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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 281 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Expensive Repairs Horrible Gas Mileage.

By on Saturday, February 06, 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."

Not bad

By on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"This vehicle doesn't appear to hold value well. Also the parts are hard to find and they are expensive. I average 28-30MPG. It's a reliable vehicle. I have not had any major problems with it yet."

14 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Has been a reliable great little car

By on Thursday, September 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Good in snow, fun to drive, dependable and cute!!"

Cons: "Can be tad bumpy ride in back seat but still roomy"

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

"My 2009 Suzuki has proven to be reliable, fun to drive and unbelievable in snow, just pushes through deep snow like it's not there! IT handles well, although back seat passengers tend to feel big bumps. No major problems, just regular upkeep to keep it purring. Someone mentioned needing to replace brakes often, but mine made it 29000, not as good as my other cars but I'm not complaining. I have a wonderful mechanic who talked me out of selling it when SUZUKI moved out of county, he said he's had no problem with parts and I'm glad I kept it. Mine had 31000 miles on it, I garage it, take care of it and have had people want to buy it from me for top price. Think I'll hang on to for a while til I get the new car urge."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Smooth tight ride, accurate steering, short wheel

By on Thursday, August 20, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: TRADE UP 4MY SON'S ASPEC TL

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Smooth, pretty, modern, reliable, Japanese quality"

Cons: "Irritatingly small fuel tank on AWD, noisy >60mph"

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

"PROS-inexpensive but well built & relatively trouble free, beautiful modern styling, headlights & paint, tightly built squeak free dash & interior for this price point, cold well built quiet A/C & heater, reliable on demand but unnecessary AWD, modern DCI ignition system & throttle by wire, PW,PL,PS, TILT, A/C, Cruise, intermittent front & rear wipers w/washers, trip computer, continuous mileage meter, TMPS, 4whl disc, 4channel anti-lock brakes & AM/FM/MP3 player all standard, CONS- cabin is a bit noisy above 60 mph for conversation, no modern variable valve timing engine, traction & stability control not standard, aux input or bluetooth connection not standard, small fuel tank (mostly due to the rear drive shaft relief), small but reasonably comfortable stadium like rear seating, gang style TMPS instead of individual wheel report TMPS, no electric P/S, no Lithium battery, no upper control arm, no direct fuel injection (this is and old lie, true fuel injection IS directly into the combustion chamber like a diesel. Manufacturers have falsified the term 'fuel injection' for decades now & have only recently created the term 'direct fuel injection' to represent a new and improved version of what they should have been doing all along) Most rate this vehicle as if it were a car & judge her fuel mileage as such. It is not a car. It is a Micro Crossover & a heavy one in that it is a car and 1/2 due to the AWD. Her fuel economy is on point with a relatively heavy AWD Crossover of this size & weight. She is NOT a Corolla nor a Civic & should not be compared to such. Her drag coefficient & center of gravity are far too high to compete in the economy car class. If missing out on a few modern niceties, a small tank & a bit of noise at highway speeds don't bother you; then you will be happy with the SX4. I suggest that you run her tires above 40 psi to get the fuel mileage up & make her a bit more confident on the road. She doesn't have everything but she has more than she deserves for this price point. Suzuki has done very well here."

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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.)"

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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