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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 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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