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2007 Suzuki SX4 Sport - Review

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2007 Suzuki SX4


Model: 2007 Suzuki SX4 Sport
Engine: 2.0-liter I4
Horsepower/Torque: 143 hp @ 5800 rpm/136 lb.-ft. @ 3500 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual (4-apeed automatic is available)
Wheelbase: 98.4 in.
Length/Width/Height:162.8 x 69.1 x 63.2 in.
Tires: P205/60R16
Cargo volume: 8.2/16.2/54.3 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway
Sticker: $16,399 (base)

Assets: Despite small size, offers 4WD (if limited) and can carry 38 cubic feet of cargo when the seats are adjusted properly.

Debits: Noisy engine, typical rough small-car ride.

Suzuki hasn’t offered a true micro sport utility vehicle since the days of the Samurai. And while the Samurai’s sidekick, the Sidekick, grew into the Vitara, Grand Vitara and XL7 (which is now a mid-size), nothing has replaced the hole in the Suzuki lineup that the Samurai filled. Until now.

For 2007, Suzuki is replacing the small Aerio sedan with the SX4, a five-door compact hatchback it calls a compact station wagon. The SX4 name stands for (S)port (X)-over for (4) seasons of weather. With the standard AWD, the SX4 might rightly be called a small (even micro) SUV. This isn’t a full-capability SUV with the equipment to go serious off-roading, but the SX4 will take you into and through the woods and give the added traction on muddy, snowy, or dirt roads.

The AWD switch on the console permits the driver to move from front-wheel drive to AWD, or to a locked 50/50 power split between front and back. Front-wheel drive is best for dry pavement and maximum fuel economy. AWD Auto controls the power split ratio to the rear wheels from 0-50 percent. AWS lock mode distributes the power in the range of 30-50 percent. Over 36 mph in AWD Lock, the system automatically switches to AWD Auto mode.

There’s no low-range gearing, but as I said earlier, you’re better off considering the SX4 a compact wagon with AWD rather than a small SUV.

I knew the SX4 was going to be small, but when it appeared in my driveway, I was almost shocked. On the plus side, it prepared me better for the Honda Fit that arrived the following week. In fact, the SX4 rides on a wheelbase that’s two inches longer and is five inches longer overall than the Fit. Not that this increased length contributes to a superior ride. In fact, the SX4 has a typical small-car choppy ride. This isn’t an uncomfortable ride, but you know going in that you’re not in a luxury sedan.

Suzuki has included a wide track and 16-inch wheels and tires to improve ride comfort, as well as a rigid body and reinforced suspension mounts. Ride quality was decent, as I said.

A feature that I liked with the SX4 was the large triangular “wing windows” that are located where real wing windows previously were located. These offer vision to the lower right and left, but not the free-flowing air that the real windows did. Now if Suzuki had only put a small hinge and lock on those windows…

The instrument cluster contains three nacelles that offer all the important information. There’s a nice center stack with HVAC and audio systems, including an AM/FM/CD/MP3 system. Buyers can purchase iPod interfaces that allow them to play their personal iPods through the car’s audio system.

SX4 is nominally a five-seater, but the rear center passenger will be cramped for legroom. Legroom for the other rear passengers is pretty good for a vehicle with such cozy outside dimensions.

There is a multitude of cargo configurations that expend available capacity from 8.2 to more than 50 cubic feet. With the rear seat up and the cargo cover in place, there are 8.2 cubic feet. Remove the “safety shade” and you get 9.5 cubic feet. That volume can grow to as much as 16.2 cubic feet with the rear seat backs still in place. Tumble the rear seats forward to achieve the maximum 22 cubic feet of cargo. Remove them and you get the maximum 54.3 cubic feet. The exterior design of the SX4 permits this huge number.

Standard features include six airbags, four-wheel ABS with EBD (electronic brake-force distribution), a tire pressure monitoring system, power windows and door locks and lots of goodies for a base price of $14,999. The Sport package adds an Electronic Stability Package (ESP) with a Traction Control System (TCS), remote start system and even more stuff for a base price of $16,399.

Suzuki has regularly represented good value. The company’s dedication to offering the most bang for the buck has rarely wavered. With a 100,000-mile/seven-year powertrain limited warranty to tack on to the value, there’s even more bang.