The 2012 Suzuki SX4 earns an average Total Car Score among competeting economy cars.
On the positive side, the SX4 is noted for its two different body styles and the fact that it offers all-wheel drive. Not only is that very rare in this segment, but it also allows the Suzuki to boast that it is the lowest priced new car with all-wheel drive.
On the other hand, the cabin materials are only average and the driving position has been called awkward. The SX4 is also chided for below-average acceleration and unimpressive fuel economy — its unusually-large engine is burdened with a cumbersome and overweight vehicle (the downside of an older design and all-wheel drive). Lastly, and making service and sales difficult, the Suzuki dealer network is small — and not expanding anytime soon.
The current Suzuki SX4, a first-generation model, was introduced in 2007. It is growing long on the tooth, but the automaker added rear disc brakes and standard stability control for 2012 (which was government mandated this year). In addition, some of the trim levels were reconfigured or discontinued.
The 2012 Suzuki SX4 is sold as a four-door sedan and as a five-door crossover. There are several body-specific trim levels, ranging from entry-level to Sport SE and Crossover Premium.
Regardless of the body style or trim, all Suzuki SX4 models are fitted with the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The naturally-aspirated inline-4 is rated at 150 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. Transmissions vary by trim level. Base and SE trims receive a six-speed manual gearbox while the higher trim levels are fitted with a continuously-variable automatic (horsepower drops slightly with the CVT). The standard powertrain is front-wheel drive, but the Crossover model is equipped with all-wheel drive for better traction in inclement weather.
Entry-level base models are austere, arriving without air conditioning or an audio system (bump up to the LE trim to add both). The LE Popular package is equipped with remote keyless entry, alloy wheels, cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The SE is the sporty model, with 17-inch alloy wheels, body kit and an integrated Garmin GPS system — Bluetooth phone connectivity is an option.
The five-door models are similarly equipped, but they are taller and fitted with roof racks to carry items outside the cabin. Major options include navigation, heated front seats and Bluetooth.
The EPA estimates the SX4 front-wheel drive with the 2.0-liter inline-four mated to a continuously-variable automatic transmission will earn 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. The all-wheel drive model with the same transmission delivers 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined, while the SX4 Sport with the six-speed manual gearbox earns 23 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined.
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