January 09, 2010
Our 2009 Suzuki SX4 rolled past the 20,000-mile mark on the way home yesterday. I missed the big moment because traffic speed was varying wildly between 35 and 70 mph just as the odometer rolled over. I had to wait.
A few miles further back I had refueled the SX4 with the low fuel light on, the needle buried past "E" and 276.4 miles on the trip odometer. Divide that by the 10.35 gallons I added and you get a respectable 26.7 mpg. Not the best tank we've seen--that was 28.3 mpg--but pretty good for mixed driving.
But a quick check of the Zuk's fuel log shows that the 276.4 miles I got out of this tank represents the longest range we've EVER coaxed out of this car during the entire 20,000 miles we've had it. And I only managed it because I had ignored the low-fuel warning when it came on at 250 miles so I could stop at my favorite station.
Why is the range so lousy when the mpg is this decent? Our AWD SX4 holds just 11.9 gallons of gas. As Brody might have said had he owned this car, "You're gonna need a bigger tank." Or maybe Brody should buy the 2WD version. The lack of a rear driveshaft means it has a 13.2-gallon tank and slightly better mpg. It should get to 300 miles once in awhile. Heck, once would be nice.
But a stick-shift won't help the cause. The Suzuki SX4 is one of an increasing number of cars
that gets better mpg with an automatic than it does with a manual.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 20,040 miles
November 23, 2009
I had a quick biz trip down near San Diego this week. Del Mar, to be precise, which is about 115 miles from our office in Santa Monica. After considering my trio of vehicle options (Ram pickup, Challenger, SX4), I went with the Suzuki. And there were a trio of reasons for my choice: fuel economy, a nav system and Bluetooth. Follow the jump to see how it fared...
Fuel economy: B-
For the 230-mile round trip (virtually all highway, and apart from a few miles of slow-moving traffic, moving along nicely at 70-75 mph), the SX4 averaged 26 mpg against the EPA highway estimate of 28 mpg.
Note: The 2010 SX4 AWD automatic will be a CVT, and mileage estimates improve to 23 city, 29 highway and 25 combined, versus our '09 with a 4-speed automatic's 21/28/24.
Navigation System: B
A bit of a reach to access, so if I had an address to enter I would detach it (it's removable from the car) and type away, obviously when I was sitting parked. And thanks to its simple, intuitive layout, entering addresses and finding gas stations and yes, Starbucks, were quick work. The voice prompts, however, sound like they're from a 1980's voice synthesizer. The Suzuki's Max Headroom is certainly not as smoothly spoken as the lady in our Honda Fit's nav system. Then again, the SX4's system came standard as opposed to commanding a near-$2,000 premium as with the Fit.
It's nice that the system automatically downloads your phone numbers (no, they don't all do that). However, the transmission quality was sometimes rather poor. At times, the person on the other end couldn't hear me that clearly, prompting one to say that it sounded like I was underwater. Or that I was Charlie Brown's teacher.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 18,195 miles
October 12, 2009
My LA-to-Portland-LA road trip in our long-term 2009 Suzuk SX4 hatchback spanned 2,125 miles. I put in 84.891 gallons of 87 octane fuel.
My best tank was 26.9 mpg over 249.9 miles; my worst tank came during the Mt Shasta climb -- 20.4 mpg over 171.7 miles.
My average mpg over the whole trip was 25.0 mpg. That's obviously not very good if you consider the SX4 a rival to the Honda Fit, but for a modestly-powered, all-wheel-drive car driven on a route with plenty of elevation changes, it's not bad. That said, I would have done just as well with the mpg in a roomier, better-performing Subaru Impreza, which also isn't that much more expensive.
Our SX4's lifetime average is now 23.2 mpg. More numbers and opinionated comments after the jump. Bonus point for anyone who knows the location of the Stardust Motel.
September 08, 2009
This fuel warning light came on right after I left my house this morning.
I live 20 miles from the office but I wanted to get to the gas station near the office because it has a drive-through car wash.
My old Chevy used to run out of gas right on the empty line. But my Acura will keep going for a while well below the empty line. I wasn't sure what the Suzuki would do, so I kept on driving.
Turns out I didn't reach the line before I reached the car wash. The 2009 Suzuki SX4 has a fuel tank capacity of 11.9 gallons. When I filled up, the car took in 9.228 gallons. So, I needn't have worried.
How low does your fuel meter go past empty?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 13,576 miles
August 20, 2009
Our long-term Suzuki served shuttle duty this week, easily carrying me and a set of overnight luggage from L.A. to a press event in San Diego. I filled up the night before so I wouldn't have to deal with fuel stops on either of 130-odd mile legs, but then I forgot about the Suzi's limited range. Though the tank is smaller on our AWD model (11.9 vs. 13.2 gallons), I'm not sure if we're ever dipping into its full capacity.
The needle was below the "E" and the fuel light had been on for some time before I finally caved and hopped off the 405 in the midst of rush hour traffic to top it off. As you can see from our fuel log on the right (that's miles and gallons), our mileage has varied, but we seem unable to get within a gallon of the stated capacity, so maybe we've got a slightly pessimistic fuel needle. Better safe than sorry, but I bet I could have made it home...
Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 12,815 miles
May 25, 2009
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
May 01, 2009
Yep, it's an issue. As Kurt mentioned early on, our SX4 throws in the towel after about 200 miles and flips on its low fuel light. When this happened a couple days ago, I felt like I had just refuelled the car the day before. Which I had. I just couldn't work up the effort to fuel up again, so I drove around for a couple more days with the fuel light on. Will I run out of gas? Ha ha, bring it on SX4 -- I live for danger!
January 22, 2009
This is going to be an issue. I just know it.
Our little Suzuki SX4 has a little fuel tank; I believe it's just under 12 gallons. Combine that with (relatively) dismal fuel economy and you get a sane, usable range of around 200 miles. If your last name is Jacquot, you might see 280 miles before having to fill up. But I doubt anyone will get 300 miles on a tank with this car.
What's the big deal with that? Well, this idea of 'pain at the pump' comes from always finding yourself at the gas station, constantly having to fill up your car. It's a psychological thing more than anything else, but when you buy a cute, little four cylinder car you might have it in your head that you won't be filling it up all the time. With the Suzuki, you'd be wrong.
For the record, I was the one who recorded our best fuel economy for this car at 23.2 mpg. That was in 2WD, with 80 percent open highway driving. Maybe there's a Z06 endurance tank option we missed?
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 2,314 miles