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2011 Suzuki SX4

Overview
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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 270 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

Best descion I made

By on Saturday, February 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

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
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "sporty, value for price, gas mileage is great"

Cons: "gas tank smaller than I like"

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

"I bought my 2009 SX4 new from the dealer. I have loved it from the start. It handles wonderfully in 2wheel or 4wheel drive. The wheelbase is short enough to make the turns I need but feels stable going down the road. I have never had a problem mechanically. The 4 wheel drive gets me to work on snowy highways without trouble. Never have gotten stuck. The back seats will fit an average adult without problem. I am short and I can adjust the front seat comfortably. The spoiler and roof racks make it look sporty. Excellent gas mileage."

Great Car.

By on Thursday, February 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 146,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"I've had mine for a couple years now. I drive an hour to work one way everyday. but that car still acts like it is nearly-new. no major problems ever. the j20 engine is great. Very reliable. I love it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

good vehicle for the price

By on Friday, January 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

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
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "overall dependable"

Cons: "cvt transmission"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"a surpizingly good vehicle for the price. overall I have had good luck with this car. excellent for what it is"

15 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Best Sedan for the Money

By on Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "gas, trunk, cheap to fix"

Cons: "not big enough to 3 kids with 2 car seats."

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

"I bought my 2011 Sx4 new. drive great in snow. i drove it all over the US with no issue. just a regular oil change every 3 months."

7 people out of 16 found this review helpful

New driver, first car, works for all my needs

By on Saturday, December 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, cute design, easy clutch"

Cons: "oil light doesn't come on, little engine power"

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

"Parents bought the car new in December of 2008. They were looking for an inexpensive AWD car, and the SX4 Hatchback fit all their requirements. I received the car in April at 90,000 miles as my first car. At 80,000 miles, the engine blew up so we had to replace it. Later, we learned that the oil light does not come on when the oil is low, which then caused the engine to blow up. Also, the engine loses a lot of power when you add passengers, I often find myself going up hills in third gear when I have friends in the car. When riding solo, the car rockets, kind of. The engine isn't powerful enough to win races, but it has enough to launch from a stop. It's a kick to drive, and I highly recommend the stick- shift. The trunk has a lot of space, and can carry almost anything I want, especially when I fold the rear seats up. I enjoy the dashboard, I think it's stylish, and the radio works well. I did put in an iPod plug in, however, and it is my main source of music when I drive. The hatchback model is super cute, and I love driving around in it. As a first car, it is really great, and I don't have many complaints. My parents feel comfortable with me driving in it. I would buy this car again if it came with a much better engine with a lot more power, but everything else is great."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

This car is awesome in the snow great to handle

By on Thursday, December 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "fair price great to drive"

Cons: "no storage space like console"

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

"This is an awesome awd car great in the snow the gas tank is way to small and the back seat not to roomy but I will keep it I live in upstate NY and love it"

3 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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