Small, fun, versatile — and inexpensive.
The compact SX4 is the smallest Suzuki car you can buy in America, even though its maker is the top seller of microcars in the world. The SX4 has been around since the 2007 model year, but it remains a solid product. In 2010, it got a more powerful engine and improved transmissions. The SX4 SportBack model — essentially an SX4 Crossover with the roof rack removed, a body kit, and front-wheel drive — was added that same year. Traditional sedan body styles are part of the SX4 family, too, including the fancier, body-kitted Sport SE. The Crossover is equipped with a handy four-wheel-drive system; all other models make do with front-wheel drive only. The surprisingly nice interior can be dressed up with options such as Bluetooth, automatic climate control, heated seats, and a Garmin-sourced navigation system. Like Suzuki’s respected motorcycles, the nimble SX4 is fun to drive enthusiastically, and although it’s not as quick as those crotch rockets, the SX4 is much more powerful than most of its rivals, such as the Honda Fit and the Scion xD. Suzuki planned to release a subcompact, the Swift, to slot below the SX4 in the U.S. market, but the company’s recent split from General Motors and its tumultuous marriage with Volkswagen mean that the lauded Swift might never reach North American shores. Bummer.
new for 2013
Crossover and SportBack models receive a subtly revised front fascia with more prominent vertical lines. With the dropping of the Technology trim level, the SportBack is now available only one way. The crossover gets a new hue (plasma yellow), new aluminum wheels, and an available TouchFree Smart Key.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and tire-pressure monitors are standard.
All-wheel drive as low as $17,794
More fun to drive than most competitors
Confusing lineup (sedan, hatchback, sporty sedan, sporty hatchback)
Base Price Range: $16,640–$21,244
DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: LE, LE Popular, Sport SE, SportBack, Crossover, Crossover Premium, Crossover Technology Value
BODY STYLES: Sedan, hatchback, 5-passenger
ENGINE: 2.0L I-4, 148/150 hp, 140 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, continuously variable
PASSENGER VOLUME: 82.8–88.5 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (sedan) 15.5 cu ft; (hatchback, rear seats up/down) 16.2/43.1 cu ft