Digestible Collectible: 2009 Suzuki SX4

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
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digestible collectible 2009 suzuki sx4

At least in the U.S., Suzuki always operated on the fringes of the auto industry. Save for those vehicles it rebadged for General Motors, Suzuki never seemed to match up well against the competition. The cars were either a half-size smaller than the competition — see Kizashi — or had no discernable competition whatsoever, like the inexplicable X-90.

Likewise, the dealers never had the best real estate, at least from my experience. Here in Columbus, for example, the local Suzuki dealers were set up in corners of Budget Car Rental locations. Hardly a recipe for success.

Shame, really, because Suzuki built some wonderfully interesting cars.

I mentioned the Kizashi, which I found to be a fun — if a slightly small — family car. I’d love to find an old Swift GTi as a cheap hot hatch, and the current Swift sold overseas is said to be spectacular. But today, we look at a model sold here recently, the 2009 Suzuki SX4. With some wrench time, this could be a fascinating alternative to other all-wheel-drive sports sedans.

Bear with me. The funky, high-top sneaker styling of the SX4 is cool and functional, with plenty of cargo room. But despite the departure of Suzuki from our market, there remains a tuner culture around this car, ready to take the SX4 to street machine or off-road adventurer. Road Race Motorsports, best known for Mitsubishi tuning, offers plenty of options, including a turbo kit that should produce around 220 horsepower.

Realistically, this is folly. It would likely take $8,000 in parts to make this aging hatch perform similarly to a Subaru WRX, which still has factory support, a huge aftermarket, and a massive online community of enthusiasts. But the appeal of standing out from the pack is ever present.

For those who choose to venture down the rocky path without thousands of forum fanboys to assist, I salute you.

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in ebay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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3 of 78 comments
  • Rod Panhard Rod Panhard on Feb 18, 2016

    This car was jointly developed by Suzuki and Fiat, and sold as a Fiat in Italy. It really is a good car. However, it's exactly why I said, many moons ago, why Fiats would not sell in the US. It doesn't matter how good it is.

    • Pecci Pecci on Feb 18, 2016

      It was designed by Fiat and funded by General Motors for Suzuki to build it.

  • Jdmcomp Jdmcomp on Feb 18, 2016

    Drove one thinking it looked good but it turned out to be a 4 wheel motorcycle with all the drawbacks one could think of. Still looks good but driving would have been horrible except in slow city traffic.

  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.