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2012 Suzuki SX4

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2012 Suzuki SX4 Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 2/23/2012


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 It 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.

Favorite Features

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.

Vehicle 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 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.

Notable 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)

Pricing Notes

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.

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