I know this 2nd generation Suzuki SX4 isn't that new on the market, being released late in 2014, but I finally got my hands on a brand new one for a review. People seem to have mixed feelings about this car, even some Suzuki fans I know don't like it, preferring the pre-facelift model to this one which was one of the first good competitors in the crossover market. I'm not exactly sure why this is though because I quite liked it. As far as crossover cars go, this one ticks many boxes that owners may want ticked. It's a good size and it's powered by Suzuki's well-known 1600cc M16A motor with VVT. It's quite revvy and when you give it full throttle input and take the revs up to the redline it feels pretty close to the Swift Sport. I said feels like it, bf course the Sport makes a heap more power and is smaller and lighter with way better performance. The SX4 does punch above it's weight.
With a light foot the 1600cc is quite economical, and again sticks with the usual theme of the Suzukis I've driven by returning fuel consumption figures under the manufacturer claims. They say that 5.8-litres/100km is the average and I managed to keep it at the 5.5-litres/100km mark. The spirited driving took that up to just over 9, which is still pretty decent for an 86kW/156Nm powerplant. The one I had was a front-wheel drive model with a 5-speed manual, but it's also available with a CVT gearbox and the AllGrip four-wheel drive drivetrain.
The Suzuki SX4 looks good, it has a decent size to it and has really good lines. Again, I've heard more than one person say they preferred the looks of the older one, but I simply cannot agree, I like this one a lot more. The styling is more angular, more modern and more grown up. This version is 165mm longer and 10mm wider when you measure the bodywork, while the wheelbase below has increased by 100mm. It's also now equipped with LED daytime running lights (in the range-topper), while at the rear we find combination taillights that make for a good contrast on the other colours in the range. On the red they look just right too though. The wheel arch mouldings and side cladding are also a contrast on all colours, but for photography sake they look a lot cooler on the red model I had. Red and black is always a great combo and it also lends to the crossover vibe, well to me anyway.
Speaking of crossover, this one can go many places a car can't. Of course it's not as off-roady as the diminutive Jimny or the new Vitara, but a few of them have been seen making light work of the infamous Sani Pass. The Suzuki SX4 features 180mm of ground clearance and has good approach and departure angles.
Inside the cabin of the Suzuki SX4 things are quite pleasant. There's no mistaking that it's a Suzuki, the fit, finish and layout runs along the same design cues as a few other Suzukis in the range. The driver's seat adjusts to get the right position, even for a short chap like myself. The steering is also tilt and reach adjustable. It's comfortable and has chunky enough side bolsters to keep you in place when you're cornering hard on tar or when you're bouncing around on a bumpy sand road. Leg room is good, but that's also never something that bothers me, or anyone that sits behind me in a car, but a few of my mates had no complaints in the SX4, and one of them tops 6ft3.
All the driver aids you need are found on the SX4 but there's more than on most cars when you add in the drive modes. The SX4 has a Normal mode, a Sport Mode and a Snow Mode (which is also what you select when you need to limit slippage on sand). Sport Mode is where I put the car on every drive, it gives the throttle a better input and sharpens up everything else. It's best to remember to go back to Normal Mode when you're in stop / start traffic or your slow drive will be quite jerky (that's a word!). When you hit the trails and things get too slippery for the Snow Mode, you also have the option of electronically locking the drivetrain to get the SX4 going again.
There's steering controls for the infotainment unit and the hands-free Bluetooth phone function as well as cruise control. The Infotainment system is the only place that the SX4 loses points. These days most cars in this category have some fort of colour screen heading things up but the SX4 only has a digital display. It's not bad, but everyone likes some sort of screen with cool things to look at. The dash looks good though, I do like the silver accents splashed around.
There are 5 models in the Suzuki SX4 range. At the lower end of the scale you're looking at R269 900 while the daddy version can be had for R346 900. All models come standard with a 3-year/90 000km service plan as well as a 3-year/100 00km warranty, which would no doubt see little use because it is a Suzuki after all. There are many options in the Suzuki lineup and sometimes I get a little lost as to where different models fall in the lineup. To me this SX4 should come in below the new Vitara, but apparently that's not the case, the SX4 is higher up on the food chain. It's a little hard to wrap my head around that, but I guess it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things...
I guess I don't have to keep saying that I'm a Suzuki fan, it's common knowledge by now. That said, bias aside, this is a good car and a great competitor in the crossover segment. It's priced well, goes great and won't kill the bank. It's cars like these that let know know there are other worthy options to the German stuff. If you're in the market for a crossover, it will most definitely be worth your while to visit a Suzuki dealership.
For more info, check out www.suzukiauto.co.za