Enter the world of compact cross overs; those cars that are suppose to take you places that only a real 4×4 could, about a decade or two ago, at least. The market is full of them and they aren’t expensive, in terms of bang for your buck.
This brings me to the new Suzuki SX4. Vastly restyled from the previous model, it has now grown up from a hatchback, to a much smaller SUV; something that has actually turned out rather well.
The engines are pretty simple. There is only 1 available in South Africa and that is the 86kw 1.6 engine which is also found in the Suzuki Swift Sport, but detuned for more midrange torque. It actually does relatively well powering it around, but you would need to keep it on the boil if you are overtaking.
Fuel consumption is pretty impressive with us averaging 6.9l/100km combined over our tankful. However, change your driving mode to sport and it will increase the throttle response, but also increase your economy. I guess you win some and lose some, huh.
The interior spec is decent across the range. Things like hands free telephony, cruise control and a decent sound system all comes standard. Our GLX model was also fitted with tasteful 17” alloys wrapped in 205/50 tires. The ground clearance is a decent 175mm which is sufficient for your average gravel road excursions. If things get hairy, you also have the option to switch to AWD (Lock), via the jog dial. Traction is good and most of its wheel spin is eliminated with its very clever electronic traction control system. As usual, Suzuki has gone with the practicality approach, the interior is comfortable and if your lifestyle has you camping, mountain biking or hiking over weekends, you won’t feel out of place.
The SX4’s on road manners are actually quite good. Road noise is acceptable and the suspension performs very well on bad roads. The steering has a good amount of weight and feels sharp. Something you just would not expect in a crossover.
Because this segment is so competitive, the closest rival to the SX4 in terms of space and price, is the very good Subaru XV, which is a tad more expensive and has a smaller boot (310l XV – 430l SX4). They both are all wheel drive and offer the same sort of interior equipment. We would have to go with the SX4’s due to its bigger interior space and that it’s nearly R40 000 cheaper.
The SX4 GLX MT All Grip retails for R319 900 and comes standard with a 3 year 90 000km service plan. Services are scheduled every 15 000km.
For more info: http://www.suzukiauto.co.za/models/sx4/specifications/