By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 5.6
Suzuki's compact SX4 comes in three versions: An all-wheel-drive hatchback called the Crossover; a slightly shorter, front-drive hatch called the SportBack; and a sedan that was introduced in 2008. When the Suzuki SX4 was launched in 2006, it was a breath of fresh air in the compact hatch segment, featuring all-wheel-drive and commendable cargo space for a price well under $20,000. But six years later the car has changed little and lots of highly appealing competition has arrived, including the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Mazda2 and the Kia Soul and Rio5. If there is one thing the aging SX4 has going for it, it's that the Crossover version can claim the title of lowest-priced all-wheel-drive car in America.
If you want to pay the lowest price for a new car with all-wheel-drive, the SX4 Crossover might appeal to you. All SX4 models offer good cargo-carrying capacity for their size and stand out from competitors not only by their looks but from the sheer fact that not as many people buy them.
Purchasing a Suzuki means buying a lesser-known vehicle with a smaller dealer network, and that means fewer dedicated service centers in comparison to other brands. While the SX4 Crossover is the lowest-priced all-wheel-drive vehicle in the U.S., the Subaru Impreza 5-door can be had for less than $1,000 more and offers more size and better fuel economy. Meanwhile, less-powerful but still fun-to-drive competitors such as the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and Mazda2 offer better fuel economy, as much or better cargo capacity and lower starting prices.
2012 SX4 models carry over with minor changes from 2011, when they were mostly unchanged from the 2010 model year that saw a slight power increase and interior modifications. Updates for 2012 include an upgraded Garmin navigation system and standard electronic stability control on SX4 sedans. Base sedan models now get rear disc brakes like other SX4 models, and the LE automatic version has a slight improvement in fuel economy. Two new color choices are available for 2012 SX4 models: Brilliant Blue Metallic and Crimson Red Metallic.
Driving Impressions Because of their small size, all Suzuki SX4s are easy to maneuver and park. The Sport version of the Sedan and the SportBack offer relatively sporty handling, but these are...not tarmac burners. With its standard all-wheel-drive, the Crossover feels capable in wet and snowy conditions. Its intelligent All-Wheel-Drive (i-AWD) system has three settings: One puts total power to the front wheels and is said to improve fuel economy, another automatically puts power to the rear wheels when traction is lost, and the third is a lock mode that sends consistent power to the front and rear wheels for use in especially slippery conditions.
SX4 Crossover and SportBack models feature rear seats that not only fold, but also tumble forward. The tumble feature opens up interior space and allows this little vehicle to swallow quite a bit of cargo.
We appreciate the little things in vehicles that make driving more comfortable, and when traveling long distances, armrests help reduce driver fatigue.
The SX4 in Crossover and SportBack forms offers a flexible interior with 60/40 split-folding rear seats that also tumble forward. With the rear seats folded, there is a bigger-than-expected 43 cubic feet of cargo space. Up front, a tilt (but not telescoping) steering wheel is standard across the lineup and is available with leather wrapping. All SX4 models can seat up to five passengers, but keep in mind these are small cars, so the rear seats are not exactly spacious for adults. Steering wheel-mounted controls for audio and cruise control are available on higher trims of the sedan and Crossover, and standard on the SportBack. The simple gauges and instrumentation are well lit, easy to read and still fairly fresh looking. Bluetooth hands-free technology is optional. Driver and front-seat passenger comfort is improved with the built-in armrests.Exterior
Though six years old, the SX4 Crossover still looks relatively modern, boasting a short, wedge-like profile with plenty of windows. The front-drive-only SX4 SportBack is about an inch shorter than the Crossover and has slightly lower ground clearance. You might know it as the economy car tapped by the U.S. version of "Top Gear" for its Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment. The SX4 Sedan remains quite bland with little to distinguish itself, but the Sport version has a, well, sportier appearance.
Standard equipment on all SX4 models includes a rear heater duct, pollen filter, halogen headlights, ABS, 12-volt power outlet, dual front vanity mirrors and power windows, locks and mirrors.
A navigation unit, carbon-fiber door-sill trim and XM satellite radio are among the relatively short list of interior upgrades available on the 2012 Suzuki SX4. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is optional on the Crossover and SportBack versions. A roof rack is available across the board, and Crossover versions can be fitted with a ski/snowboard holder or cargo box. The Sport version of the sedan has a sport-tuned suspension, spoilers and larger wheels and tires.
All 2012 Suzuki SX4 models are powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that puts out 150 horsepower when connected to a 6-speed manual transmission or 148 for vehicles with the continuously-variable automatic transmission.
150 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
148 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (CVT automatic)
140 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Crossover: 22 /30 mpg (manual transmission), 23/29 mpg (automatic)
SportBack: 22/30 mpg (manual), 23/30 mpg (automatic)
Sedan: 23/33 mpg (manual), 25/32 mpg (automatic)
Sport: 23/32 mpg (manual), 23/30 mpg (automatic)
An SX4 Sedan can, in theory, be had for around $14,000, but that model must be specially ordered and lacks air conditioning and even a radio. A better-equipped but still basic LE version of the sedan is a little over $16,000. A base SportBack is around $17,500, and the all-wheel-drive Crossover is just under $18,000, including destination. A fully-loaded SX4 Crossover can surpass $24,000. These prices are competitive, but not the lowest in the compact and subcompact car segments. Before making your purchase, be sure and check the kbb.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for a 2012 Suzuki SX4. The SX4 residual values are near the bottom for this segment.
By jffl82 (PA) on Monday, December 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "good gas milage, good city car"
Cons: "terrible control in wet and snowy roads"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased one used less then a week ago. The Tire pressure monitor was on they said that it was fixed when I took it and that the light would go out. It didn't. The traction control system make a boom when it kicks in. I followed the plow truck out the road and spun tire the entire way with the AWD system engaged. also AWD system handling is terrible. I have driven many trucks and SUV's in my life and none have been this bad on back roads."
By BMW-bound (FL) on Tuesday, November 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Dependable, fits into small spaces"
Cons: "Over pri$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