Full 2013 Suzuki SX4 Review
What's New for 2013
For 2013, trim levels for the SX4 sedan and Sportback lineup are streamlined. The SX4 hatchbacks have a new front fascia and new colors, while all SX4 hatchbacks and the Sport sedan get new seat fabrics and an available voice-activated navigation system that features streaming audio and USB ports.
Suzuki's 2013 SX4 is a value-laden compact car line that offers a blend of versatility and utility that many of its better-known competitors can't match. In particular, you can get the SX4 as a hatchback, a sedan or as a crossover-themed version of the hatchback called the SX4 Crossover. But those familiar with the Suzuki brand and the merits of its vehicles will be dismayed to learn that the company will stop U.S. vehicle sales after the 2013 model year.
By its own merits, the 2013 Suzuki SX4 is still pretty appealing. The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is larger and stronger than most of the subcompact cars with which the SX4 competes, and available all-wheel drive is another plus. The downside is that you won't find the SX4 fronting some of the headline-grabbing miles-per-gallon numbers of more frugal -- and let's face it, more modern -- subcompact cars. Still, the SX4's fuel economy isn't awful.
Inside, a higher-than-normal seating position limits available headroom, although this arrangement certainly makes entering and exiting a breeze for average-sized or smaller occupants. The SX4 hatchback models offer the versatility of folding rear seats for hauling oversized items, while the SX4 sedan's trunk capacity is much larger than average. Unfortunately, the SX4's interior design is dated and plain-looking despite this year's new seat fabrics and updated navigation and audio systems.
The subcompact car segment has basked in a recent rash of interesting and refined new models, almost all of which are more polished -- though not necessarily as versatile -- as the 2013 Suzuki SX4. Although it, too, is aging, the 2013 Honda Fit is one of our perennial favorites and certainly matches the SX4 hatchback for versatility. The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic is rewarding to drive (particularly with its plucky optional turbocharged engine) and also is available as a sedan or hatchback, while the Ford Fiesta and 2013 Hyundai Accent mix good driving dynamics with exceptional fuel economy.
Suzuki says all warranties will be honored, and most dealers will continue to offer parts and service. But with everything considered, we'd recommend going with one of the aforementioned alternatives unless the 2013 SX4 really speaks to you.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Suzuki SX4 is a compact car available in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. The sedans and the Sportback version of the hatchback are front-wheel-drive only, while the Crossover hatchback is only offered with all-wheel drive.
The sedan is offered in LE, LE Popular Package and Sport SE trims. The LE comes with 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a trip computer, a six-way adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-only steering wheel and a four-speaker audio system with CD player and an auxiliary input jack.
The SX4 LE Popular Package trim adds alloy wheels, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), remote keyless entry (optional for the LE), cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.
The sporty SE sedan adds 17-inch alloy wheels, an aero body kit, foglights, Bluetooth phone connectivity and paddle shifters for the automatic transmission. Optional is a premium sound system with USB ports that enables streaming audio, and a navigation system.
The four-door SX4 Sportback hatchback is available for 2013 in a single base trim level. The base model is similarly equipped to the SE sedan trim; the CVT is the only transmission and paddle shifters are standard, but the sedan's optional new premium audio/navigation system is not available.
The all-wheel-drive SX4 Crossover hatchback model is available in base, Premium and Tech Value Package trim levels. The base is aligned with the LE sedan trim, adding 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, remote keyless entry and a cargo cover. The Premium trim essentially adds the items in the sedan's LE Popular trim. The Tech Value Package comes with the audio/navigation system and Bluetooth.
Powertrains and Performance
All 2013 Suzuki SX4 models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 150 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. All base trims and the sedan LE come with a six-speed manual transmission, while other models receive the CVT. When paired with the CVT, the engine's output drops slightly to 148 hp. All SX4s are front-wheel drive except for the Crossover hatchback, which is only offered with all-wheel drive.
EPA fuel economy estimates for the SX4 range from 25 mpg city/32 highway and 28 mpg combined for the base sedan with the CVT (23/33/26 with the manual) down to 23/29/25 for the all-wheel-drive Crossover with the CVT (22/30/25 with the manual). Most cars in this class have better rated fuel economy, but the SX4 has more power.
Every 2013 Suzuki SX4 comes with antilock disc brakes, front and rear seat side airbags, side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers and stability control.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the SX4 the top rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests but a second-worst score of "Marginal" in roof-strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
Suzuki's never been a company to pile on flourishes, and the 2013 SX4 is a prime example: Inside, there's not much in the way of extraneous gauges, features or snazzy design. Everything from the gauge cluster to the secondary switches to the audio and climate control system is straightforward, simple and unpretentious to a fault.
If you like an upright, chairlike seating position -- rare in small cars -- the SX4 accommodates that, too, but at the expense of headroom. And with just a tilt function for the steering wheel, some will find it difficult to dial in a truly comfortable seating position.
There's a reason many prefer hatchback small cars, and the 2013 Suzuki SX4 demonstrates why: The Sportback and Crossover models deliver a voluminous 54 cubic feet of cargo capacity with both sections of the 60/40-split rear seatback folded forward. What's equally surprising is the sedan's 15 cubic feet of trunk space, a volume you have to step up to midsize sedans to find. The sedan's rear seat also splits and folds to handle long items.
Any of the SX4 variants has reassuring and secure handling, while the Sportback hatch and Sport sedan, with their tighter suspension tuning and larger 17-inch tires amp up the agility, even if the ride quality isn't as plush. There's not much feel to the SX4's steering, though, but its small turning circle makes it feel very maneuverable in tight parking lots and on narrow streets. The 2.0-liter engine has a strong power output, but actual acceleration is merely average due to the car's higher-than-normal curb weight.