The SX4 is an outstanding value for a small AWD vehicle with numerous features
Nothing major so far. I only had a minor problem with the gas gauge not rising to the "full" mark after a fill up. The problem fixed itself. I took the car into the dealer anyway, and they could find nothing wrong with it.
My previous vehicle was an '02 Volkswagen Passat GLX 4Motion. Since the day I purchased the Passat, it was extremely unreliable. My Passat was at the dealer numerous times in the 2 years that I owned it for various problems. While the design, materials and fit & finish of the Passat were commendable; I felt it was not worth the constant repairs to keep the Passat. After its extended warranty expired, I decided to sell it.
In my search for a replacement car, 3 items ranked high on my list of must-haves: AWD, excellent reliability & fuel efficiency.
The winter can be harsh where I live in the Northeast, so I needed a car that could get me safely through winter without the bulk of an SUV.
Reliability was also important, because I am a college student who commutes and works as well, so I needed a car that had low repair costs, and one that would last awhile.
First, I looked at the ’09 Subaru Impreza. That vehicle met my criteria. However, I felt that the price was a little too much for not having too many features.
After researching additional cars, I finally came across the Suzuki SX4. I initially had little knowledge of the Suzuki brand as a whole. After talking with a neighbor who brought her SX4 new in ’07, who still owns it with few problems, and viewing some review websites, I became more confident in the brand.
That was when I found my SX4. I purchased a pre-owned 2009 SX4 Touring Hatchback, Automatic in Azure Gray Metallic with 10,750 miles on it.
Styling, Design, & Ergonomics:
I thoroughly enjoy the hatchback styling of the SX4. Coming from a sedan, I like the extra versatility of the hatchback. The styling is clean, pleasing, and well proportioned. My initial reaction to the styling was that it looks very European. I was not surprised to find out that the SX4 was designed in Italy and co-developed with Fiat; sold as the Fiat Sedici in Europe. I love the European look, and the fact that it looks different from other vehicles on the road.
Inside, the SX4 is clean and uncluttered. The controls are logically placed with easy operation. The materials are not “soft touch” as they were in my Passat. However, the hard plastics that comprise the interior of the SX4 are nicely grained and do not look “cheap”.
The steering wheel has very nicely laid out controls for the audio system & cruise control. It is wrapped in nicely stitched leather.
The cloth seats are surprisingly more comfortable on long trips than the leather seats in my Passat.
In the SX4, the driver is given a commanding view of the road, sitting up higher than most small cars.
I find the interior to be very spacious, with plentiful headroom and legroom, which is surprising due to the car’s small dimensions.
Performance & Drivability:
The SX4 is powered by a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine, producing 143 hp, paired with a 4 speed automatic transmission. Overall, the combination works well. Acceleration is not particularly quick, but I feel it is sufficient overall. Engine & road noise intrude a bit, but that is to be expected.
The ride quality is quite good for a small vehicle. I find that the SX4 absorbs most bumps well. Patchy pavement does cause a slightly busy ride, but it is not harsh in any way. The steering is nicely weighted and the car feels substantial while driving.
Fuel economy is quite good for an AWD vehicle. I am averaging about 25 mpg overall. While 25 mpg is less than the fuel economy of most small cars, it is better than most AWD vehicles.
One thing to note is that the fuel tank on the SX4 is small. I average around 200 miles or so before it is time to refill.
The all-wheel-drive system is perhaps the most impressive feature on the SX4. The AWD system has 3 user-selectable modes. You can put the SX4 in two-wheel drive mode, leave it in auto AWD mode, or lock the AWD to distribute even power front to rear. The system is definitely more advanced than the Passat’s AWD system, which consistently split power 50-50 front to rear. I have driven in the snow with the SX4, and the car performed flawlessly. I did not slip once. I had better traction in snow with the SX4 than with the Passat.
The SX4 has a surprisingly long list of features for the price. Another notable feature was the standard integrated navigation system. Suzuki worked with Garmin to deliver integrated navigation without the high cost. I feel it works well overall, with spoken navigation commands routed through the speakers.
The SX4 Touring has some additional unexpected features such as: alloy wheels, aluminum roof rails, heated mirrors, power accessories, leather steering wheel, driver information display, 9 speaker audio system with subwoofer, 6 disc CD changer, Bluetooth phone integration, heated front seats, auto climate control, keyless starting system, electronic stability control, & tire pressure monitor.
I felt that the numerous features the SX4 has made it stand out above all the other small AWD vehicles. The features truly make the SX4 feel like a more expensive and substantial vehicle. I added the dealer installed iPod adapter, and it offers full integration with the car’s existing audio system, and allows you to control your iPod through the steering wheel controls.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with my purchase. I feel I got a lot for my money with the SX4. I also enjoy the fact that there are not too many SX4s on the road. I like driving a unique vehicle. The car is reliable, comfortable and easy to maintain. I plan to continue to buy Suzuki vehicles. The Suzuki Kizashi is on my list for my next car!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th August, 2010