2009 Suzuki SX4 Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Small, Square Rear Cupholder

January 05, 2010

sx4 rear cupholder

I recently had the need to make use of the rear cupholder in our LT SX4. I was in a hurry to get somewhere with the kid, I had a Sigg water bottle (.6L) to stash and the front two cupholders were already full. "Ah! rear cupholder," I thought. So I tried to cram it into the little center-mounted rear cupholder. No dice; it was too wide (and round) for the squarish cupholder's small space. I tried switching the Sigg bottle with a Solo-style to-go cup that had already been up front (where the Sigg does fit). Nope, that cup didn't fit in the rear cupholder either. Argh. There's also the problem of the front armrests' eating into the vertical space above the rear cupholder. Only the narrowest of tall drink containers will fit between those armrests. Even if the Sigg had been slimmer, it still was too tall for those armrests.

So what does fit in that cupholder?

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2009 Suzuki SX4: I Don't Fit in the SX4

December 10, 2009

Riswick in SX4 Zuk

OK, so that isn't our SX4. It's the crazy SX4 Zuk race car thing dropped on us a few months back that had a racing seat sized for .86 Riswick. I was a good 2.5 inches from the seat bottom, stuck on the side bolsters. Magrath said, "hey, go grab the SX4." I laughed and answered, "um, unable to comply."

Any way, I don't fit in the regular SX4 either. There is no driver seat adjustment and the set position is too high in the back (photo after the jump). I feel like I'm hovering above the controls and I'm needlessly close to the roof despite the greenhouse being the size of Biodome. It makes an otherwise pleasant car to drive completely miserable. But I suppose it could be worse ^^^.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 18,812 miles

P.S. You happy dougtheeng?

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Living Dead Pedal

December 08, 2009

I appreciate cars that have a "dead pedal", that cryptically-named foot rest located on the far left side of the driver's footwell. To clarify, not all cars have a dead pedal. In fact, it used to be only high-performance cars had one so your left foot/leg wouldn't slip while you ripped through some tight corners.

The SX4 has a dead pedal -- nothing fancy, just a piece of semi-grippy black plastic that does the job of keeping one's left foot from sliding. But as it turns out, this dead pedal is alive. Press down on it a little and it flexes and squeaks as if it's one of those old-school, floor-mounted headlight high/low-beam switches. A minor build-quality issue, evidently as there's space underneath the SX4's dead pedal that allows the flexing, as opposed to it being affixed solidly to the floor pan.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor at 18,787 miles.

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2009 Suzuki SX4: I Can't See the Buttons

November 09, 2009

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There are helpful buttons on the steering wheel of the SX4 for the audio and cruise controls.

However, they are not illuminated. So, I can't see them at night.

When I'm listening to the classic rock station (the only tolerable station we have left in L.A. since the Indie station went online only) and a Styx song comes on, I have to reach over to the actual radio to save my ears.

Sorry, Styx. But I had an old boyfriend who tortured me with your music too often in my youth. Bad memories.

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2009 Suzuki SX-4: Options

November 06, 2009

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(Photo by Kurt Niebuhr)

Like everyone else here, I'm not thrilled with the pathetic range of our 2009 Suzuki SX-4. It's mostly due to the small gas tank made necessary by the all-wheel-drive system, and could be fixed, for us here in Southern California, by deleting that option. But this Suzuki has a neat little trick up its sleeve that, in a sense, increases the range on the AWD SX-4.

See, what they've done is equipped the SX-4 with an "electronically controlled coupling device mounted in front of the rear differential." There's a switch (pictured) to pick between all and front wheel drive. Power/Fuel economy losses are estimated at 5-10% for all wheel drive vehicles and having the option to use it only when needed-- ie: not in your daily commute to work-- is a plus.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Comfort Optional

October 30, 2009

SX4_torture.jpgI'm going to have to disagree with Erin's assessment of our SX4's seating. After spending about four hours in the blue box yesterday, I realized that average-sized American males may have issues with the driving position.

I'm 5'10" and of average build, and I could not find a comfortable seating position. The lack of a telescoping wheel was probably the main culprit. With the seat adjusted for leg comfort, the wheel was way too far away from me. With the seat adjusted to have the wheel within comfortable reach had my legs bunched up. I tried a compromise between the two and everything started aching after 45 minutes.

Then there's the elbows. The door armrest is made from an unyielding piece of plastic. Remind me to pick up some elbow pads from the sporting goods store next time. The center armrest is at least cloth covered, but the angle is all wrong and is uneven with the other side's medieval perch. There's also a hard lump under the corner stitching that hits right where my forearm should rest.

None of this bothered me before on shorter trips, but this was the first (and hopefully last) long trip I took in the SX4. For the rest of the day, I'll be popping Advil like PEZ.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 17,137 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Turn Up Your Volume

October 20, 2009

As Mark mentioned in an early post, our Suzuki SX4's steering wheel makes a weird robotic sounds when turned.

Here's a video of the steering wheel. It's hard to capture sound on my Flip. Turn up the volume to hear it.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Good Steering Wheel in $18K Car

October 15, 2009

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Our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4 hatchback deserves credit for its steering wheel design. Not only is this an attractive, three-spoke wheel, it's comfortable to grip at 9-and-3. This is due both to its leathery wrap and the stitching used to join the sections of leather (or leather-like material).

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Steering by Robocop

October 05, 2009

SX4_wheel.jpg

With the stereo off, the steering in our long-term Suzuki SX4 emits a noticeable robotic sound. I can best describe it as the electric motor sound that Robocop (or C3PO) makes whenever they move. It's a high-pitched whine that made me think that perhaps it has something to do with some sort of electric power steering unit - but our SX4 has a hydraulic assist. The sound itself isn't annoying, and with the radio on, you'd struggle to hear it at all. It's just weird.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 14,432 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Back Seat Passengers

September 07, 2009

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Me and the girls went out Sunday for a short little trip to do girly things.

I offered to drive as I usually do because they are always interested to see what car I'm driving.

This time I was piloting the Suzuki SX4. We had two passengers in the back seat so I told them it was their job to give me a back seat review.

They felt they had enough room but doubted that taller passengers would find it comfortable. "It's perfect for children in car seats," said one.

"It's nice and cool back here," said another. "The air conditioner reaches me just fine."

They also concluded that the car is much roomier than it looks from the outside. The cloth seats were comfortable, but for longer trips they wondered if they would feel cramped.

For our next outing, I promised to get a larger car so they could feel the difference.

Have you driven in a Suzuki SX4?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Cockeyed Wheel

July 10, 2009

SX4-steering-wheel.jpg

I'm not sure how, why or where it happened, but I drove our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4 to Pomona and back (about 120 miles) this morning and I couldn't help but notice that the car's steering wheel has become cockeyed. When you're driving straight, the wheel looks like you're making a slight right.

We'll get it fixed when the airbag part comes in or at car's the next scheduled service, which ever comes first.

By the way, please refrain from commenting on my lame photo and/or hairy arm.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 7,948 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Easy To Be With

July 08, 2009

suzuki sx4 375 ed.jpg

As I was driving the SX4 home last night, I realized I really like this little hatchback. Lightweight, inexpensive cars like this sometimes feel lightweight and inexpensive on the road. Not so with the SX4 -- it feels solid and composed in most circumstances. It's reasonably quiet, as well.

I even like the look of its cabin. This is an interior that makes no attempt to transcend its status -- hard plastics abound, and there's not a lot to capture visual interest. Still, it works for me -- the black-with-metallic-accents color scheme strikes me as masculine and kinda industrial-looking. And I like the simple, straightforward layout of the knobs and buttons on the center stack.

Overall, this is one very cooperative little hatchback -- and cooperativeness is a big plus in this segment.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 7,756 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Ain't No Driver Seat High Enough

June 30, 2009

suzuki sx4 headroom

I'm kind of a visibility hog. I don't like wishing I could sit up taller in a car's seat so I can see what's happening around me, so whenever there's seat-height adjustment available in a car, I take advantage of it, even in SUVs. And though our long-term Suzuki's airy greenhouse gives the car a nice, open feel to it, without a seat-height adjustability, all that room above my head does me no good when I still feel like I'm sitting on the floor. It's something I've gotten used to, it wouldn't stop me from buying the car (I actually like almost everything else about the little crossover quite a lot), but I still wish I could be just a bit higher.

Also, a follow-up to my post last Friday about not being able to remove the headrest for child seat installation: Thanks, subaru123 for suggesting that I just tilt the seatback forward. That did the trick; instantly plenty of room to remove the headrest completely. Now I've got a well-installed kid seat.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 7,601 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Jam It

June 26, 2009

jammed

Sometimes, to get this Recaro kid seat to fit properly (it's the tallest child safety seat in the universe), I have to remove a car's rear headrest because it doesn't allow the back of the Recaro to sit even remotely flush with the seatback. But occasionally -- as seen here in the SX4 -- the head restraint isn't removable, and I end up having to cram the Recaro underneath the maxed-out head restraint to get it all to fit. This is why it's so important to take your child safety seat(s) with you when you test-drive a car.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 7,526 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Fat A-pillars

June 15, 2009

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The 2009 Suzuki SX4 has these cool front quarter windows that can help you get a bead on surroundings. But as I discovered doing laps in downtown Long Beach this weekend, when making turns in the midst of a crosswalk grid, the front A-pillar is thick enough to hide a marching band from view.

The small triangular window (remember when those used to open?...) does create a useful port especially when glancing to starboard in traffic, as the angle when looking towards the passenger side gives you a more direct view through the transparent wedge. It's also very useful when looking for the curb when parking on one-way streets. We can probably thank the latest crash standards for these designs, as with small cars, pushing the dash forward and bracing it with a stout A-pillar probably does wonders for occupant protection.

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Pleasures and Perils of a Tall Seating Position

June 02, 2009

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Our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4 hatchback has a very tall seating position, even by small 'n tall hatchback standards. The car sits high off the ground (6.9 inches of ground clearance, apparently) and, as you can see, the driver seat is then mounted high off the floor.

Getting into this car requires no bending or crouching whatsoever from the average-size adult, but for the slightly klutzy, the exposed seat track poses a hazard.

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2009 Suzuki SX4: These Gauges Drive Me Up the Wall

June 01, 2009

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After a 250-mile weekend in the 2009 Suzuki SX4, these gauges could be a deal breaker. Two problems:

1. The gauges look orange-ish in this photo, but make no mistake, they light up in bright red. There is no relief from this color scheme, save for the green dot (amber for R) for the automatic transmission's gear selection display. It turns out monochromatic red is very hard on the eyes at night.

2. Excessive markings on the speedometer. I don't need to be able to tell a peace officer, "Why, yes, I was going 71 mph." The old "about 70" answer will do just fine. Having all these markings makes the gauge pack unnecessarily chaotic -- the speedo looks like a protractor. A mark every 5 mph would do just fine.

P.S. We're not ignoring the airbag warning light. We're still waiting on a replacement driver-seat cushion from Cerritos Suzuki, and as we reported, the dealership maintains that the airbag remains functional and capable of deploying in a collision.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 6,612 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: The Range Readout

May 25, 2009

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We've already extablished several times that our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4 doesn't go very far on its small tank of fuel. Drive it like a little old lady and you're lucky to cover 200 miles before the low fuel light is glowing.

This blog post is not about that. It's about the SX4's range readout. This neat little luxury is rare in a car at this price point. I just checked, our long-term Honda Fit doesn't have one and I remember complaining that our $40,000 long-term Subaru STI didn't have one either.

You know, the more I use the SX4 the more I like it. It's packed with a lot of little things I'd appreciate if I were spending my own money on a car in this class.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2009 Suzuki SX4 Crossover: Front Seat Comfort

April 29, 2009

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Front seats don't get much more basic than the ones in our 2009 Suzuki SX4. They have manual sliding fore and aft and manual seat recline. No lumbar, no ventilating, no butt massaging (unless you do it yourself). And you know what, the seats are just fine without all that stuff.

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Touch Point...or is that Ouch Point?!

April 13, 2009

SuzukiSX4Armrest.jpg

My colleague Josh is rather discerning when it comes to armrests. If it's a thinly padded deal, he'll call it out. I'd hate to think of what he'd say if he saw the SX4's! Although I have no complaints with the rest of the Suzuki's cabin -- it seems well put together and is attractive enough, though like most economy cars it is comprised chiefly of hard plastic. But for the armrests?!

Suzuki needs to take a lesson from Hyundai here and realize that the areas of a vehicle that people come into constant contact with ("touch points" in car design lingo) should be finished off. They should give an impression of quality, not one of "did they forget to install the padded armrest tops here?"

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Suzuki SX4 in VA is:

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