April 01, 2010
Our 2009 Suzuki SX4 is gone. Read the wrap up and then come back and see our parting shots, and don't forget to add your own!
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 20,174 miles
If the Italians were still doing business in the U.S., the cars would be just like this Suzuki. And I mean that in a good way.
Executive Editor, Edmunds.com
"Hey Mike, the SX4 has a check engine warning light on."
--Check the gas cap.
"Hey Mike, the SX4 has a brake warning light on."
--Top off the brake fluid.
"Hey Mike, the SX4 has an airbag warning light on."
--That part is on order.
"Hey Mike, the airbag warning light is on again."
--That part is still on order.
"Hey Mike, the SX4 has a headlight warning light on."
--That's because your headlights are on.
"Hey Mike, with all these warning lights, has the SX4 ever broken down or left anybody stranded?"
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager
Techno toys alone can't make a terrible car great, but they can make an otherwise mediocre car much better. Just knowing the SX4 had navigation and hands-free telephone technology made it easy to grab the keys for a weekend.
Karl Brauer, Editor-in-Chief, Edmunds.com
Am I the only person on staff who liked the Suzuki SX4? It had its issues but I thought it was cute and practical. It had good visibility, a helpful and removable navigation system, clear and easy-to-use climate controls, comfortable cloth seats. It was nice.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
"If there was ever a car that truly needed another 50 horsepower, our SX4 was it."
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor
This was a stout little AWD runabout that seems tailor-made for members of the just-married set who must deal with snow in winter. Well built and functional, the only thing it really lacked was decent power and a full-coverage dealer network. The former has been improved for 2010, but the latter probably limit the SX4's appeal to specific geographic hot-spots.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
Voted "Vehicle Interior Most Likely To Retain Fast Food Smell."
Kelly Toepke, News Editor, Edmunds.com
"Likeable but not game-changing. That pretty much sums up my feelings on the SX4. It was better than our long-term Ford Focus but not as likeable as our long-term Honda Fit. A 2010 SX4 with a manual transmission, a different color and SportBack suspension tuning would be noticeably more fun to drive I think."
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, Edmunds.com
I didn't fit in it. So I didn't drive it.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor, Edmunds.com
December 14, 2009
I'm a big fan of the SX4. I dig its roomy cabin, standard nav system and relatively smooth ride quality; still, it doesn't exactly sprint with the lightning speed of Usain Bolt. With this sort of tepid acceleration, the payoff is usually stellar fuel economy. But the SX4 ain't no champ in this area either, bringing up the rear in its category.
I thought about all this as I was making a recommendation this weekend to a friend who's in the market for a new car in the sub-$20,000 price range. My buddy's goal? He wants a cheap ride that's decent to drive and easy on the wallet at the pump. I love you, Suzy, but in this case, the smart money's on the Fit.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 18,872 miles
November 17, 2009
Photo by Kurt Niebuhr
This weekend, as we were getting into the SX4 for a marathon session of errands and family duty, my husband said, "Wow, I forgot how much visibility this car has." He was really impressed with how much he could see while in the front seat of Suzuki's little hatchback. I thoroughly agree. With a lot of other modern cars, I feel like I'm fighting with the car to see clearly in all directions. Not so with the SX4.
While reversing into a parallel parking spot, I was immensely grateful to be able to see where the car ended just by looking over my shoulder. Not a surprising trait in a small economy car, but a welcome one nonetheless.
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 17,759 miles
November 02, 2009
Driving around in the Suzuki SX4 this weekend, I noticed the car gets a lot of looks.
I spotted people sneaking peeks in their mirrors or turning heads while walking down the street.
At first I thought it was my new haircut (just kidding, of course) or that they were giving me the stink eye for some reason.
But then I realized, the Suzuki is a good-looking vehicle, especially in its light blue paint.
Passersby were just appreciating its handsomeness in the golden sunlight.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 17,225 miles
October 26, 2009
Thanks to its low beltline, big greenhouse and useful little port-type windows by the A-pillar, the SX4 offers pretty good visibility. That might be enough for most manufacturers, but Suzuki takes things one step further by including the hugest side mirrors this side of a Dodge Sprinter. These massive slabs of glass are the antithesis of the skinny little side mirrors seen on cars like the new Camaro -- form-over-function mirrors that look stylish, but don't offer much acreage for viewing purposes. Sure, the SX4's mirrors are a bit on the homely side -- they're the side-mirror equivalent of dad jeans in that respect -- but they're a pleasure to use, and offer a wonderfully expansive picture of the road behind you.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 6,971 miles
September 16, 2009
Our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4 didn't get the suspension walkaround treatment the last time it was car of the week, but it wasn't my fault. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. LOCUSTS!
But everything is all better now. The Suzuki is up on jack stands and it's not too terribly hot outside. Let's take a peek inside those wheel wells.
September 13, 2009
Last week we got word that the online Suzuki SX4 club, SX4club.com, was having a first-ever meet at Suzuki's U.S. headquarters in Brea, California.
Since Suzuki HQ is located about 5 miles from my house, I figured I'd drop in with our 2009 Suzuki SX4 long term car and see if any of the club regulars noticed my party crashing.
About two dozen vehicles participated. Many were locals from So Cal, but several had come a few hundred miles from places like San Francisco, Nevada and Arizona.
As an online club, everyone more or less knew each other already. But many had never met face-to-face, so it took awhile for the participants to connect faces to cars to online usernames.
Our unmodifed i-AWD SX4 and its automatic transmission was in the minority. Nearly every club member's SX4 was modified in one way or another, and more than half were 5-speed manuals.
August 31, 2009
Over the weekend I noticed that our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4's hatch doesn't fit right.
Specifically, the gap on the right side is bigger...
August 23, 2009
If there was no Honda Fit to fight for your dollar, we'd probably never shut-up about the SX4. It's all ate up with practical, and unlike the Fit, is available with all-wheel drive (AWD). Running errands around L.A. all weekend doesn't really require the AWD, however, and if you live where the snow is rare, you'd probably be perfectly happy with the FWD SX4 and its larger gas tank.
The heat was on this weekend, so the reasonably effective A/C was on full bore most of the time, and you notice the power sap especially when lounging away from lights. The Suzi also needed a scrub, and though not exactly the most butch color ever, the sea foam highlights do look best on the car when it's clean. The SX4 may not be the kind of performance car to boil you blood, but day to day, it's tough to beat for a runabout -- save the Fit, which adds frisky to the SX4's otherwise stoic resume.
Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 13,165 miles
August 04, 2009
We had a spectacular sunset last night so I rushed to the beach to take some pictures of the Suzuki SX4.
The Suzuki SX4 is a pretty car anyway and it looks great against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
If in some alternate future I was to purchase a Suzuki SX4, this would be my wish list:
- just a little more power (I know it's an economy car, I don't need to be blown away)
- quicker downshifts (so I can kick it when I need to)
- a moonroof (so I can enjoy the night sky)
- a kicking audio system (so I can disturb the neighborhood)
- some sun protection on all that glass (so my legs don't fry like they did on the way to work this morning).
July 20, 2009
If the Pikes Peak Hill Climb was televised, who knows how many people would be all excited about the Suzuki SX4 today. After both Ford Fiestas prematurely expired during yesterday's Race to the Clouds, 20-year Pikes Peak veteran Nobuhiro Tajima jumped into his Suzuki SX4 hill climb special (prepared by his own team, Monster Sport) and ran a 10:15.368, easily winning the Unlimited class.
It's an understatement to say this SX4 has little in common with our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4 hatch. For example, instead of our long-termer's normally aspirated, 143-horsepower, 2.0-liter inline-4, the hill climb car has a twin-turbocharged, 2.7-liter V6 with dry sump oiling. Monster Sport gives hp and torque in PS and kg-m, but converted, they come out to a claimed 873 hp at 8,750 rpm and 654 lb-ft at 6,250 rpm.
More photos after the jump, plus the best of the videos taken by spectators standing along the course.
Edmunds News: Pikes Peak: Tajima, in Suzuki SX4, Notches Fourth Consecutive Win
July 17, 2009
Several times I've posted blogs detailing my fondness for our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4. I even said I would buy one.
Well, now I'm not so sure. Instead I think I would wait for Suzuki to get its 2010 Suzuki SX4 Sportback to market. I just had a chance to drive this new model, and it's really good. It's the black one on the left. Notice it doesn't have a roof rack like our long-termer. In fact Suzuki has turned down the car's SUV-vibe and replaced it with a much more desirable small performance car look, complete with a mild body kit, a lower ride height, a sport-tuned suspension, nice looking 17-inch wheels and lower profile Dunlop rubber.
And here's the best part: They gave it more power.
June 22, 2009
Ever have one of those days when you feel like the whole world is against you? Well I had that every day I was in our 2009 Suzuki SX4 this weekend. Every day I had someone go out of their way to cut me off. From Ford Explorers to Kia Spectras to even Toyota Priuses. It was uncanny. Every time, whether there was a merge lane when it was my turn to merge FYI or I was just driving in rush hour traffic, the other driver would duck in front of me, nearly slicing off the SX4's nose. And of course when I honked at them "Hey, I'm driving here," I'd get flipped off. Every. Time.
Now before you say that that's just how L.A. drivers drive and I shouldn't take it personally, there was this one BMW 135i convertible with a "WRKMGC" vanity plate.
I was driving on Walgrove Avenue toward Santa Monica. A road I usually take to work. But since it was a Sunday and there wasn't much traffic on the road, I was just enjoying it and leisurely left about three car lengths between me and the BMW. But when we got to Ocean Park Boulevard where the road splits into two lanes only to merge again after the stoplight on the other side of Ocean Park, I signaled that I was going to turn right.
The BMW saw this and at the last second he straddled the two lanes and sat there at the redlight so I couldn't get around him. Huh?
When the light turned green, he creeped his way slooowly forward. So I honked at him to get going. Well, naturally he honked back at me. What a nimrod. What was his problem? I'll never know. But all the jerky driver encounters made me hate piloting this car around L.A. Not only because of that but also for its lack of power and its loud engine that revs to 4,000 rpm when you're going 65.
I think the Suzuki SX4 would be fine for the docile driver, someone who is tolerant and patient. OK, yeah, that's not me. But I've driven many different cars, cars you'd think people would dislike more, and have never consistently been hated on like I was in this car. It has a friendly blue-green color and is very innocuous-looking, why get in its face?
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 7,358 miles
June 18, 2009
If you have any interest at all in the imminent arrival of Fiat in the U.S. under the umbrella of the reborn Chrysler Corporation (or is it the other way around?), you don't have to look further than the Suzuki SX4.
The SX4 is the product of a co-development project with Fiat, and the plant in Hungary that assembles this Suzuki for Europe also builds the Fiat Sedici. This Fiat is the most popular all-wheel-drive crossover in Italy. (Sedici translates as "sixteen"; 4x4, get it?)
So it's no surprise that the Suzuki's elegantly drawn exterior and practical yet stylish interior look as if they're straight from one of the leading design houses in Italy, as Giorgetto Giugaro's ItalDesign did the work.
Compared to the turgid appearance of pseudo-crossovers like the Dodge Caliber and Kia Rondo, the SX4 is a miracle of good taste. It makes practicality seem smart instead of cheap. It's Italian.
More small vehicles that look as good as the Suzuki SX4 would be a good thing.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 7,300 miles
May 28, 2009
I really like driving our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4. No, it's not the quickest little hatch around, but its steering, brakes and suspension all have just the right weighting and feedback to keep me entertained. In fact, the Suzuki feels so good, there are several cars in our fleet with much higher price tags that could learn a thing or two from its brake feel, body motion control and precise steering.
Basically it's a car that likes to be driven hard, and it's a car that feels like it was tuned for the driving enthusiast.
Am I surprised by the Suzuki's pleasurable feel and entertaining dynamics? Nope. How could I be when the same company makes this...
May 16, 2009
This pisses me off. Today our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4 picked up this nasty door ding in its passenger side quarter panel. I'm not really sure when or where it happened, all I know is it wasn't there yesterday and it's there now.
It's this kind of thing that makes me question the future of the human race. If we can't even open our car doors without complete disregard for car parked next to us, how can we save our children's future? Sad.
Whatever, somebody out there has some bad karma coming their way.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 5,979 miles
May 15, 2009
"Look Momma, the car is the same color as my backpack," she says.
I dig the Suzuki SX4, but might opt for a more grown-up color.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 5780 miles
May 06, 2009
Obviously this is not our long-term Suzuki SX4, but it seemed relevant. I also think it was good that is was rated good.
April 27, 2009
Well, our 2009 Suzuki SX4 cleared 5,000 miles last Friday. It happened about a mile short of the McDonald's on Castaic Road just off the I-5. To celebrate, I stopped and bought a Coke.
It will be interesting to see how easily our SX4 racks up miles for the remainder of its stay. The Honda Fits we've had in the fleet have always been popular (96 posts and 25,000 miles for the 2007 car), yet the milquetoast Nissan Versa (50 posts and 16,000 miles) was treated like it had a really bad BO.
I'd like to think that the SX4's mildly playful demeanor will help it be more endearing to our staff than the Versa.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 5,215 miles
April 23, 2009
According to the most recent Automotive News, "Booming sales of the Suzuki SX4 have created a potential problem for dealers: a car shortage." March sales of the SX4 reached 4,795 units. That is up almost 50 percent from March 2008. The shortage is expected to last until new vehicles are shipped to the U.S. mid- to late May.
I wonder how much we could get for our SX4 on craigslist...
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 4,795 miles
April 16, 2009
There's a lot I like about our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4, but its color is not one of them. Whoever chose it should be killed...twice, then we should all go after the fool's family.
Yes, it's that bad. But even covered in that horrific robin's egg blue (or is that seafoam green), I like the way the Suzuki looks. Park it next to a Honda Fit or a Nissan Versa or any other little econo wagon of the kind and I believe the SX4 is the hottie of the group. I like its bulldog proportions, its aggressive wheelwell flares and I like how its sits on those oversized 5-spoke wheels. It's the only car in its class with any stance and I think it looks far more masculine than its competition.
Paint it black, or silver, or any other boy color, and a guy can drive this thing without a bag over his head.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
April 15, 2009
When I put in a request for a car with some cargo capacity to take to San Diego last night, I won't lie to you, the SX4 wasn't at the top of my list.