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2012 Suzuki SX4

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2012 Suzuki SX4 Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2012

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 the SX4

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.

Interior Flexibility
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.

Armrests
We appreciate the little things in vehicles that make driving more comfortable, and when traveling long distances, armrests help reduce driver fatigue.

2012 Suzuki SX4 Details
Interior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

2.0-liter inline-4
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)

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2012 Suzuki SX4 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 277 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

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."

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.)"

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."

8 people out of 9 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

Excellent AWD vehicle.

By on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good mileage, great on snow, comfortable"

Cons: "No longer imported"

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

"An excellent small vehicle with all-wheel drive. Gets excellent mileage, rides very comfortably, and is well-behaved in snow and on ice. Very roomy for a compact. Reliability has been excellent. 100,000 mile transferable warrantee."

5 people out of 9 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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