Review: I’m going to let you in on a little secret, Suzuki sells a
really fun, practical and sporty hatchback that you may not have
Since 2007, the SX4 has
been displayed in Suzuki showrooms across the country, offering the
least expensive all-wheel-drive car you can buy.
Its four-door sedan
sibling, the SX4 Sport, arrived later, ditching the all-wheel-drive for
a lowered stance, larger alloy wheels and more on-road amusement.
Natural, then, is the genesis of the Sportback, which combines the
practicality of the five-door, seat-folding cargo hauling with the urban
What you get is a sweet
handling, stuff carrying, stylish little runner for less than $18,000.
Oh, and to sweeten the deal, it comes with a standard navigation system,
which not only directs you to your destination, but also provides you
with real-time traffic, weather, movie times, stock updates, headlines,
lowest gas prices finder, airline arrival and departures times and
on-screen Bluetooth text message displays. Whew!
I had some fun with
this little system. For one thing, my tester was Quicksilver Metallic
($130 extra) and the small navigation screen showed a little silver SX4
on the road. Cute. The system is obviously an add-on, and it pops up on
a little door at the top of the dash, but it was easy to use, despite
being a long reach to the touch screen.
I was amused by the
system’s occasional mispronunciations (“Lake Chabbit” for Lake Chabot,
for example) and annoyed when it would, out of nowhere, state “Traffic
ahead” without any further elaboration (what was I supposed to do about
it?). It did announce my turns at exactly the right time however, and
would willingly recalculate when I strayed from the prescribed route.
This modest but
handsome little vehicle is loaded with upscale features. The
surprisingly attractive interior comes standard in this model with
automatic air conditioning; power windows, power locks and mirrors;
cruise control; leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and a
trip computer. The silvery accents go a long way to relieving the
stretches of black plastic, and the little triangular windows in the
windshield pillars reduce their massiveness.
engine is upgraded to 150 horsepower and 140 lb.-ft. of torque this
year. You can get a snappy six-speed manual or a continuously variable
automatic transmission with racing-style paddle shifters on the wheel.
Beyond that, standard Electronic Stability Control (ESP) with four-wheel
disk brakes and ABS uses the car’s computer to keep this
front-wheel-drive car on the road when it gets slippery.
With two liters of
displacement moving 2,700 pounds, you can expect good fuel economy as
the little Sportback earns 22 City and 30 Highway with the six-speed
manual transmission. EPA Green Vehicle Guide numbers of 6 for Air
Pollution and 7 for Greenhouse Gas give the Sportback entry into the
SmartWay group, your best choices for green driving. I got 27.4 mpg in
an honest week of varied urban motoring.
Of course with a small
car one wonders about safety. Despite offering mostly four-star rather
than five-star crash ratings, the Sportback offers a full complement of
airbags, crush zones, and all the usual standard features that one
expects these days.
Europeans have known
this for years, but hatchbacks are really great for turning a small car
into a hauling wizard. The SX4 can handle 54 cubic feet of stuff when
you drop the seats. Drop in that flat-screen TV from Costco or your
personal musical gear, it’s got the room for it. When you’d rather carry
people you still get 16 cubic feet, up to the roof, if you need it.
Prices for the SX4
Sportback start at $17,949, and you really don’t need anything else. My
tester had floor mats and a cargo net. Well, OK, these are nice to have,
plus the previously mentioned metallic paint and Bluetooth with message
display for $259. The total MSRP price came to $18,513. You can add the
CVT transmission if you want for another $1,150.
But don’t just take my
word for it. Consumer Reports 2009 annual auto issue recommends the SX4,
with top red dot ratings in reliability and consumer cost. In addition,
Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com has recognized the SX4 as one of its "Top 10
Coolest Cars Under $18,000," while my colleagues in the New England
Motor Press Association (NEMPA) have awarded the SX4 with its "Yankee
Value Award" for three consecutive years. I imagine the all-wheel-drive
SX4 Crossover does especially well in snowy climes.
Suzuki, a 101-year-old
company that sells the world’s fastest motorcycle along with outboard
motors around the world (bet you didn’t know that) sits in the shadow of
other Japanese brands, but it’s a shame to ignore them. And besides all
of the Sportback’s assets, consider that it comes with a 100,000-mile,
seven-year transferable limited powertrain warranty. It’s a nice package
all around. By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The Bottom Line:
The 2010 SX4 Sportback might be the best deal Suzuki has to offer in
these tough economic times. For around $18K you get all wheel drive, 50+
feet of cargo area, 30 MPG highway and a built in Nav system. Plus all
the standard goodies one would want to make a day outing or work commute
a really enjoyable trip. Combined with a fantastic warranty, and at a
price that everyone can afford, it’s a car that makes driving fun again,
on the road and at the pump.
Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
“Tony the Car Guy”
is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay
Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to
TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at
And remember: “ You Are
What You Drive ”
Suzuki Home Page
Column Name: It’s a car
that makes driving fun again
Topic: The 2010 Suzuki
Word Count: 1015
Photo Caption: The
2010 Suzuki SX4
Photo Credits: Suzuki
SX4 Internet Media
Series #: 2010 - 13
the Microsoft Word version here:
2010 Suzuki SX4
Download the Original Image File here:
2010 Suzuki SX4