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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 New for 2011

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 287 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

LOVE MY CAR!

By on Thursday, June 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Versatile,Durable,Reliable,Great Price,Good Milage"

Cons: "Visibility"

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

"I love my cute sporty SX4. I love having a hatchback, of course it is optional. I've always found Suzuki to be very reliable. I do a lot of driving and I find it very comfortable. Plus I can fit 2 car seats in the back for both my kids. I love the car seat hooks. They are easy to get to. I've had to put my kids in my mom's car and my sister and that is such a pain. The seats fold down in the back so when I need to haul something like at T.V. it is totally do able. Very versatile car. Has met all my needs and all my expectations.Great Gas Mileage (I'm at 31 mpg) I bought the car new, I'm the only driver and I'm currently at over 115,000 miles. If I had a con it would be the Visibility, I have trouble looking out the passenger window when I have a passenger, and the side windows in the front have thick frames. Doesn't bother me on the interstate, but on those curvy country roads, it tends to be a bit of an obstruction. Love the large side mirrors!"

excellent car, my third suzuki

By on Friday, June 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,831

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: "wonderful car"

Cons: "none"

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

"the Suzuki is the best, have been without much trouble, last of my three has 275 miles, with little repairs, have two more a 2008 and a 2009 and they are mine to another 300,0000 miles. seems the good stuff may be affected because people relate it to a motorcycle and the lies you cannot get parts is hysterical, they are easy or can use GM"

great little car

By on Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great looking red sport model"

Cons: "none"

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

"this little red beauty has all the goodies, paddle shifters, 2.0 4 cyl engine, great looks, sport wheels."

Good car

By on Thursday, March 31, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 139,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "very dependable,"

Cons: "no close dealerships for specialized maintenance,"

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

"For the price, it's a very good vehicle. Gas mileage is OK (about 27 in town, 30 on long trips). It's not very comfortable for passengers on extended trips due to no arm rest, but there is plenty of leg room in the back seat. I've not had any trouble with the car in the 8 years I've owned it, except the recalls that were fixed. All the maintenance I've done is an oil change every 3000 miles and new tires. It probably needs a brake job, but I usually just gear down rather than use the brakes, except for stopping of course."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Excellent value

By on Thursday, March 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Snappy car, easy on gas, comfortable"

Cons: "no dealerships in many areas, airbag recall exists"

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

winter muck on my Suzuki SX4

"I have had this car for 8 years now and it has never needed any repairs whatsoever. I have only just slapped tires and brakes on it as needed and kept up with my oil changes. Mine has 2 wheel drive and is an automatic sedan version. It averages about 28 mpg with semi-aggressive driving. Jumping out in traffic on the highway and the occasional high speed pass doesn't dent the 28 mpg too much. It has the power to drive aggressively. It is not a sports car, but you don't have to turn off the AC to pass someone (like with many weaker 4 cylinder cars). It handles great, cornering quite well with no leaning. The tires are pretty wide for such a compact sedan, which is coupled nicely with its finely tuned suspension. The four wheel disk brakes can stop it on a dime. It drives well in snow and on icy roads, with a very smart braking system that is not too invasive and yet keeps it pretty straight even on slippery surfaces. The trunk space is ridiculous. It almost doesn't make sense when you look at it - it seems too big for the car. It is quite deep, accommodating suit cases in their upright position. The seats do not fold down in the sedan, but you wouldn't need them too as there is more than enough space to haul a lot of cargo. It sits kind of high which gives it a slightly awkward look. I compared this to the similarly priced Mazda 3. The biggest difference is the head space. The roof is just enough taller than the Mazda 3 that a 6 foot tall person can comfortably ride around and go over speed bumps without knocking their heads on the ceiling. The driver sits in something like a cockpit, made kinda weird by the strange double A pillars. This is pretty cool, though once you get used to it. The windshield is angled pretty low so rocks and such bounce off without causing damage. Compared to many cars, the windshield can put up with a lot of abuse. I have yet to replace it, whereas my old Chevy Aveo had it's windshield replaced twice due to rocks. It has an efficient cruising speed of around 75 mph. Going over that on a level highway will reduce the mpg to about 26 mpg. At about 40 mph one can get as much as 35 mpg. So if scooting around the suburbs is your task, you will get great gas mileage. There is an obvious trade off for performance with this car. The four cylinder should be able to get better average mpg than 28. But with more horsepower and torque at your disposal, you end up driving it kind of hard (which this car makes pretty fun). A good hyper-mileage driver could probably squeeze 35 mpg out of the car and a lead foot teenager would get about 25 mpg. The seats are quite comfortable and have worn well over the years. Only a few snags in the mesh here and there, but the general shape, a shallow bucket seat of sorts, is still pretty much as it was when I bought it. The ONLY downside is that Suzuki dealerships are hard to find so any recalls are hard to address. There is something to do with the passenger air bag and the seat sensor that needs to be addressed, but without a dealership there is not much you can do there. Aftermarket parts are plentiful and pretty cheap. I replaced the front calipers without spending a fortune (turned out I warped the rotors and the calipers were fine). A good set of performance rotors and mid-level brakes, combined with the front calipers, ran me less than $200 and were quite easy to install."

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

winter muck on my Suzuki SX4

Expensive Repairs Horrible Gas Mileage.

By on Saturday, February 6, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Sturdy"

Cons: "Expensive parts and terrible gas mileage."

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

"Yes, this car is cute, yes, you get four wheel drive, BUT the drive shaft WILL break in this car, it will cost you $800 or more. and this part breaks constantly I am approaching #3. This part CANNOT be rebuilt. There are NON-Stop issues with the tires, my car's studs and lug nuts are worn out, some have, even broken, from the constant tire issues. IF you like a sturdy car, with poor gas mileage, and getting nickled and dimed for parts, by all means buy this car. Also, this car is LOUD."

12 people out of 19 found this review helpful

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