By on January 10, 2007

front2.jpg

What the Hell’s a Suzuki’s SX4? I know it’s my job to know about these things, but I swear the test car greeting me upon my return from Old Blighty was the first one I’ve ever seen. If first impressions last, this tall, decidedly Japanese runabout says Subaru Forrester meets Scion xA on the suburban side of town. (In keeping with the parlance of our times, Suzuki shuns the “w” word and calls the SX4 a crossover.) A quick walk around revealed four big wheels, four big disc brakes, a Prius style double A-pillar and an AWD badge. Hmmm…? Could this sub-radar Suzuki be a sleeper?

Every other passenger vehicle in Suzuki’s domestic lineup dorkidly screams nerd; the Reno, Aerio and Forenza all look pasty, awkward and four-eyed. The almost-but-not-quite butch SX4 offers a clear break from its geeky brothers, and a much appreciated change of direction for the otherwise bland brand. The SX4’s sharp proboscis confidently displays the samurai-slash family logo. The handsomely sculpted hood is reminiscent of Audi’s latest TT. Despite its lack of an intercooler, the lower-level air intake is quite EVO-ish. Not bad at all.

side1.jpgFrom the side, the SX4’s profile offers a strange amalgamation of standard issue sedan sheetmetal and seductive designs cues lifted from a certain retro-British roadster. Clock the SX4’s blistered black plastic wheel arches and the rear wheels pushed out to the corners. From the back, black plastic wraps around the faux-chrome lower-bumper. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, there’s a MINI blushing somewhere.

The SX4’s interior is resolutely lower-middle class; no effort was made to hide or disguise its inexpensive materials. And? The SX4’s designers used their plastic palette to create a cabin that’s a model of clarity and ergonomic ease. From a handsome, common sense radio head unit to funky air vents to a right-sized steering wheel, the SX4 proves that cost constriction is no barrier to good design. Sure, the helm and stick-shift are Rubbermaid, and the seats offer meager support or comfort. But this $15k vehicle is no penalty box.

int3.jpgSuch modest money buys gadgets and gizmos aplenty: AC, six-disc in dash CD, daytime running lights, intermittent wipers, rear wiper, power locks with remote entry, power windows with driver auto-down, a exterior thermometer, four-mode trip computer, 60/40 split folding rear seat, ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), six airbags and driver selectable AWD. An old S-Class sold less for more.

The SX4’s on-demand AWD system is a particularly pukka party trick, reminiscent of Subarus of yore. For daily duty, the SX4 is a front-driver. Flip a switch near the handbrake and i-AWD kicks in. In this mode, 95% of the SX4’s torque is routed to the front wheels. Should either of the fronts lose purchase, up to 50% of the power is sent to the back wheels. If you get stuck in sand (posing for the requisite PR lifestyle surfer dude pictures), you can switch to full-time four wheel-drive and lock up the transfer case for an even split.

And if you have to split in a hurry, the SX4 is a corner carver par excellence. The base model’s blessed with fat 205 tires (the same size as a BMW 328i’s hoops) and a smartly-tuned chassis; the Sport version gains stability control (unique to this class). Surprisingly, body roll and grip are never an issue. Even better, the SX4’s rack and pinion steering is a revelation; the tiniest tiller inputs deliver an instant change of direction. Running in i-AWD I tackled my favorite corners as fast as I could in my (gulp) Subaru WRX.

rear1.jpgAnd the hits keep happening. With a 2.0-liter DOHC I4 harnessing 143 scrappy little fillies, this little Suzy has some guts. To gain access to the mill’s 136 pound-feet of torque, your hand never leaves the stick shift knob but A) you’re only fighting against 2800lbs. and B) it’s fun. Short gearing ensures that the engine is constantly on the boil, while the user friendly clutch makes downshifting a breeze. OK, you can’t call a zero to sixty in 8.3 seconds car fast, but it ain’t slow neither.

There are downsides. The SX4’s ride, especially on the highway, is rocky and worrisome (blame the torture beam rear suspension). Though the Suzuki’s engine note isn’t especially dissonant, wind and engine noise are intrusive at speed. The high-pitched squeaks that tells you to buckle up, close the door and turn off the damn headlights are skull-splittingly awful. And 80mph puts over 4000rpm on the clock; no car is more in need of a sixth-gear.

For roughly the same money as a Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit or Nissan Versa, the Suzuki SX4 provides a larger, more powerful wagon — “crossover” with AWD, distinctive styling and hoonery. If Suzuki creates more driver friendly vehicles like the SX4, they’ll finally be building a brand worth remembering.

[Suzuki provided the vehicle, insurance and a tank of gas.]

Listen to JL and RF discuss the SX4 below.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

118 Comments on “Review: 2007 Suzuki SX4...”


  • avatar
    bestertester

    a well-balanced review that makes important points: cars don’t have to be superfast to be fun, and don’t have to be expensive to make you feel good.

    suzuki already made that point over here in europe with the new swift, which offers most of the delights of a mini without the annoying retro-ness.

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    The SX4 sounds like a nice alternative to a Mini, for less. Minus the 1960s imagery of course, which is perhaps part of the Mini’s price of admission.

  • avatar
    seldomawake

    My first car was a Suzuki. I have never quite overcome the shock of driving with the cheapest plastics ever to grace a car. To this day, I will go the extra mile for a nice interior. In fact, it’s an important factor in my buying decision.

    I suspect that a large number of old Suzuki buyers become Audi buyers.

  • avatar
    1984

    It’s a Fiat Sedici…

    • 0 avatar
      rp2s

      No, actually, the Fiat Sedici is an SX4.  Designed and engineered in Japan, external styling by ItalDesign.  I believe in the UK you can get it equipped with a Fiat 1.6L diesel.  All SX4′s sold in North America are made in Japan, others are built in Romania I believe (not sure though).

  • avatar
    virages

    Awsome! one of my early cars was a Suzuki Swift GT. I loved it! It was fun to drive, wasn’t perfect but was fun for what we payed for it at the time, $2600 used.

    Fun car, gets good milage and affordable that is what I look for.

    I have to say that this is a case where the cheap materials are a case of you get what you pay, but at least the buttons and switches are layed out well. I am strictly middle class at the moment, and I am certainly not entitled to leather wrapped steering wheels and chrome shifters. But I will look for a well layed out interior and good mechanicals. This looks sensibly fun! Waahoo!

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Yes it is a Fiat Sedici. Designed in Italy by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign group.. I am not suprised, this is a cool loookin ride. I was wondering how a lowly cheap little people carrier got such good looks. Now I know.

    I would look at the ones I see around here out of the corner of my eyes, hoping that no one would catch me looking at a -gasp- suzuki!! But now i can say, to tsk-tsking car buffs that it is an Italian design, and THATS what I am looking at, and watch them wither. HAHA.

    But do i want one more than, say, a new Golf, Mazda 3? hmmmmm.

  • avatar
    noley

    Good review, Jonny.

    I normally can’t stand these little SUV-lets but the styling on this one is nice. Then I see it is a Fiat Sedici from by Giugiaro’s ItalDesign and I know why it looks right. Giuriaro seems to know things about proportions that elude other designers. I’ve always been partial to his designs and my daily driver, a Saab 9000, is from his drawing table.

    Now if they put in some good seats it could be a really nice little car. Why do manufacturers usually go cheap when it comes to seats? It can’t be all that much more expensive to put in decent seats!

  • avatar
    dolo54

    well it’s cheaper than a new mazda 3 and nothing in that price range has awd. that’s actually pretty cool. still i think they need to work on that styling a bit, but it’s an improvement. the logo on suzukis is always too big. that samurai s just doesn’t work for cars the way it does for crotch rockets.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Wow…I had to check to be sure this wasn’t April 1 or something. I have never heard of (nor seen) one of these yet.

    The biggest thing working against Suzuki is Birmingham’s resident car sales wack-job, “Suzukiman” who promises 0 down and $99 a month on any new Suzuki. The fine print indicates that this is for the first three months, after which you will be making full-sized payments. Since this guy gets better rotation than any other car advertiser–and since Suzuki doesn’t seem to run national, corporate ads–the brand will be forever tainted here as the sub-Kia option for people with credit scores beginning with “4″.

    Still, glad to see the underdog bring a decent product for their segment. Cheap cars don’t have to be bland and crappy!

  • avatar
    Scottie

    please don’t compare the SX4 to the suzuki badged daewoos, and call them brothers. You make Suzuki lovers cry.

    btw, why doesn’t suzuki give the US another Small SUV. My samurai is getting old

  • avatar
    Sid Vicious

    Wow. Seems like a lot of vehicle for the money.

    I searched for a Swift GT years back for a beater – couldn’t find one anywhere. 100HP in a car weighing under a ton had to be fun.

    Is the cornering really THAT good? This thing might actually justify a trip to the dealer for a test drive.

    And BTW – on many cars – the seats are the second most expensive “system” after the motor. (Meaning more than the transmission.) Probably not in this car, but in higher end vehicles when you start adding 8 motors plus heaters to each seat, it adds up. Reportedly the heated/cooled seats in the 2003 Navigator were over $1,000/piece.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    I always route for Suzuki. The Swift GT was quite a little sleeper with some personality. This is a nice, clean design that is slightly muscular in a natural way. With AWD, there really isn’t much that can compare at this price. Suzukis tend not to obtain good gas mileage from recent reviews I have read (Reno, SX4, Grand Vitara) and tend to have less-than refined engines. Anyone know of reliability on Suzukis these days? I wish Honda would have made this!

    Noley,
    The 9000 has always been my favorite Saab. Sweet look and practical.

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    What is the MPG (e.p.a est. or better, real world) on this puppy?

  • avatar
    ash78

    EPA: 24/30 for the AWD version with auto. The manual is a couple notches worse…

  • avatar
    Scottie

    The Reno has Sub par fuel Economy, because its a Daewoo. The Aerio is a Suzuki, if i remember was rated low to mid 30′s. which isn’t that bad because the car is pretty big in comparison to a yaris (and its quite dated)

    Suzuki Reliability like in the past, isn’t particularly bad nor excellent, nothing to fear. You treat it well, it will treat you well.

  • avatar

    As a past owner of a Geo Metro (aka The Mousecar), this review brings back a lot of memories: A cheap interior that can be desirable, nice performance out of low horsepower, fun handling in traffic.

    This car was definitely on my short list for a next new ride, and the review just kicked it up a couple of notches.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Nice review and podcast. The word that Jonny used to describe the interior in the podcast – “honest” – really rings true here. Mies van der Rohe would approve.

  • avatar

    I’ve been wanting to drive one of these, but the two dealers nearest me closed down. One is still shown as a dealer on the Suzuki site, but when I go by there they have no Suzukis.

    As I told a Suzuki rep at the auto show, these dealers picked an odd time to stop selling Suzukis, as the new SX4 and XL7 strike me as good vehicles.

    Can’t say I see the resemblance to an MX-5 or TT, but my current eyeglass prescription is three or four years old, may be time for new lenses.

    The SX4 sport even has standard stability control. Together with the AWD this should make it an excellent choice for winter driving.

    I’m not collecting reliability data on this one yet, but will if I can round up a couple dozen owners.

    My site’s page for the SX4:

    http://www.truedelta.com/models/SX4.php

  • avatar
    Alex Rashev

    WOW.

    2800lbs with AWD and that much space? VW Rabbit just got owned. I don’t know what’s so crossover about it, though, looks like a spacious hatchback to me.

    I wonder where all these compact fastback wagons went. AWD Sentra was awesome. Are people that scared of the word “Wagon”?…

  • avatar
    ash78

    We need to find a way to ditch “Station Wagon” terminology. It’s a century-old term, means basically nothing today, but evokes the Griswold’s road trip to many people.

    I’m cool with Variant, Avant, Combi, 5-door, Touring, or Estate. Or make something up.

    F*** “crossover.” That whole segment name sounds like a 12-step program for SUVaholics.

  • avatar

    designs cues lifted from a certain retro-British roadster.

    Not to be a pedant, but a roadster is a 2-seater with no roof. The Mini is many things, but it isn’t one of those.

  • avatar
    BimmerHead

    For the price, this looks like a great vehicle… probably the only compelling option for a new car in the same price range as a Honda Fit.

    I think I read that Suzuki may be doing a higher HP (perhaps turbo) version of this. (or maybe that was C&D being hopeful).

    Either way, Suzuki has a marketing challenge ahead of them to make this a success. I think most people have Suzuki off of their radar screens. This will hopefully represent a new Blip.

  • avatar
    nino

    Suzuki won the 2006 International “Super 1600″ Rally Championship for Manufacturers with this car and plans to enter this car in three World Rally Championship events in 2007 in advance of a full assault on the championship in 2008.

    The analogies with the Subaru WRX are appropo as Suzuki plans to offer a rally based version of the SX4 for sale in 2008.

    http://www.suzuki-wrc.com/e/index.html

  • avatar

    I took a good look at all the SX4 models at a car show in Sept. Even the base model would make a great second car.
    “Torture beam” — loved that one Johnny.

    If you think this has Mini styling cues, you haven’t seen the “real” Swift.
    http://www.suzukiplusz.hu/m_arlista/suzuki-swift-nagy.jpg

  • avatar
    GlennS

    Not to be a pedant, but a roadster is a 2-seater with no roof. The Mini is many things, but it isn’t one of those.

    Even though I can read (understand) most anything written for general-public consumption, no other automotive site sends me to Google to look up words as frequently as this site does! I mean this in a positive sense: The authors & commenters language skills here at TTAC sometimes suprise.

    Example: pedant => Wikipedia says: “A pedant, or pædant, is a formalist or precisionist in teaching or scholarship. The corresponding female noun is pedantess. The term comes from the French pédant…or its source Italian pedante “teacher,” schoolmaster, pedant.”

    Who knew?
    (Not yours truly, obviously.)

    Anyway, I’ve been wondering if the Suzuki SX4 might be a vehicle to consider when my wifes’ 2000 Suabru wagon needs to replaced at some future point in time.

    Thanks for the review. :-)

  • avatar
    durailer

    Great review Jonny. You didn’t let the car’s inadequacies overshadow it’s selling points, given Suzuki’s design intent and market for this model. This car proves that you can have fun in a daily driver, all within a budget. I’m impressed that Suzuki gives us 3-mode AWD, pleasing design cues throughout, and a kit of creature comforts -all for $15k.

    I wonder if the “torture beam” could be dampened with the right tires -was it equipped with run flats?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    It really does handle that well.

    Drive one. You’ll like it.

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    Hey GlennS:

    The real sense of “pedant” as used above is “pedantic”, meaning overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning/Being showy of one’s knowledge, often in a boring manner… Often used to describe a person who emphasizes his/her knowledge through the use of vocabulary
    (wikki)

    Also, regarding looking stuff up, if you have or can get Mozilla’s free Firefox web browser, any time you come across a word (or anything else) you want to look up, you can just right click on it and a menu pops up with “search web for ____” which is a FANTASTIC feature.

    Rock on.

  • avatar
    Lesley Wimbush

    I just spent three weeks with the SX4 – two with the AWD, one with the base model FWD. Took the AWD waaaay up north through Sudbury and past Elliott Lake and came away with a great respect and fondness for its handling of rabbly twisty roads. 1400 kms in two days also left me with a deep appreciation of its meager appetite too – I spent less than $125 on that trip.
    The tall profile made it vulnerable to strong winds, had to keep both hands on the wheel on wide open major highways. Having seen pics of the Rally bred version, I can imagine it would handle really well with a similar drop kit.
    Of the two – the FWD had quicker throttle response and felt lighter.
    Totally agree with you on the need for sixth gear – I found myself constantly wanting to shift.
    Also… the turn signals are far too quiet. :))
    Great review Jonny.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Lesley brings up an interesting point or two.

    We don’t get a “base” FWD model — all SX$s in the US (she’s in Canada) are AWD.

    As far as fuel economy goes… I was driving around like a jackass 50% of the time (dropping the clutch) and moving at 80mph the rest (er… so maybe that’s 100%).

    I saw 24.2mpg

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    Jonny:

    Apparently there’s an optional automatic. Did you check that one out? If so, any impressions?

  • avatar
    Brendan McAleer

    Lesley, e-mailed you.

    JL, sounds like this car means Suzuki is making fun small cars again. it’s what they’re best at, and I too (like most people on the board) have fond memories of the old Swift GTi (or GT after VW sued ‘em).

    Actually, I once rode in a 200hp Suzuki Forsa. Gah.

  • avatar
    Luther

    Jonny: you mentioned the engine noise was intrusive but was the engine smooth and free-revving ?

    8.3 seconds to 60 is not bad at all.

    This seems like a very good buy especially with the 7 year, 100K mile, no deductible, fully transferable warranty.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    According to Edmunds, the auto hits 60mph in…wait for it… 11 seconds. I didn’t drive the auto.

    8.3 might also be a bit optomistic for the manual. That would be a full second faster than the Ford Fusion with the I4 that I’m still in love with. And… the Ford is only $2,000 more. Still, the SX4′s engine is smooth enough and likes to be in the 4000-5000rpm band most of all.

    Actually, because of the gearing, that’s where it will live most of its life.

  • avatar
    Lesley Wimbush

    I was lucky enough to have a shakedown ride in the 2004 Suzuki Swift+ rally car that won the P3 Canadian Championship – it was tight and nimble as a flea! So I was really eager to get into the SX4. I’m hoping to get one as an official car (as I did with the Caliber R/T) this fall – it would be a blast.
    I drove the automatic at CCOTY, and while I did like the car, rated it second, behind the new Rabbit which came with stick. It’s just so much quicker in a manual. Although the auto wasn’t a total slushbox.
    I too found the engine somewhat … buzzy at high revs.
    My AWD press car was out of alignment and developed a steadily worsening steering wheel vibration – as well as a blown speaker. The second car had none of these problems.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Lesley — could you confirm or deny my impression of the handling? I found it to be way, way above what you would except in a $14,999 car.

    The SX4 really had the moves.

  • avatar
    Lesley Wimbush

    Absolutely! I wanted the little bugger. The northern roads are unbelievably rugged – many of them hug sheer rock face, with guardrail and water on the other side, so I really had a chance to push it, with and without AWD engaged. It was tight! I actually laughed out loud a few times driving it.
    (check out these rock walls!
    http://www.dodgetrucks.org/home/lesley/SUD2.jpg
    http://www.dodgetrucks.org/home/lesley/SUD4.jpg

    Although.. did you find the revs took a while to go down – maybe a drive-by-wire throttle thing?

    The base model was quicker to respond – a lot quicker. Probably a weight issue. It threw me a bit… no power keyfob so it took me a while to find the bugger in the fleet parking lot, lol. Usually I press the button and look to see which one beckons.

  • avatar

    I’ve uploaded three of the pics I took of the SX4 at the show.. two of them were taken in a dark tent with bright sun pouring through a the window so excuse the halo effect.

    http://www.onthehoist.com/pics/ttac/sx4-1.jpg
    http://www.onthehoist.com/pics/ttac/sx4-2.jpg (interior..insert cupholder joke here..)
    http://www.onthehoist.com/pics/ttac/sx4-3.jpg

  • avatar
    Seth

    decidedly Japanese runabout

    This is lame johnny…. You need to do more research first. A layman like me know that this sx4 is a carbon copy of fiat vehicle (cant remember the name) and was designed in (drumroll please) ITALY.

  • avatar

    @Seth…this was discussed above. ^^

  • avatar
    nweaver

    “Suzuki makes CARS?!?”

    One problem suzuki has is it really is such a small player. They make great motorcycles, however…

  • avatar
    Seth

    Guess I have too much time on my hands..

    This is kissing cousin of fiat sedici minus the diesel(http://paultan.org/archives/2006/04/12/2006-fiat-sedici/)

    designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign company

    sorry if this was discussed before

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    i love my scion xB…more room better gas mialge…though i would love AWD…deff a nice car for this class

  • avatar
    Luther

    #
    Manufacturer
    2006 sales in units
    % change

    1
    GM
    4,065,341
    -8.7%

    2
    Ford (incl. PAG)
    2,901,090
    -8.0%

    3
    Toyota
    2,542,525
    +12.5%

    4
    DaimlerChrysler (Chrysler + Mercedes)
    2,390,585
    -5.5%

    5
    Honda
    1,509,358
    +3.2%

    6
    Nissan
    1,019,249
    -5.3%

    7
    Hyundai (incl. Kia)
    749,822
    +2.6%

    8
    Volkswagen (incl. Audi + Bentley)
    329,112
    +5.9%

    9
    BMW (incl. Mini + RR)
    313,939
    +2.1%

    10
    Mazda
    268,786
    +4.0%

    11
    Subaru
    200,703
    +2.4%

    12
    Mitsubishi
    118,558
    -4.4%

    13
    Suzuki
    100,990
    +23.0%

    14
    Porsche
    34,227
    +7.2%

    15
    Isuzu
    8,614
    -29.3%

    Suzukis are just flying off the shelves.
    0-60 in 11 seconds is just una Mercan.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    The Sedici is a badge engineered Suzuki. Suzuki engineered this vehicle; Fiat needed something like this, and the two cooperated, but it’s Suzuki’s doing. This is quite common in Europe, especially.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Seth — it looks Japanese.

    That’s my story and… you’re blind if you disagree.

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    Sounds like two things from the outgoing Aerio SX would have made this car perfect: The seats and the 2.3 liter engine. I drove an Aerio a few months ago and I think the looks are what killed it for most people (including me) because I was impressed as hell with the driving. The engine was powerful and spunky, even better than the comparable Mazda 3s unit of the same displacement I drove. The 5 speed was smooth, if a little rubbery. Amazingly, the seats were some of the most comfortable I’ve ever sat in(don’t laugh, if you look at reviews I’m not the only one to notice this). And the interior had many cool little features for storing your stuff. I can’t say why they didn’t use the Aerio seats, but I’m guessing the reason they didn’t use the faster and torquier 2.3 liter engine was because the AWD transaxle couldn’t handle the extra power reliably. Maybe (hopefully) they’ll figure it out for a sport model somewhere down the road.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I checked this car out at the dealer. Talk about value for money. Knocks my parents Echo on it’s ass. It could use a few more ponies though, at least in the auto version (wife drives auto only). The auto is a just a bit too slow for my liking. Great little car though.

    Oh, and Ford? Take note, here is an inexpensive car with a simple but not offensively bad interior. Think maybe you could do something with the Mustang’s crap interior now?

  • avatar
    Scottie

    I think all your Comments kind of add up to Suzuki’s image problems. A lot of people don’t know and or are unfamiliar with Suzuki autos and don’t want to buy one. Suzuki is a Huge Automobile company, they have made millions of cars, the company itself has been in business for nearly 100 years, and been making cars for 50+ years. They show a profit nearly every year.

  • avatar
    nweaver

    In the states however, tehy got pretty hamered by the Samurai fiasco, and never really recovered.

    Their bikes are cool, however. The SV650 has to be the most fun/$ bike out there, and the GSX-R line is faaaast…

  • avatar

    Thanks JL – looks like a great little car.

    Regrading the suggestion in your review that Suzuk is starting to make some better cars – this reminds of the evolution of Hyundai vehicles. Now you may or may not like them or think they are ready for prime time, but you cannot argue with the fact that each iteration brings a substantial improvement over its predecessor. This development, in my view does not bode well for T and H and especially the 2.5.

    I have seen reviews on the latest Suzukis and heck, they arent all that bad. Words like “value” and “capable” keep cropping up, which is a whole segment unto itself and one in which Hyundai has been catering to (largely at the expense of the 2.5).

    Thanks again JL.

  • avatar
    Seth

    Its really sad to see the name swift tarnished in NA. Current suzuki swift overseas is light years ahead of daewoo rebadge stateside. It also is beautiful and will sell very well. Also, between sx4 and swift (abroad version) most people will choose the swift.

  • avatar
    rottenbob

    I’m really glad to see this review, especially since small cars tend to get ignored in general. Last October I sat in one of these at the Seattle International Auto Show and I was pretty impressed. I’m not crazy about this trend where every car has composite headlamps, but Suzuki’s design sets it apart. Other than the xB (or maybe the pricey Mazda3), I can’t think of another truly small car with a masculine design. Most of them seem to be styled as feminine or unisex. But the SX4 is one small car that I don’t think I’d be embarrassed to be seen in. And it sounds like a good alternative to an SUV for those of us who visit the mountains regularly.

    I’ll be buying a new car late this year, and at this point I’ve narrowed it down to either the Suzuki SX4 or the Jeep Patriot. I was surprised to learn that they are the same width, 69.1 inches. In my mind, either the SX4 looks smaller than it is or the Patriot looks bigger than it truly is.

    A dealer near me is selling the SX4 for $12,499 – not a bad deal for an AWD vehicle.

  • avatar
    Jeb Hoge

    Add a Wheelskin and maybe find something to replace the stock shift knob and you take care of the Rubbermaid feeling pretty easily. I’m impressed by this little car.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Jeb — very good points.

    A leather wrapped wheel and knob would do wonders for the SX4

  • avatar
    blautens

    Great review. A lot of car for the money. Now if only Suzuki would sell a turbocharged 6 speed version in the US without jacking up the price too much…..

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    I love the idea of this car (SX4). I’m really a car guy (as opposed to truck or SUV), but I live in Colorado and go to the mountains regularly. I run Bridgestone Blizzaks on my 9 year-old Civic EX in the winter , which do just fine. But AWD does definitely have its benefits, as does the hatch. Hmm…04 or 05 Civic Si hatch with Blizzaks, or new SX4?…

  • avatar
    SuperAROD

    Another unimaginative ugly jellybean shaped car from Asia. Cheap plasticky interior to boot.

    No thanks.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    SuperAROD,

    (from Jerseydevil): it is a Fiat Sedici. Designed in Italy by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign group

    FYI

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    Jonny Lieberman, thank you for bringing this vehicle to my attention. It looks like a good value in a format that interests me.

    This car reminds me, strongly, of the AWD Matrix/Vibe (since discontinued, I believe) but probably at a better price and with a bit more power. Very similar in concept and form but perhaps Suzuki has squeezed a bit more into their design and I think the AWD/4WD setup is more versatile on the SX4.

    User reviews on Edmunds are very positive, the only recurring complaint I noticed is fuel tank size (11 gal – yeah, that’s a bit on the dinky side).

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Oh my yes!

    I thought the car was getting 3mpg — until I filled it up and realized that 9.8 gallons filled it to the brim.

    That is an issue.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    SuperAROD,

    Read my review

    -Jonny-

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    I recall this was the replacement for the Aerio hatchback – is it based on the same platform? Looks like lots of value for the money compared with other B and C-class vehicles, but the powertrain’s EPA rating is really low.

    My brother needs a car putting around the NYC ‘burbs coming out grad school in May, maybe he’ll like this one.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I’d be more interested if they offered a front wheel drive version with an automatic that gets similar mileage to a Matrix or Vibe.

    I don’t need AWD, nor the 5 mpg penalty.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Tax,

    The beauty of the SX4 is, if you don’t want the AWD, don’t turn it on.

    The car actually drives great in FWD (though I did take it to a road where I could notice the difference coming through corners.

    The 5mpg penalty is from the short, close gearing and lack of a sixth-gear.

  • avatar

    Taxman100..Come up to Canada and buy one..though it will probably cost more than the AWD version down south.

  • avatar
    cc-rider

    Am I the only one who found this quote, “In keeping with the parlance of our times, Suzuki shuns the “w” word and calls the SX4 a crossover” humorous. It reminded of the Dude talking in The Big Lebowski. Great review!

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    cc-rider

    I try to slip some Lebowski (or Killdozer) into each and every review.

    Trouble is, Farago usually catches ‘em.

    I’m all about Americana.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    cc,

    NICE!
    And that would lead to yet another prostitute reference, no?

  • avatar
    Arnie

    I actually wrecked a Suzuki today. Got rear ended and was thrown into the SUV in front of me. I kind of liked the car, it was fun to drive and 4×4, but a total tin can though. It was a rental. I don’t think I would buy one…

    It was this type:

    http://www.carpages.co.uk/guide/suzuki/suzuki-ignis-1.5-glx-vvt-4grip-5dr.asp

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Sounds like Suzuki has a hit on thier hands. They are doing great as of late-up 23% in a year is hard to do, and this will just help them further.

  • avatar

    Great review!

    I’m currently driving an AWD Vibe, and it sounds like I might want to take a look at the ’08 WRC version next year when I start thinking about a new car.

    Also, it looks like the RSS 2.0 feed is having issues – it isn’t showing any content available, and broke the iTunes podcast directory link. I was able to stream the podcast just fine from the website, but couldn’t grab it for my morning drive.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Has anyone mentioned that this car is a total rip-off of Father Guido Sarducci?

  • avatar
    LastResort

    As a WRC fan, Subaru enthusiast and a WRX owner, I’ve been following this car for the past year. Especially the SX4 WRC.

    Frankly, it’s what first attracted me to Subaru in my youth. Economy, AWD, a connection to the road, and a bit of go. As Subaru continues to pursue the “upscale” market, I find myself less and less enthralled by their offerings. Subaru’s antics in chasing the Audi and BMW market is a bit bizarre to me.

    Unfortunately, I don’t expect a turbo AWD, WRC inspired version of the SX4 car anytime in the near future. At least not on US soil. And I would prefer something mixed slightly more “car like” and less “SUV like”. I suppose I don’t want a crossover. I could see this in my driveway, as well as the new Evo X (barring a gianormous pricetag).

    The swift is also attractive.

  • avatar

    It’s truly amazing what you can get for so little.
    Funny is that the steering wheel and vents are an exact copy of my Mazda 3.

  • avatar
    nino

    Unfortunately, I don’t expect a turbo AWD, WRC inspired version of the SX4 car anytime in the near future. At least not on US soil. And I would prefer something mixed slightly more “car like” and less “SUV like”. I suppose I don’t want a crossover. I could see this in my driveway, as well as the new Evo X (barring a gianormous pricetag).

    Suzuki has announced that they will bring to market a rally based SX4 to the American market in either 2008 or 2009 to go head-to-head with both the Subaru WRX STi and the Mitsubishi EVO.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Hmm I wonder if it holds a lot of stuff. Probably not given its size, but it might be a nice little wagon (yes I like wagons dammit). I agree with it being a bit like “old Subaru”, which is not a bad thing at all!

  • avatar
    Hutton

    Suzuki has announced that they will bring to market a rally based SX4 to the American market in either 2008 or 2009 to go head-to-head with both the Subaru WRX STi and the Mitsubishi EVO.

    Now THAT is good news!

  • avatar
    KixStart

    This is one attractive, economical little AWD vehicle that would suit my needs and I believe I could sneak the thing past the Vice President for Finance and into the garage.

    Still, FWD variant would probably be a useful option for some people, especially if they could put a bigger gas tank into a FWD variant.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    And the Matrix is a car that I like very much and have considered buying but I think the Suzuki is far more attractive. I do not care for the tiny-window look that’s becoming more and more common. I like to enjoy the scenery as I drive – and see what’s behind me when I’m backing up.

  • avatar
    LastResort

    nino, you made my day.

  • avatar
    nino

    nino, you made my day.

    Just blame them if they don’t!

    Hiroshi Tsuda says that eventually he wants Suzuki to go head-to-head with Audi in both product and perception.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Jonny LIeberman: “According to Edmunds, the auto hits 60mph in…wait for it… 11 seconds. I didn’t drive the auto.”

    Holy cow, isn’t that a little slow, even for an econobox?

    Of course, if the price is right, I guess even 0-60 in 11 seconds is livable, (esp if you get AWD in the deal).

  • avatar
    GlennS

    Deleted by GlennS.
    (Posted to wrong article.)

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I like little punchy cars like this.. it is on my radar screen.

    However, I am still annoyed at suzuki (and gm) for the harassment of consumer reports after they issued the “do not buy” recommendation on the samuri, i think it was, because it rolled over easily on avoidence manuvers.

    I think gm’s point was that, “yes, it turns over, HOW DARE YOU tell anyone about it”

    I’m still annoyed.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    J-devil ,

    I agree — That is annoying.

  • avatar
    fdress

    This was one of the memorable cars for me from the 2006 Auto Show In New York. Too bad it didn’t make it into production with the leather seats shown. Dog hair is soooo much easier to vacuum. Never-the-less, a nicely designed car that I hope finds a market here.

  • avatar
    Joe Chiaramonte

    Jonny,

    Thanks for another great article on an important new entry.

    I found one (standard, non-Sport model) last night in a dark section off the main floor of the San Jose Auto Show (shed some light on Suzi!). I was impressed, and I need to take one for a drive. High-content, AWD when you want it (less friction loss when you don’t), nice design.

    Previous long-term experience with a Chevy Metro tells me Suzuki can build a degree of reliability. Not that I want that tin can back again….

    The “Suzuki representative lady” didn’t know it’s Guigiaro-designed or it’s a FIAT in Europe, though. Then again, she’d never heard of this website – imagine! Some sales training is in order.

    But, revving at 4k+ at 80 is what I already do in my Miata, and I know the MPG slippage that results. Gimme a 6-speed with .80 OD, and I might be sold on this one for commuting AND for weekends in the Sierras.

  • avatar
    sunnyjohn

    Thanks for all the chat and review.
    Deffinately looks like this SX4 is something I will be looking into for a next vehicle. I took a long trip with a friend in an early Grand Vitera and the one thing that killed our pocketbook was the missing last gear causing it to cruise at 3200rpm, not the 1700-2000 I am used to.
    But what I really want is a small deisel.
    Does anyone know if these SX4 or other small 4×4 are available in Canada, and if it is the Fiat diesel, does anyone have info/reviews on that engine. I can not find much.
    Thanks and keep up good reviews Jonny

  • avatar
    Sx4Dude

    I purchased the Sx4 Jx model 8 days ago, automatic without the AWD option. I am from Canada. This car blew the girlfriend and I away right off the bat. We had been looking at vehicles for about a month, she loved the Yaris hatch, which I thought was too small; and I loved the Fit, which didnt meet her “cute” standards. The Sx4 is much more than a happy medium for us. I cant wait to take it out on our first road trip.

  • avatar
    sx4rocks

    check out http://www.sx4club.com for more owner reviews of the suzuki sx4.

  • avatar
    jborgman

    We bought our SX4 in September 2006. I saw the short take in Car and Driver and we went to the local dealer with the hope of seeing one. Turns out, we test drove a red SX4, and drove it home having traded our 2001 Acura TL. The early reviews were far less kind and less representative of our impression of the car. The latter reviews are spot on. It is a stylish, impressively equipped and performing econo-car. No regrets. 26.6 mpg is our poorest mileage over 12000 miles. I fear my second one (soon) will cost me more.

  • avatar
    bnb

    Nice review, and it’s good to know its from an Impreza driver; I’ve finally started seeing these on the road as well. (Suzuki’s dealer network isn’t helping…)
    Two points – the comments about the dorky ‘brothers’ is a little off base. There are no other Suzuki cars sold in North America at the moment. The SUVs are Suzukis, but the cars sold by Suzuki are all Daewoos. (GM sells the same ones as Chevies, and in Canada as Pontiacs.) The Suzuki Swift in the rest of the world is quite cool and distinctive looking (and I think on the same platform as the SX4?)
    Second, it’s not a Fiat Sedici; the Sedici is a Suzuki (built in Hungary by Suzuki on a Suzuki platform and just sold by Fiat).
    And yes to another poster, they are certainly available in Canada, but not the diesel version.

  • avatar
    AmberHope

    I LOOOOOVE My sx-4! I traded in my Chevy Cobalt (TOTAL P.O.S.) for an SX-4 and am so happy I did! First of all, I am a young, female college graduate. So obviously, I can’t afford some expensive BMW or nice luxury car. Plus, I commute so I needed something both affordable AND gas-friendly. I got both. After driving it around, I realized it feels like a beach car. Everytime I go for a ride with my friends, I feel like we’re about to go surfing. It’s just a fun little car. AND me and my fiance took the SX-4 (since he drives a Mustang GT and it definitely wouldn’t fit in that tiny trunk) to pick up his new bowflex he purchased. And we laid the whole passenger side down and fit the whole thing in the passenger side! We looked like total nerds driving around with a boflex in one side and my fiance riding in the back seat behind me. But then again, we are total hippie-nerds and love the idea of a driver-friendly car. It’s so fun to drive! I agree a LITTLE more trunk space would be nice. But, you win some you lose some. There is always next time. That is my only complaint so far. And it’s really no complaint. Just less to have to wash and vacuum I suppose.

  • avatar
    Lyn Vogel

    Just spent a week in an auto-equipped AWDer. A very impressive car, all things considered.

  • avatar
    ellen89

    We bought sx4 sport. We have compared with toyota Matrix and found sx4 has a lot more standarded than Matrix. We use it mainly for commute to office of a 8 miles drive (half of it in highway, half in local). Upto now it is about 28 mpg (drive with 2wd). Feel a little bit noiser when speed up before it reaches 50 miles. after that it is quite. It has enough space for 6′ man sit in front. The trunk space is great too. Before we have to borrow a pickup to buy a 40″ TV. With sx4 we can put it in the trunk. Another great thing is Suzuki provides 1.9% rate if you get loan from them (ASAF).

  • avatar
    romancegirl

    No one compares to the Suzuki Motor company in customer service. I traded my 2003 Aerio in on 7/17/07 and purchased a bright red, stick shift, SX 4. It’s fun to drive, peppy and turns heads when I drive by.

    I love Suzuki because their cars are not cookie cutter. They have original designs and they stand behind them. Great Value and customer service is paramount to them.

    Drive a SX 4 and you’ll know what I mean. That is, if you can find one – they’re selling fast!
    Suzuki Rules!

  • avatar
    mixbrix

    Presently drive an 06 Grand Vitara and love it. The SX4 will be my next one. I heard the “cheap plastic” comments about the GV interior also. What are American cars, expensive plastic??

  • avatar
    nicke

    Are they ever going to make a Rally Homolagation version? Now when the WRX and the EVO has been fed a diet of MickeyD’s and gotten both bigger, heavier and as far as I can see from the reviews plusher and too civilized… Why does all cars have to get bigger and softer? I’m looking for something small and fun with some engine and possibly rally heritage. Anything out there?

  • avatar
    nicke

    PS, as far as I know the SX4 is a Fiat built in Hungary and desigend by Guargio…

  • avatar
    heswa

    Nicke,

    The SX4 was a joint project between Suzuki and Fiat. My understanding is that most of the mechanical design was Suzuki’s, while the visual design was done in Italy. The Fiat version is called the Sedici. European destination cars (both the Suzuki and Fiat versions) are built in Hungary, while cars sold in Canada and the U.S. are built in Japan. I believe there’s also a factory in India for cars sold in India. See

  • avatar
    heswa

    The end of my post should have said “See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_SX4” [for some reason it wouldn\'t let me edit my own post...]

  • avatar
    kevinb120

    Funny enough, I have worked in the auto sales business for years and have never liked compact cars as a whole. The only one I have even owned outside of my high school years was an SVT Focus with the European package(wonderful car I should of never sold). I typically shun ‘Korean’ cars(as suzuki is generally though of as daewoo rebadges) in general-simply because its so below my radar to consider purchasing one it really has no bearing on my life.

    We recently aquired a Suzuki franchise in our dealer group. The vehicle line to me looked like Hyundai cira 1995. I took each one around the block once so I can say I drove it in case I may have a client I may have ‘switch’ to one(with the aforementioned credit scoring in the previous post..). All were the same thing: ‘eh, looks ok, hey-started on the first try-not bad, engine a little rough, steering clunks at full lock, brakes a little weak…oh well I drove it’.

    HOWEVER I noticed in the corner of the lot we had a couple of the little SX4′s. Styling looked like a little european city car. A little closer and it had 17″ wheels with a decent set of shoes-hmm. 4 wheel disc brakes, all the trim looks nice and tidy-hmm. 146hp on the window sticker…Well I grabbed the keys and the interior has a basic but taut look to the components, a little jeweling here, some surface texture there-really nothing bad at all. The view out is definitey strange at first, but very ‘smart’ looking overall.

    Started it up and moved it around the lot-engine smooth and responsive, no thunking or rubbery feeling in the suspension or steering, shifter nice and crisp-hmm. Well I went off for an hour and took it to lunch and was thoroughly impressed in every way. Even the sedan which at first looks like an echo starts to win you over. But overall a very sound and refined car with very tossable handling, and for the price-outstanding! It definitely gives you the feeling of having taken something right off a tightly packed city street in Europe and dropping it right in the middle of an American dealership chain parking lot. What a delightful little car completely off the radar here…

    Being that we have an open floor(we can sell everything in our chain of dealers), I snuck a few over to the Ford dealer I work to put on static display. Of course me-’Mr Hotrod’ got quite a few jokes from my fellow workers as to how much I like the little buggers-after a little salesman on saleman chatting, they quite frequently leave the display pad :) (Reminds me of when I owned an RX7TT in 93 when I picked up a used Miata as a second car that I ended up driving more. All my friends gave me crap about the Miata. I would ask them ‘have you driven one?’ – ‘then shut up, if you want your butt kicked yet again I will gladly pull the TT out of the garage’ and would continue to putt around in the M…)

    I now make it a point to show them to anyone looking in the 13-18k range for a new car, and we will probably end up selling more from the Ford store then the Suzuki outlet. When it stands alone by itself, the Suzuki ‘aura’ of the brand as a whole fades away faster and how much of a quirky-cute, fun, and personable little package the SX4 really is shines much more brightly. Great little car for the money, some buyers need to turn the brain back on from simply wandering into a Hodoyta dealer for a Yaris/Fit and give this little bugger a try.

    Heh, That’s the most I’ve said about a sub-150hp car in a long, long time…

  • avatar
    conspire

    Suzuki calls its SX4 a Crossover. What’s the problem with you people accepting this? Why do some of you call it a hatchback, or a wagon? No, it is a Crossover SUV. Why do Sport Utility Vehicles have to be monster vehicles? Why can’t we have a small car be a Crossover SUV? Is there someone out there that owns the definition of SUV that I have dared to disagree with?

    According to Suzuki, SX4 stands for:
    S – Sport
    X – Crossover (x-over)
    4 – 4-wheel drive

    So the Suzuki SX4 is a Crossover SUV, period. It is not a wagon! I am sick and tired of looking at monster SUV’s and being told that being huge is the way they all are. I have been looking for a real small SUV for a while now, and am pleased to have found one in the SX4. I no longer have to drag tons of excess sheet metal around town.

    No, I do not work for Suzuki – I am just a regular car buyer. Actually, I live in Chongqing, China. Here the SX4 has a smaller engine (1600 liter) but is very well equipped. Mine has a wonderful premium sound system (364 watts of sound in the little SX4 box!) and leather throughout. Car driving is tight here, where everyone pushes themselves into small spaces. So a smaller car is easier to manage.

    As for being a good off-road vehicle,…
    1. SUV cars needs to have good ground clearance. SX4 is 6.9 inches compared with 4 inches on the Honda Fit.
    2. Should have a strong chassis-axle-wheel system. This is the most distinctive aspect of the SX4, with its 16″ wheels (in China) and a heavier chassis, which makes the car heavier than the Honda Fit.
    3. Should be a 5-door hatchback, enabling large and flexible storage space behind the back seat.
    4. Should have a full-size rear seat for passengers, which can be converted into storage space.
    5. Should have an adequately strong engine that does well when traversing off-road terrain.
    6. Should be sporty/fun to drive. The SX4 certainly is.

    Clearly, Suzuki went straight at making a small SUV. I think they did quite well.

    The SX4 IS A CROSSOVER SUV, not a station wagon or a tiny city car such as the Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris. The SX4 is the first of a new class of cars – a small, true Crossover SUV.

  • avatar
    Pencils

    My husband and I bought an SX4 in December last year, not long after they hit the market. We wanted a small car with fairly good gas mileage, and we needed four wheel drive, as my husband has to drive to work no matter the weather conditions. We did a little research, and this was the only option in its class. Both of us were leery of buying a car in its first model year–my last car was a Civic, bought specifically because I wanted a car with a long history. Still, after a zippy test drive, we were sold. Or sold on the car, anyway, we had some problems with a rude dealer–why do car salesmen think they’re doing you a favor, when we’re buying something very expensive from them? We walked out and found a more polite dealership. Anyway, we’ve had the car for nearly a year, and it’s been great. Only problems have been warning lights popping up when there’s nothing wrong–we had them checked. We’re disappointed in the gas mileage, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s a little loud at high speeds, but, again, it’s a small and inexpensive car, you get what you pay for. Other than those things, we’ve enjoyed the car. My husband is 6’1″, I’m 5’11″, and we have a son who is over 6′ and growing, and we fit in there comfortably. And the seats aren’t that bad, really. With or without the seats folded down, there’s an amazing amount of space to transport large, bulky, or just numerous items. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve returned to my car in a parking lot and found guys looking it over, peering in the windows, wanting to hear all about it. We haven’t seen that many SX4s around, but I think there will be more as word gets out about this car.

  • avatar
    drp5

    I bought my SX4 in Aug 07 and love it so much I couldn’t help myself from taking a few road trips right away. I put 3500 miles on it the first month; it’s a fun car to drive both on the twisty mountain back roads here in AZ or in town. Highway driving is OK but I find myself looking at the map more often now seeing if there is another more indirect way to get to where I’m going. The last detour was only 100 miles but it was one fun canyon road. Oh, BTW, the main reason I bought the car was because I fitted my 350+ pound body into it effortlessly. This was unlike trying to squeeze into the Accent or Corolla I looked at earlier in the week. Add in all of the other features (AWD, 4 wheel disks, 16 in alloy wheels, ect.)it was a no brainier for me. Driving is fun again!

  • avatar
    runningonfumes

    I have a Forenza, 5sp. Don’t laugh, I was “between jobs” and needed a cheap island car. Yes the interior is not great, but it’s held up well in the year and a half I’ve owned it. It’s had no maintenance or repairs except for a 7500 mile oil change. I can have fun in it cuz it’s a manual, if I concentrate. The Forenzas were designed by Ital Design too. The engines are pure Daewoo sewing machines.

  • avatar
    fotografree

    you can hear from actual sx4 owners at http://www.sx4club.com

  • avatar
    Jamo

    I can’t figure out the difference between the Sport and the wagon from this review. Are they the same thing? I wouldn’t have thought the Sport would have 4wd. It doesn’t say so on the Suzuki website when you compare it to other cars.

  • avatar
    ohnonothimagain

    I had a 1989 Suzuki Swift GT-one of the most fun cars I’ve ever had. 100hp in a 1700 pound car lead to exciting rides. But the quality was less than stellar. The drivers seatback broke in two while I was driving on the highway-I had to hang on for dear life with no drivers seatback. When I took it in for repair-I was told it would take 1-2 months to get a new seat from Japan as they weren’t stocked in the US. ok ok I got that out of my system. The SX4 looks ok, and sounds like it has decent specs; but you can’t delete the roof rails; and I’m still scared of those seats. Perhaps build quality has improved since 1989-I hope so. Otherwise you’d better hang on when you’re driving just in case.

  • avatar
    AuricTech

    Jamo, the 2007 SX4 Sport was a trim level, as only the hatchback was available. The 2008 SX4 Sport is the sedan version (currently available only in front wheel drive); the hatchback is now officially the SX4 Crossover.

    Confused? You won’t be, after this episode of Soap.

  • avatar
    stvdino

    Let’s all the true car enthusiasts be reminded that there was another AWD, four door with hatchback, 5 speed, turbocharged 2 liter designed by Giugaro which sold in Europe in the 80′s and 90′s It’s called the Lancia Delta Integrale. It won the World Rally championship six years in a row and scored 46 WRC victories. The Suzuki is in spirit and package very similar in being very fun to drive, responsive and designed by the same person. Now I can buy a Suzuki SX4 here in the US, put Lancia badges on it and imagine it’s the new Delta.

  • avatar
    stvdino

    Does anyone have any more exact or accurate info or read anything new on when the SX4 turbo, WRC version will be available?

  • avatar
    AuricTech

    stvdino :
    October 8th, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Does anyone have any more exact or accurate info or read anything new on when the SX4 turbo, WRC version will be available?

    Well, while it’s not yet a factory option, for around $4500 you can buy the Road Race Motorsports SX4 Turbo Kit. Road Race Motorsports does have a working relationship with Suzuki, so official sanction of this kit is at least a possibility.

    You can find a discussion of the current version of the RRM turbo kit at this SX4Club.com thread. Note that it’s reported to deliver 220 whp….

  • avatar
    JAdidas21

    Good review, fair and balanced. Some interesting user comments too. Just to clarify a few things though.
    The Suzuki SX4 is a 100% Suzuki engineered design, NOT fiat. The only thing about the SX4 that is Fiat would be the Diesel version sold in Europe under the Fiat badge. And even in that case, the car is still Suzuki engineered but the engine they drop in it is from Fiat. If you choose the manual transmition offering then you would also be getting a Fiat 6-speed tranny.
    The Suzuki SX4 itsel though is a variant of the Suzuki Swift, in what can be called a “Streched Swift Platform”. And Fiat absolutely NOTHING to do with the engineering, design, or implementation of that platform.

    The reason Suzuki is allowing Fiat to rebadge and sell this Suzuki engineered vehicle was in exchange for Suzuki being able to use and build the Fiat Diesel engine to use in Suzuki cars in other parts of the world such as India.

    The STYLING of the SX4 was done by an Italian firm ItalDesign with obvious good results. But once again, to clarify, THE SX4 IS 100% SUZUKI ENGINEERED AND DESIGNED, >NOT< Fiat. It is based on the Swift platform.
    The Fiat Sedici is a rebadged Suzuki SX4 which in some cases can come equiped with a fiat diesel engine.
    Europe gets most of its SX4′s from the Suzuki plant in Hungary.
    North America however gets their SX4′s direct from the Suzuki Plant in Japan. Japanese engineered, Japanese built.

    As far as Suzuki selling Korean Re-badges you have GM to thank for that. After GM took over Daewoo they decided that the only car of the Daewoo line-up that they made sense to add to their own and sell in the US was what would become the Aveo. The other Daewoo offerings they felt might tend to compete for sales with GM’s existing American built cars. Thus, they passed on several daewoo models to Suzuki to be sold under the Suzuki badge in it’s US Suzuki dealerships. Suzuki initially agreed to this with the assurances from GM that they were going to dramatically improve the quality assurance programme at the Daewoo plants in Korea.
    This worked well for Suzuki at the time since the North American division of Suzuki was in full gear in it’s attempt to expand its dealership network in North America. The main thing holding them back was a lack of actual car models to sell. At the time Suzuki only had the XL7, Vitara, and its lone and only car, the Aerio.

    Not sufficient offerings to achieve the type of sales goals they were looking for or to attract car dealers to pick up the Suzuki line.

    By adding the Reno and Forenza, this allowed them to do precisely what they what they had planned, with new Suzuki dealerships popping up all over the country.
    But alas, GM’s promises to dramatically improve Daewoo’s quality assurance programme never came thru… and the reliability of the Korean re-badges didn’t hold up to Suzuki’s desired level for any car with its name on it.

    Thus Suzuki cancelled its agreement with GM to sell the Daewoo models in the US, opting instead to focus on its own Suzuki platforms, and gradually increase its own offerings.

    The Suzuki Swift (not the canadian swift+) and the SX4 are first fruits of Suzuki’s new approach and design. Soon North America will get the newest generation of the Swift.

    Unfortunately because of worsening world wide economic condition and the severe impact this is having on auto-sales, Suzuki had decided to postpone it’s launch of the mid-sized sedan in North America named Kizashi. Instead Suzuki will focus on its smaller iterations such as the new A-Star which will be arriving shortly on European shores and will offer entry level buys a well engineered car at a low price and fantastic fuel economy as well as the lowest carbon emissions in the industry.

    SX4 too is being improved with new gearing and soon will see a 6-speed manual as well as VVT as standard to improve fuel standards and offer lower revs and hwy speeds.

    As far as the turbo edition, as someone already stated, you can order a turbo edition SX4 thru your dealership which will come from Road Race Motorsports.
    Suzuki IS currently testing both a Diesel SX4 in Canada as well as its own in-house turbo set up for possible sales in North America. Suzuk is still not convinced there is a market here for a Turbo SX4.
    The Diesel SX4 being tested in Canada is getting very good response so hopefully if Suzuki can ride out the current worldwide economic chaos, we may soon see an Diesel SX4 in North America too.

    As for the SX4 WRX, that racing programme unfortunalely has been cancelled, again due to the worldwide economic shakedown.
    Even Subaru has pulled out of the WRC for the same reason.
    We have yet to see what the worldwide economic meltdown will mean to the big auto manufacturors, but there is already talk in Japan of possible mergers on the table… with the end result of creating a “Japanese Big-3″.

  • avatar
    JAdidas21

    Just a quick correction, it appears that Suzuki will still persue a North American release of the Kizashi for the 2010 model year. As it turns out, they felt it would end up costing more to postpone final development and launch of the Kizashi versus moving forward with it. Good news for Suzuki Dealerships thru out North America!

  • avatar
    btdevo

    I’ve had my SX4 Touring Package 2 (top of the line with manual) for 10 months, and like it more than when I first purchased it. It really does respond to the drivers commands, and averaging 26.6 MPG….no complaints at all.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India