The Bottom Line
When the Suzuki SX4 hatchback (now known as the SX4 Crossover) made its debut in 2007, it quickly earned a spot on our Best New Cars of 2007 list -- not just because it was (and, at $15,895, still is) the least-expensive car you could buy with all-wheel-drive, but because it was (and still is) a great small car: Brilliantly packaged, well equipped, and fun to drive, if a little thirsty for its size. So when Suzuki announced that the SX4 sedan (a.k.a. SX4 Sport) would premiere in 2008 with front-wheel-drive, I was skeptical. So how does the sedan stack up? Read on.
- Fun to drive
- Lots of interior room
- Handsome styling
- Lousy fuel economy
- No fold-down back seat
- No trunk release on key fob
- Suzuki's new-for-2008 sedan version of last year's SX4 hatchback
- Replaces the Aerio as Suzuki's subcompact sedan
- Price range $14,895 - $17,585; price as tested $16,585
- EPA fuel economy estimates 22-23 MPG city, 30-31 MPG highway
Guide Review - 2008 Suzuki SX4 Sport Quick Test Drive
With no all-wheel-drive (AWD) and a price tag just $500 lower than the SX4 Crossover, the SX4 isn't nearly as good a deal as its hatchback stablemate. And yet it's still a really enjoyable little car. It lacks the all-weather grip of the AWD version, but it's still huge fun to zip around in. And zip it does, even with an automatic transmission, thanks to the 143 horsepower two-liter engine (link goes to photo). That said, an engine that big for a car this small is overkill -- I averaged just 26.6 MPG. A car this small should be able to average 30-plus.
I really like the SX4's looks -- the big wheels and plastic lower-body extensions work really well with the SX4's short, stubby shape and tall windows. Visibility is great and the tall roof allows for a tall back seat, which makes for a great deal more legroom than you'd expect in a car this small -- just like the hatchback. But the SX4 also commits several small-car faux pas -- though the trunk is generous at 14.3 cubic feet, the back seats don't fold down and there's no trunk release button on the remote keyfob.
The SX4 Sport comes with power everything, a CD player, alloy wheels and air conditioning, all standard, for well under $15k. But the Honda Fit delivers all that, less alloy wheels, for about $300 less; ditto the Nissan Versa sedan for $500 less. Both the Honda and Nissan get much better fuel economy, and the Versa is roomier.
Even with its shortcomings, I really enjoyed my week with the SX4 Sport. Without all wheel drive, the SX4 sedan isn't the great deal that the SX4 hatchback is -- but it's still a pretty darn good car. -- Aaron Gold