2012 SX4 New Car Test Drive
The Suzuki SX4 is convenient and easy to live with, and available all-wheel drive makes it an excellent choice for drivers who want an inexpensive high-mileage compact with all-weather capability. All models are keenly priced, making them worthy candidates for shoppers looking for small cars that are more than just basic transportation.
The 2012 Suzuki SX4 lineup features a four-door Sedan, a five-door Crossover, and a SportBack that shares the Crossover body but rides lower on a suspension tuned for on-road handling rather than off-road clearance.
All 2012 SX4 models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 148-150 horsepower and 140 foot-pounds of torque. The SX4 Sedan and SX4 SportBack are front-wheel drive only. The SX4 Crossover is all-wheel drive. It's all-wheel drive that makes the SX4 special.
All-wheel drive is not widely available in this class. The Suzuki all-wheel-drive system sends up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels, giving the SX4 better traction in snow and on unpaved roads. The world's top rally cars use all-wheel drive for its superior traction and Suzuki has been running the SX4 in the World Rally Championship, proving it has the right stuff.
The Suzuki SX4 Crossover, a four-door hatchback (also called a five-door), offers cargo versatility and looks like a mini-SUV. (Suzuki sometimes calls this car a Crossover and other times a Hatchback.)
These cars corner well and are enjoyable to drive. The 150-horsepower engine revs to 6200 rpm, and its 140 foot-pounds of torque makes acceleration smooth. The 6-speed manual gearbox is easy to shift, the clutch easy to use. They offer responsive handling and are relatively quiet underway.
The sporty SX4 SportBack features a lower ride height, performance shocks, stabilizer bars, four-wheel disc brakes, and 17-inch alloy rims with wider profile (205/50R17) all-season tires. That equipment is also available on the Sedan with Sport SE trim. It offers more precise cornering and a firmer ride. The SportBack has the Crossover hatchback body style but uses the SX4 Sedan Sport SE front-wheel-drive powertrain and suspension, wheels and tires.
The Suzuki SX4 offers a Garmin navigation system neatly pops up out of the dash with features like weather, airline schedules and Google search is either standard or optional in all models, while halogen headlamps, 60/40 split rear seat, and eight airbags are all standard.
New for 2012, Suzuki has upgraded the available Garmin navigation with Voice Command Recognition along with interactive features such as traffic information, weather forecast, 3D maps including lane guidance, and Google Local Point-of-Interest Search. Also, all 2012 Suzuki SX4 models come standard with electronic stability control.
The SX4 interior is simple and easy to operate. The black cloth bucket seats are terrific: they fit for around-town or hard cornering, they're roomy and rugged. The seating position is high and driver visibility is good. Instrumentation is straightforward and knobs and dials are few and easy to operate. Cubbies and door pockets provide in-cabin storage and there are plenty of cupholders.
The rear seat in the SX4 Crossover and SportBack offers good legroom for a compact. The back seat in the SX4 Sedan is less roomy, but the trunk is large.
The 2012 Suzuki SX4 comes in Sedan, Crossover, and SportBack versions, each with a 150-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (148 hp with CVT automatic). Front-wheel drive is standard on the Sedan and SportBack; all-wheel drive is standard on the Crossover.
The 2012 SX4 Sedan has four trim levels: Base, LE, LE Popular, and Sport SE. The base SX4 ($13,699) is truly base, without AC or even a radio. Base does come with cloth upholstery; tilt steering wheel; power windows, door locks, and mirrors; four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock; stability control; P195/65R15 tires on steel wheels; and a 6-speed manual transmission. Automatic transmission is not available. SX4 Sedan LE ($15,495) adds air conditioning, and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary input jack. Remote keyless entry is optional ($160).
SX4 Sedan LE Popular ($17,399) comes only with with a CVT transmission and adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel with illuminated controls, cruise control, remote entry, and alloy wheels.
SX4 Sedan Sport SE ($18,199) features a sport-tuned suspension with P205/50 all-season radial tires on 17-inch alloy wheels; spoilers at front, rear and sides; and fog lamps. It also comes with integrated touch-screen navigation The CVT is the only available transmission, but in the Sport SE it comes with paddle shifters. Bluetooth is optional ($250). Otherwise the Sport SE is equipped the same as the LE Popular.
SX4 Crossover comes in Base ($16,999), Premium, and Tech Value trims. The base model is equipped similarly to the Sedan LE but adds heated mirrors, roof rails, remote entry, P205/60R16 all-season tires on 16-inch steel wheels, and of course all-wheel drive. The Premium ($18,875) uses the CVT without paddle shifters, adds cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary controls, and alloy wheels. The Tech Value adds fog lamps, heated front seats, and navigation; it's offered with a 6-speed manual ($18,549) or CVT ($19,649). Bluetooth is optional ($250) on the Tech Value model only.
SX4 SportBack has the Crossover hatchback body style with the Sedan Sport SE front-wheel-drive powertrain and suspension, wheels and tires. Base trim equipment is similar to Sedan Sport SE, except that both the 6-speed manual ($16,799) and CVT ($17,999) are offered, and there's no factory navigation or Bluetooth option. To get those, you have to opt for Tech trim ($18,499), which comes only with the CVT with paddle shifters. Tech also comes with a larger rear spoiler. The Garmin navigation system can be installed as a dealer accessory ($590) in all SX4 models that don't include it as a factory option.
Safety features standard on all Suzuki SX4 modes include eight airbags: front driver and passenger airbags, torso-protecting driver and passenger side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, and rear seat side airbags. Also standard are a tire-pressure monitor and LATCH child seat anchors. Electronic stability control with traction control is standard on all models, as are anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.