The Suzuki SX4 is convenient and easy to live with, and available all-wheel drive makes it an excellent choice for drivers who want an inexpensive high-mileage compact with all-weather capability. All models are keenly priced, making them worthy candidates for shoppers looking for small cars that are more than just basic transportation.
The 2012 Suzuki SX4 lineup features a four-door Sedan, a five-door Crossover, and a SportBack that shares the Crossover body but rides lower on a suspension tuned for on-road handling rather than off-road clearance.
All 2012 SX4 models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 148-150 horsepower and 140 foot-pounds of torque. The SX4 Sedan and SX4 SportBack are front-wheel drive only. The SX4 Crossover is all-wheel drive. It's all-wheel drive that makes the SX4 special.
All-wheel drive is not widely available in this class. The Suzuki all-wheel-drive system sends up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels, giving the SX4 better traction in snow and on unpaved roads. The world's top rally cars use all-wheel drive for its superior traction and Suzuki has been running the SX4 in the World Rally Championship, proving it has the right stuff.
The Suzuki SX4 Crossover, a four-door hatchback (also called a five-door), offers cargo versatility and looks like a mini-SUV. (Suzuki sometimes calls this car a Crossover and other times a Hatchback.)
These cars corner well and are enjoyable to drive. The 150-horsepower engine revs to 6200 rpm, and its 140 foot-pounds of torque makes acceleration smooth. The 6-speed manual gearbox is easy to shift, the clutch easy to use. They offer responsive handling and are relatively quiet underway.
The sporty SX4 SportBack features a lower ride height, performance shocks, stabilizer bars, four-wheel disc brakes, and 17-inch alloy rims with wider profile (205/50R17) all-season tires. That equipment is also available on the Sedan with Sport SE trim. It offers more precise cornering and a firmer ride. The SportBack has the Crossover hatchback body style but uses the SX4 Sedan Sport SE front-wheel-drive powertrain and suspension, wheels and tires.
The Suzuki SX4 offers a Garmin navigation system neatly pops up out of the dash with features like weather, airline schedules and Google search is either standard or optional in all models, while halogen headlamps, 60/40 split rear seat, and eight airbags are all standard.
New for 2012, Suzuki has upgraded the available Garmin navigation with Voice Command Recognition along with interactive features such as traffic information, weather forecast, 3D maps including lane guidance, and Google Local Point-of-Interest Search. Also, all 2012 Suzuki SX4 models come standard with electronic stability control.
The SX4 interior is simple and easy to operate. The black cloth bucket seats are terrific: they fit for around-town or hard cornering, they're roomy and rugged. The seating position is high and driver visibility is good. Instrumentation is straightforward and knobs and dials are few and easy to operate. Cubbies and door pockets provide in-cabin storage and there are plenty of cupholders.
The rear seat in the SX4 Crossover and SportBack offers good legroom for a compact. The back seat in the SX4 Sedan is less roomy, but the trunk is large.