Suzuki SX4 hatchback
Price: £12,595 - £17,699
- Low running costs
- Affordable list prices
- Good standard equipment
- Quite small boot
- Expensive to run compared to rivals
- Poor used values
“Easy to drive and comfortable on rough roads, the tough looking Suzuki SX4 represents great value for money.”
The Suzuki SX4 isn’t long for this world, with the replacement Suzuki SX4 S-Cross being sold concurrently while Suzuki runs down the stocks of the SX4. It's quite similar to the Suzuki Swift hatchback, but with extra 4x4 styling and a lack of the elements that make the Swift fun to drive. It was developed in partnership with Fiat, but despite its looks, most versions of the SX4 only come with two-wheel drive, while four-wheel drive is reserved only for the top-of-the-range SZ5. Build quality is okay, and the dashboard is reasonably well laid out if a bit dated. There's an average amount of space for front and rear passengers, and the boot is undeniably small. With so-so levels standard equipment but already low prices (that will only get lower now), the SX4 is worth considering if you’re after a bargain buy and are happy with some compromises.
MPG, running costs & CO2
No diesel option mean running costs aren't as low as they could be
You get average fuel economy and CO2 emissions for a tall car in the SX4. The 1.6-litre petrol SX4 returns 45.6mpg and emits 143g/km of CO2, which isn’t bad for a petrol engine, if lagging behind current standards for this kind of car. Unfortunately, now that the newer Suzuki SX4 S-Cross model has appeared there is no diesel option, which would reduce running costs significantly.
Interior & comfort
Petrol-only SX4 is noisy at speed, with lots of wind buffeting around the windscreen
Well, the SX4 is loud and not comfy by current standards, basically. The 1.6-litre petrol engine manages to make quite a din, especially when you take up to motorway speeds and the revs rise. There's still some road noise at speed, and the SX4's tall dimensions result in quite a lot of wind buffeting around the windscreen pillars, particularly. Comfort is decidedly average at best and the Suzuki's ride does get somewhat rattled over potholes or speed bumps around town.
Practicality & boot space
Boot offers up to 1,045 litres of space with the rear seats folded flat
The SX4 doesn’t have a particularly impressive boot capacity, offering only 270 litres with the back seats in place. If you fold the rear seats down, this expands to a better 1,045 litres – and the seats fold with an easy pull of a cord that drops the seatback forward into the base. You get roof rails as standard, which is the easiest way to create more luggage capacity by adding a roof box to the car. Inside, you do get some deep door pockets that can easily hold drink bottles. It's not as practical as the new S-Cross, so pales somewhat in comparison, but shouldn’t be entirely written off.
Reliability & safety
Top-spec SZ5 gets all-wheel drive for slippery conditions
Suzuki only managed to get one car into the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey's top 100 cars – the Suzuki Swift ranking 81st. Sadly, Suzuki itself actually slipped from its 2012 position of 26th in the survey's manufacturers rankings, coming 29th out of 32. That doesn’t bode well of the SX4, which doesn’t even feature in the survey due to it's relative exclusivity. However, Suzuki was one of the few Japanese car makers who did have to make a major recall in the previous calendar year. Inside, the SX4 does feel sturdy, while the engines have all been tried and tested across the Suzuki range. One cause for concern, however, is that the SX4 hasn’t yet been tested in the newer, more stringent Euro NCAP crash safety tests – especially when you consider that it only managed to scrape a four-star rating in the older, more lax tests in 2009. However, all models come fitted with seven airbags, electronic stability control (ESP) and a strengthened steel body shell as standard. You also get anti-lock brakes (ABS) and brake force distribution. Top-of-the-range SZ5 models also get four-wheel drive, which helps in slippery conditions.
Engines, drive & performance
This Suzuki is most at home in the city
You’ll need to rev the SX4's 1.6-litre petrol engine pretty hard to get any satisfactory performance out of it, and even then the Suzuki's drive is at best average and generally quite disappointing. The steering and pedals are too light, really, making the driver feel detached from the experience, so the SX4 is most at home in urban areas where it's a doddle to drive and easy to park. Because of the car's height, there's a lot of body roll when driving through the corners, and the steering is a bit willowy – in some ways, it feels a bit like a larger version of the Suzuki Swift hatchback.
Price, value for money & options
Lots of equipment, but resale values are poor
This is obviously affected by the arrival of the newer Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, which is being sold at the same time while they run down the stocks of the SX4. The upside of that is that there should be some excellent deals available on the outgoing SX4, so it will be a matter of balancing discount and compromise on the quality of the car. Even before any bargaining, if you compare the SX4 with rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai, the SX4 still looks like quite a bargain. SZ3 models get electric windows all round, as well as air-conditioning, a CD stereo and multifunction steering wheel fitted as standard equipment. If you choose the SZ4 then you’ll also get alloy wheels, front foglamps and keyless entry. Top-of-the-range SZ5 versions come equipped with four-wheel drive, privacy glass and a CD multichanger. However, used values are weak and even before being replaced, the SX4's resale value in the used car market was pretty limited. Now it's been superseded second-hand value is likely to suffer even more.
What the others say
The Suzuki SX4 is good to drive, well equipped and attractively priced. It also gives you 4x4 looks without the high running costs.
The Suzuki boasts an eager 1.6-litre engine that responds crisply to the throttle and is keen to rev. it's refined too, and not strained under acceleration. As for the platform itself, raising the suspension with the aim of generating an SUV-like stance normally has a detrimental effect on dynamics, so what's most surprising about the Suzuki is its handling.
The SX4 is a bit of an oddity. It's a five-door hatchback, similar to the Suzuki Swift, but it comes with a chunky off roader look and is available with four-wheel drive. The result is a slightly quirky cross between the two but it's also a success. It's practical and roomy inside, very comfortable on the move and handles well too with positive steering and an agile nature. The majority of models sold are only two-wheel drive and there are two subtly different body styles, one featuring extra wheel arch mouldings, roof rails and protective bodywork while this is absent in the more standard version.
The Suzuki SX4 is the separated-at-birth twin of the Fiat SX4, but apart from a good Fiat diesel engine, the pair are basically all Suzuki. Not something Suzuki can be especially proud of though. It's a not-very-good smaller Nissan-Qashqai-type-thingy.
Last updated: 20 Feb 2014