• Apr 26, 2008

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Integrated nav systems are cash cows for the automakers. We've discussed this here before. While you can run to the local Target and buy a perfectly useful portable unit for around two-hundred bucks, clicking the nav checkbox on a car or truck's option sheet will probably run you ten times as much. That's painful. For the 2009 model year, however, Suzuki's looking to give shoppers some relief by making touchscreen nav standard equipment in the four-door SX4 Sport and front-wheel-drive SX4 crossover (the enclosed PR makes no mention of the 4WD crossover, but we're assuming that it also benefits from this). This makes Suzuki the first automaker to offer the feature as standard equipment in a sub-$16,000 vehicle. What a novel concept: using desirable equipment as the carrot instead of the stick.

The flip-up unit, supplied by Garmin and dubbed "T.R.I.P", also delivers Bluetooth connectivity, features live traffic info, helps locate the lowest gas prices, and is pre-loaded with a number of points of interest. The automaker is even launching a social networking-type website where owners can upload and share their favorite routes and places to go. Will standard nav help Suzuki win over new customers? It sure isn't going to hurt. Given that the technology has dropped in price so precipitously, it's probably not even costing Suzuki too much in the grand scheme of things. And if the presence of that nav unit gets some fence-sitting new car shoppers to write out a check for at least $16,000, it's probably worth whatever it cost to integrate it into the base package. Maybe Suzuki's onto something.

[Source: Suzuki]

PRESS RELEASE:
2009 SUZUKI SX4: FIRST CAR IN AMERICA UNDER $16,000
WITH STANDARD NAVIGATION

• 2009 Suzuki SX4 Sport and SX4 Crossover to feature integrated standard navigation

• Advanced functionality of SX4 navigation system includes available Bluetooth capability, a lowest price gas finder and real-time traffic

• Suzuki infuses "Way of Life!" brand spirit into system with Suzuki-recommended landmarks and points-of-interest

BREA, Calif. – Establishing an auto industry first, and packing even more appeal into its bold and stylish sport compact, American Suzuki Motor Corp. today announced the addition of a fully integrated standard navigation system to the 2009 Suzuki SX4. The company's offering marks the first time a new vehicle under $16,000 will include navigation as a standard feature. The innovative navigation system will be included as standard equipment on both the four-door SX4 Sport and front-wheel-drive version of the five-door SX4 Crossover, propelling the 2009 SX4 to the front of the compact segment as the personal technology leader.

The Suzuki SX4's integrated navigation system is the result of a partnership with Garmin and is available with a variety of advanced Microsoft Network-enabled features, including real-time traffic, weather forecasts, local event listings and a gas station finder capable of locating the lowest priced fuel in town. To further customize the system to reflect its "Way of Life" brand attitude, Suzuki will add a number of lifestyle-oriented, Suzuki-recommended destinations and landmarks to the system. The locations include hip music venues, popular surf spots, interesting road trip attractions and other activity-focused destinations that will be clearly identified with a Suzuki "Way of Life" icon on the navigation screen.

"Aside from improving an already popular vehicle, this navigation system provides a unique opportunity to further express the Suzuki 'Way of Life' brand spirit and directly respond to SX4 shoppers' unmet needs," said Mark Harano, president of American Suzuki Automotive Operations. "We know that our customers are vibrant and adventurous at heart, so we've gone beyond a typical navigation offering to develop a system capable of enhancing driver experiences and activating a passion for living life to the fullest. Navigation makes drivers feel more confident and in control, and our customized navigation system is the perfect fit for Suzuki owners' on-the-go attitude and daily routine."

Suzuki based its decision to include standard navigation on feedback from current SX4 owners regarding their most desired features in their next vehicle purchase. In addition to improving overall favorable impressions of the SX4, Suzuki research showed the addition of a navigation system had a positive "halo" effect on a range of driver perceptions, including significant increases in drivers' "feelings of control" and "feelings of safety."
Referred to as the Suzuki T.R.I.P. (Travel, Real-time traffic, Information and Play), the fully integrated system utilizes Navteq mapping software and includes a flip-up 4.3-inch touch screen display and Bluetooth hands-free calling technology that can receive and audibly play text messages. The system also comes preloaded with street maps that feature millions of points-of-interest, such as hotels, restaurants, gasoline stations and ATMs, and other Suzuki-recommended, brand-oriented destinations. A dedicated community Web site will be launched to support the sharing and downloading of user-generated recommendations for destinations and drive routes among Suzuki owners.

The touch screen navigation system included as standard equipment on the 2009 SX4 Sport and front-wheel-drive version of the five-door SX4 Crossover will come with a number of standard navigation features and millions of unique points-of-interest. Bluetooth capability and other enhanced Microsoft Network-enabled features of the system, including real-time traffic, local events, weather forecasts and a gas price finder, will be included as part of the SX4's upgraded trim package. The 2009 SX4 is scheduled to arrive in dealer showrooms this summer.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anyone know the on sale date for the 2009s?
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is very cool. I've been waiting for a car company to make nav affordable. If I can buy a new laptop for $500 from dell, why does nav cost cost so much? I really like the gas price finder, too, with gas at almost $4. My Mazda3 has been good, but this might beat it.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Our Magellan Maestro 3225 (Costco C$200) has text to voice and works extremely well. Magellan technical support is zero. You're on your own if you have a problem
      • 6 Years Ago
      "directly respond to SX4 shoppers' unmet needs"...

      Then how about making the SX4 available as a 2 door with doors large enough to allow ingress/egress. The added benefit is getting the stupid B pillar away from my shoulder and from blocking the side view. Making these small cars as 4 door vehicles is a bit absurd. If I want to haul a family or multiple passengers, I won't be buying a car in this size category to begin with.

      The SX4 is an otherwise fantastic little vehicle. I'd consider it in a heartbeat if it were available as a 2 door vehicle.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Contrary to Cameron above, people don't by compact vehicles just for cheap, fuel efficient transportation.

      The fact is, there is a huge market for premium compact vehicles. No doubt they should get proportionately better fuel economy and cost somewhat less than their larger counterparts, but assuming people don't want GPS or other niceties is false. There are plenty of cheap small cars out there, but so few have excellent drive trains, fully independent suspensions, and offer an array of features like moonroofs, stereo upgrades, etc. The best two examples I can think of are the Civic and the BMW Mini. All the amenities of larger cars with a tidier size, better economy, and all the amenities of a larger vehicle. Best thing is, they are offered in 2 door versions instead of the worthless dainty little 4 doors.

      Problem is, too many manufacturers today are still equating small car with cheap car. Unfortunately, that's why we have an array of stodgy 4 door little cars with lame torsion beam suspensions.

      • 6 Years Ago
      I find the SX4 a nice looking car, with many decent features for the price.
      However, Id rather see the car 300-500 Lbs lighter or with a far more efficent power plant getting a strong 30+ mpg average.
      In my opinion, the Nav can take a back seat and Suzuki should be focusing on raising the real world fuel economy of the car in general which is a common complaint with most readers and editiors.
      If the car even had a regeared 5 speed, or introduce a 6 speed transmission and give the US the Diesel sold in Europe, It would help tremendously in getting the car up to much better MPG and a far bigger sales success.
      Im hesitant to buy one because even with 2wd or AWD variants, the car barely gets very low 30s on the highway at best in either trim.
      Considering the size of the car, mid to high 30s would be a far bigger benefit now that we are quickly approaching $4.00 a Gallon for gas around the country.
      Interesting how a car that gets sub 30 MPG is almost viewed as a "Gas Hog" with fuel prices as they are these days.
      I guess the best thing would be to focus on what matters, and Nav isnt important enough when you could be doing more to make the car more appealing with much better MPG.
      That saves alot of money for the consumer.
      Ill buy my nav separate.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Suzuki is already doing pricely that. All of that I should say. The 2009 SX4's will come with revised gearing to allow for lower revs at highway speeds which will serve to increase the MPG's closer to 35 hwy. City MPG will get a bit of a boost too, partially do to re-mapping and also a bit from the new gearing.
        Also coming our way is a Front Wheel Drive version of the SX4 Wagon.
        And for model year 2010, Suzuki is due to release a 6-spd transmission which is also aimed at increasing the efficiency of SX4 as well as other Suzuki models.
        In addition to this, will be a new high efficiency 4-cyl engine which will debut in the Grand Vitara but may have other applications as well.
        Around the same time North America will finally get the next generation Suzuki Swift. The current version of this car is taking in many "best selling car" in countries all over the world.
        As for a diesel option, Suzuki IS looking at this possibility for the US but is on a wait and see basis to determine if the current high fuel prices continue, which of course would provide plenty of incentive for them to do so.
        The SX4 in Europe is available in a Diesel 6-spd version.
        One thing to keep in mind with the current line-up of SX4's is that the rated gas mileage when comparted to other similar sized >AWD< vehicles does quite well. Specialy considering the price tag. Unfortunately because of the size/appearance of the SX4, ppl many times make the mistake of comparing it to NON-AWD vehicles, and then wonder why it gets less MPG than those other cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree with you guys that having nav standard is a good thing, and a fabulous bonus.
      Rob, what kind of figure is your friend netting?
      All Hwy?
      50% City and Hwy?
      Im assuming he has a manual?
      Conservative is probably an excellent word to use with the sticker.
      Honestly, the closer this car gets 35 Plus MPG, you will have an incredible seller.
      The Honda fit might be considered a good car, but the Suzuki would sway me no question if it was netting mid 30s on average.
      Even hit 40 Mpg and a hell of a lot more people would buy one.
      AWD and nice styling along with decent build quality and warranty make some really really strong points to buy an SX4.
      Again, I still think Suzuki needs to focus on stronger fuel economy in order to pull more people into the SX4.
      Too many Editors and reviews posted say the car gets "mid 20s" and such, and that, these days isnt all that great.
      Ive seen a couple people mention high 20s and low 30s, but just a handful.
      I know how you drive matters as well, but Id like to see some "at the top of the heap" realtime Fuel economy figures of real people who drive these cars and give me a strong average.
      Thats been the biggest deal breaker for me about the car.
      My 95 Subaru Legacy nets 28-30 Mpg, and also has Awd.
      Hard to trade it in if you are trading in a car that nets the same mileage and has AWD as well.
      Dont get me wrong, the SX4 is a nice car.. but Id LOVE to see 35+ Mpg.

      • 6 Years Ago
      While I do not need sat nav its nice that it comes standard. It shows it doesnt have to cost a grand extra. So when did the hatch become available in front wheel drive? I thought they were 4wd only? I knew the sedan could be had with out 4wd.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Luckily, Suzuki isn't on my shopping list, so I won't get stuck with some superfluous feature like this that I don't want.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agree. If I need to find my way in a unfamiliar city, I'll buy a $3 map.

        Hell, every street I've had to find in the past 2 years I've found using google maps or the map in the phone book.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Suzuki might be offering the navi system since the next generation Honda Fit will also come with AWD (optional) and navi so it makes perfect sense for Suzuki to offer this.
      I don't know of any AWD car that has a sub $ 20K price tage, with a host of options and navi. Is the MPG perfect?
      Well any AWD system will require more gas.
      There is no perfect car and even the suzuki should just be a bit longer, but for the money, it is a good buy.
      I am starting to see more of them on the road.

      • 6 Years Ago
      My friend has an SX4 sport and he's always getting over 30 MPG. I think the numbers on Suzuki's website are conservative.

      Standard Nav is awesome. Sure you can go to the store and buy a portable Nav system but then you've got one of those ugly suction cups with a power cord dangling from your windshield. Suzuki is making the right moves. Kizashi + SX4 + Swift in 2010 sounds pretty good to me...
      • 6 Years Ago
      2008 Honda Fit has the Garmin navi available but 2009 it will come with Honda navi system instead.
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