It's not easy these days to find a brand new car for less than $15,000, and if you're looking for all-wheel drive with that budget, your choices are severely limited. In fact, Suzuki says the 2007 SX4 is the least expensive all-wheel-drive vehicle for sale in the U.S., coming in a buck less than $15,000 with a manual transmission. That's the good news. Bad news? Suzuki wants you to think of this as a competitor to Honda's Fit and Nissan's Versa, but it ain't quite there yet. Honda's interior quality and handling easily trump the Suzuki's four-wheel power. The Honda and Nissan both win on fuel economy and base price. But then, you still don't have the SX4's all-wheel pull. Click through to continue reading our take on the SX4. %Gallery-4812% The SX4 is a decent looking car, even in the base trim our tester wore. Stepping up to the Sport level gets you a standard automatic tranny, dual climate control, cruise control, better sound and a few appearance items for another $1,500. The upgrade improves the looks, but with no added performance parts, it doesn't deserve the Sport badge. In fact, Suzuki offers an options list full of carbon fiber and brushed aluminum that would make a Scion dealer jealous, but it's all show, no go. The only mechanical option available on the SX4 is an automatic transmission at $1,100. Our all-wheel-drive, manual transmission Suzuki arrived with no options at all, but its set of standard equipment included power windows and doors, AC, airbags all around, roof rails, 16" alloys, and ABS. Over 164 mostly city miles, we got 21 mpg, compared to the EPA's rating of 28 hwy / 23 city. We've already said we like the looks of the car, but they can be deceiving. It's a tall vehicle on a short wheelbase, and from the outside looks rather roomy. It is for front seat passengers, but we found rear seat leg room a bit tight with the front seats comfortably adjusted. Suzuki calls the SX4 a small wagon, but it's got less luggage space than a VW New Beetle. That ain't no wagon. We shoved our Graco stroller in the Suzuki's hatch and, well, that's it. You're not getting much else in there. One lone baggage hook in the cargo area looked ready to snap on its first call of duty. AOL Autos says the Fit has 21 cu. ft. of cargo space, the Versa and Kia's Rio almost 16. The SX4? Eight. The SX4's seats fold flat for 43.1 cu. ft. of usable cargo carrying space, which bests the Fit's 41.9. Hopefully it at least makes the driver happy, right? No. In fact, the it's hard to remember the last time we used a new car shifter as unpleasant as the SX4's. It felt like moving a steel rod around in a bucket of pea gravel. And there was a lot of gravel getting moved around to keep the engine revs high enough to find …
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|MPG||23 City / 28 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd man w/OD|
|Power||143 @ 5800 rpm|
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