2011 Suzuki SX4 JX 2.0 from North America
A great, fun vehicle, but poor gas mileage and a small gas tank lower its desirability
The windshield washer line broke when it was -20C outside.
This car is fun to drive with the manual transmission. It shifts easily and I really like the armrest proximity to the gear shift. I can relax and shift gears with just minimal wrist movement. The sixth gear is a nice addition. This is the lowest-priced AWD with manual transmission I could find in our area. The AWD system works very well, even in deep snow.
The gauge cluster is excellent. In addition to the usual gauges, it has a temperature gauge and tachometer. I've seen other more expensive vehicles that only have the idiot light instead of a temperature gauge.
Gauges are clearly visible both day and night, and there are no irritating reflections to distract while driving. Other controls and switches are sensibly placed, and easy to reach and read. The steering wheel mounted radio settings and cruise control switches also light up at night. That's impressive for a value-priced vehicle.
I appreciate the large windows and the driver seating position being a little higher than the cars around me. Visibility is excellent, except for the large pillars that impede some of the view out the front windshield. It takes getting used to, and I have to be very careful when turning, as it's tough to see cyclists or pedestrians crossing the street.
This is an ideal vehicle for elderly people to access. The seat height is perfect for them when entering. My mom and dad, in their eighties, find it very easy to get into and out of.
One frustrating issue is the spray pattern of the six windshield wiper nozzles. It takes a lot of adjusting to get them to cover the windshield properly and they are positioned far back. When it's windy or when I'm on the highway, they don't work well at all. There is no sensor in the windshield washer tank, so you can run out of washer fluid without warning. I always have to have an extra jug of washer fluid in the car, which makes sense, but does take up space.
There is minimal luggage space with all seats up in the back, however when the seats are down, there is plenty of space to meet my needs. It's easy to move the rear seat backs up and down and when down, the surface is nice and flat. The 60-40 split of the rear seat backs is useful as well.
The interior finish is a bit of a weak point on this vehicle. It scratches very easily and feels cheap in some places. This is one area in which you can tell it's a low-budget vehicle.
This vehicle feels very solid when driving. The steering feel and response, in my opinion, is excellent. The suspension seems rugged enough to handle our terrible, pothole-ridden roads and it takes corners well. Braking is excellent. It's not the quietest at highway speeds, but I have seen worse. Crosswinds are not an issue at all.
Probably the key issue keeping me from recommending this vehicle to my friends involves the poor fuel mileage, combined with the small fuel tank. Average city MPG has been at about 27 miles per imperial gallon, and highway driving at about 65 mph averages 34 MPG, which is far less than Canadian dealers advertise in the showroom. I am constantly having to stop for gas. This is perfect if I'm driving with my elderly mother, who has a "small bladder" and needs to stop a lot, but that happens rarely. Sadly, this has become quite annoying over time, and will be the main reason I probably won't buy another SX-4.
This vehicle could benefit from a direct-injection fuel system. It would probably make it even quicker and a whole lot more fuel efficient.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 23rd March, 2013
I agree with the small gas tank / poor gas mileage comment. That was the main reason I traded in my SX-4 on another vehicle. I was stopping two to three times a week to fill up. It was just too frustrating.
Also, now that I have a different vehicle, I wonder how I could have tolerated the wide pillars on each side of the front windshield of the SX-4.
Everything else was fine, but these shortcomings were so bad, it made the ownership experience one I would not recommend to a friend.