driving experience. Good pep, even with automatic transmission. Plastic-y interior with minor sympathetic buzzes after 6 years of rough roads. Very comfortable for its size - I stand 6' tall and have head and legroom better than my old Jeep Cherokee! Doesn't like deer strikes - like any modern car, front end is mostly plastic. Biggest negative is NO MORE SUZUKI in Michigan (or USA?) Thankful I got Warranty work all done before the pullout... As a used daily commuter this is the car for you - especially if you deal with snow."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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