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Suzuki SX4 Crossover

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  • perry99perry99 Posts: 43
    Okay, I've had my 2008 Suzuki SX4 Crossover with Touring Package and automatic transmission for about 5 months now, so I'm ready to post my full review:

    Summary
    Pros: Looks, handling, AWD, comfort, visibility
    Cons: Cabin storage, gas mileage

    As background, I should point out that the previous cars that I’ve owned and driven were a 1999 Mazda Protégé (manual) and a 2005 Mazda3 hatchback (manual). Over the years in my travels, I’ve driven dozens of different cars as rentals.
    My car now has about 2,600 miles on it.

    Handling/Acceleration
    The car handles very well, almost the same as my Mazda3 (which costs more and has “zoom-zoom”!). The higher seating position had made me leery at first of higher-speed turns, but I’ve learned that it handles them solidly and surely. The steering is perhaps a bit off the sharp feel I had with the Mazda, but it still provides excellent feedback and control in pointing the car where I want it to go.

    It is a heavy car (heavier than my Mazda3, in fact), but acceleration is fine. From a standstill, I have no problems and it’s even quite peppy. There does seem to be a range from about 40-60 where the car struggles a bit to accelerate, but once I reach highway cruising speed, I have no problem keeping up with traffic or passing. I’m sure at least part of the reason is that the automatic is geared (at least in that range) more towards better gas mileage than brisk acceleration.

    The four-wheel disk brakes are excellent. I had to slam on the brakes a few times due to stupid drivers in front of me, and the car stopped quickly and with full control.

    Unfortunately, I’ve not had an opportunity to test the AWD in adverse conditions. We had some snow and rain, but nothing very slippery. But knowing the AWD is there has certainly made me feel more secure in whatever driving conditions.

    Noise
    The engine is rather growly when accelerating, but not unpleasant. Overall road noise is less than my 2005 Mazda3’s was. Highway cruising is nice and quiet.

    Visibility

    This is a category in which the SX4 really impresses me. The tall stance, the wide windows all around, and the extra-large rear-view mirrors make for excellent 360° visibility. Much better than my Mazda3 hatchback’s, or, frankly, any other car I’ve ever driven.

    Gas mileage

    The only real negative is the gas mileage. Despite the rating of 21 city / 28 highway, I’ve been mostly getting around 20mph, even with 50% or more highway travel. I drive very gently: never really floor it, and try to coast whenever possible. The most I’ve gotten is about 27.5mph with almost all flat highway driving. The worst I’ve gotten is 18mph. In watching the instant mph calculator on my dash, the car seems to be capable of around 30mph on flat highways, but if there is any hill travel involved that seems to suck a lot more gas. Unfortunately, I live in very hilly Seattle, so if I’ve done a long flat-highway trip, just the few miles of hill travel getting home seems to ruin my overall mileage. In contrast, my Mazda3 would regularly get around 25mph in city travel, up to 32mph in mostly highway.

    Comfort

    The front seats are very comfortable for both short and long trips (the longest trip I’ve taken so far was about 3.5 hours each way). Lateral support is very good. The rear seats are comfortable as well, and are high up, which gives the back seat passengers good visibility and improves their leg room. The fabric isn’t as nice as the Mazda’s, but it is quite nice for this class.

    Controls

    I like the dash very much. The controls are large, easy to read, and easy to use with just a quick glance. Much nicer than many of the overly-busy dashes I’ve seen on other cars. I’ve heard complaints from others about the steering controls not being lit. This is a minor point for me, since after a few weeks, I learned which controls were where, and can use them by touch. The raised bumps on these controls make this easy once you’ve learned the placement of the controls relative to the others. The one slight negative is that the dash computer (which shows time, temperature, and mileage info) gets washed out and unreadable when the sun is at certain angles.

    Storage

    The interior doesn’t have many nooks for storing items, and I miss having a door for the CD compartment under the radio controls. The glove compartment is on the small side, but adequate for documents and small items. An arm rest is not standard. The optional dealer-installed arm rest is well worth it, both for somewhere to put your arm and the small storage compartment inside (big enough for a notepad and pens; not CD’s)

    The rear storage is fine for several bags of groceries. I like the square shape of the opening, and that the rear hatch doesn’t need much clearance to be opened. The sculpted handle is a nice touch for easily shutting the hatch without getting fingerprints on the outside. The fold-down seats are easy to use and open up a lot more space, and being able to fold the seats up against the front seats makes for an even more convenient space. It’s nice and square, so fitting boxes, etc. is easy and makes the best use of the space.

    Looks

    I love the European styling of the car. From most angles, it looks really sharp. A few of the rear angles make it look a bit bloated, but that hard to avoid all-around with such a tall, yet short car.

    My car is the Sunlight Copper. I like that it’s a different color from most other cars, but not so bright that it stands out too much. Depending on the type of lighting (for example bright sun, cloudy day, street lights) the color ranges from deep red to orange to a deep copper.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    Thanks for such a detailed and informative review!

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Your mileage isn't so bad, considering where you live...and the fact that you have an AWD car. Find any other AWD that gets better mileage. Plus, your mileage should improve after 5,000 or so miles.
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    Nice review. Interesting comments on mileage. Looked at the Suzuki last year but bought a Subaru Forester instead. Was disappointed with the SX4 mileage. I'm getting 22-26 mpg with my Forester.
  • skyhawk8skyhawk8 Posts: 1
    I know that the SX4 Crossover has three drive settings: it can be switched from 2WD to AWD to 4WD. I have a question about the MPG when using 2WD only -- it would seem that when using this setting, the MPG would be much better than posters here have been reporting. Any thoughts on why the reported MPG is so low when most of the posters state that they hardly ever use the AWD or 4WD settings??
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    The Suzuki gets better mileage than the Forester, Your mileage figures back that up.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Like all AWD (and 4WD) vehicles, the Suzuki has the extra weight of the AWD system. Even more a factor is that the driveline components that allow the rear wheels to engage are all spinning (except for the driveshafts for the rear wheels when in 2WD mode). Thus--again like with all AWD systems, you have some driveline efficiency losses from rive components spinning while they essentially do nothing. This is a price of having the benefit of AWD.

    Again, the Suzuki gets the highest mileage of any AWD vehicle for sale here in the USA. Nothing else does as well, although the small Subarus (and Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe) can do low to mid -20s when driven judiciously. If you want AWD and Honda Fit type mileage, you are not going to find it. But the Suzuki gets very good mileage. Between 65 and 70, you can get 30 mpg on the highway.
  • suzsx041suzsx041 Posts: 2
    hello Kelton i have a 2007 sx4 xover sorry before i continue i live in australia, But i have just lowered it by 1 1/2" and put 18"x8" wheels with 225x40x18 tyres the car now handles like its on rails. I have heard of guys in the USA who have lowered there SX4's so springs must be available. I hope you can get some you wont regret it. Cheers Terry Ps if you have a look at ROAD AND RACE on the net they have TEIN spring and dampener kits.
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    Really? You have a SX4? Not according to Perry99's review. My guess longterm is Suzuki gets slightly better mileage overall. Not enough to justify lower hp and much smaller size. Subaru has a lot more room. Suzuki is better looking though. Hate the SX4's HUGE A-frame blind spots.
  • perry99perry99 Posts: 43
    But the Subaru is a lot more expensive. I'm sure that there are many who could swing the Suzuki, but not necessarily the Subaru. The A pillars do create a blind spot, but it's never caused a problem for me.
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    In my neck of the woods the X model was heavily discounted. Suzuki has lost all but two of their five dealers so the prices weren't as good. Subaru just made more sense for me. I really would like the Swift if Suzuki ever brought it over.
  • allyct19allyct19 Posts: 2
    I also hate those huge blind spots!! What I'd like to know is how I can increase acceleration? :blush: :shades:
  • yannisyannis Posts: 1
    Hello all,
    just thought I'd sent you my comments. I've had the SX4 with the ESP for over a year
    now and I live in Canada, pretty cold place in the winter (lots of -40DegC days).

    1. As a car the SX4 is ok if you are not too demanding. Acceleration is bad and it is pretty noisy. I like the AWD and ESP options, especially in snowy conditions. So far the SX4 in AWD mode has been fantastic.

    2. Dealership sucks. The guys don't know much about the car it seems. The ESP model comes with a keyless fob and the dealership thought I had a Vitara! They
    actually called me the first time I took it in for service to ask me where the Vitara is!

    3. Mileage is not good at all for a car that small. I drive about 150Km every day to work so I have to fill the tank every two and a half days! I get about 7.9litres/100km (29.7 mpg)
    and when I use the AWD I get more like 8.3 litres/100km (28.3 mpg)

    4. All of the sudden this winter the car wouldn't start when it was too cold (below -8degC) . It starts when I boost it, but that's it. Apparently the battery is OK, but again the dealership is pretty useless. They are expecting me to tell them what to do . Go figure. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. I'll have them check the starter next time I take it as well as the alternator, but that's all I can think of.

    Overall, I am pretty disappointed with the car's tech support. The car itself is middle of the pack. This year Toyota is coming with an AWD Matrix. Maybe consider that instead.

    cheers
    yannis
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Your car should start no problem in any amount of cold. Ask to speak to the regional service manager, and keep taking it up the line if need be.

    BTW, your mileage is great! You have a relatively heavy AWD vehicle. If you wanted a high mileage small car, you should have gotten one with FWD only. It gets the best mileage of any AWD vehicle. The AWD Matrix does not get the mpg that the SX4 does.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Anyone know the on sale date for the 2009 SX4 crossover?
  • dagreldagrel Posts: 2
    Has anyone test driven the front wheel drive version of the SX4 crossover (yes, the hatchback) yet? I didn't think that the front wheel version was being sold in the US but apparently it is in limited numbers per the Suzuki website. Looked up local dealer and they do indeed sell the front wheel drive hatchback/crossover although they list the same weight for both the fwd and awd models which I doubt is the case. The fwd apparently is rated at 2 mpg better on the highway. I would think that the exclusion of the awd drive components would reduce weight somewhat.
  • Hi. I just test drove a Touring II MT. I really want to like the car and there is a lot to like but I drove it up a fairly (not ridiculous) steep road and it felt like it was struggling the whole way, is this normal or was there maybe something wrong with the vehicle I had? My Element goes up the same hill like it isn't even there.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    I have a Touring II manual transmission and hills are NEVER a problem. Did you possibly have it in 5th when you thought it was 3rd gear, or something like that?

    I find that it has lots of torque. I can run around town in 5th gear much of the time with really low revs and it doesn't lug at all, and this saves on gas mileage. I am really impressed with the level of power, given the weight and hp. Not only that, but with the warm weather and manual transmission driven conservatively, I am getting around 30 mpg. Can't complain about that in any AWD vehicle.
  • Thanks for the reply. And funny that you should mention the 5th gear thing because I had to check while driving because that's what I thought because it was that bad. Unfortunately it wasn't in 5th.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    I don't get it. Test drive another one. No hill climbing problems here.
  • Yeah, that's my plan. I want to test drive another MT, I think I'll know right away if the first one was a fluke. I had asked the salesman to see if the service guys would check out the vehicle I drove to make sure the ECU was okay and also the clutch. I got a message from him and he said the mechanics thought there may be some slipping (his words) between the 2-3 shift and the 3-4 shift, we'll see. I really want this vehicle to be the vehicle I think it is.
  • satguy84satguy84 Posts: 4
    Just took my 2008 SX4 MT up a 45 degree incline hill today in second gear. No bogging or loading down. I could have probably made it to third gear but, thankfully, the hill is short (lots on hills in Cincinnati). I have no problems with hills here.
  • lpkaylpkay Posts: 4
    Make no mistake I bought this car because: AWD, high-driving position, cuteness, price. In general I like it very much, however.....

    Is anyone having problems with the gas pedal position? I recently purchased a 2007 JLX (Canada) and it feels like the gas pedal is too close to the seat, not something I picked up during the test drive. I'm 5' 8". If I move the seat back the steering wheel is too far away. Without a height adjust for the seat will I need to get a cusion to support my thigh? Does anyone have suggestions?

    Pet peeves:
    Model name differences between countries.

    Option/accessory differences between countries.
    Available elsewhere: driver seat height adjustment, clear hood and light protectors, reverse parking sensor, tow bar, tow bar mounted bike holder, tailored sunshade set for rear/rear-side windows, hands free or bluetooth cellphone kit, ipod dock, a big center armrest. Would you believe that in Canada there is no remote start option available?

    Why is not only the car but the accessories so much more expensive in Canada vs USA? Sun Shade = $83? As if.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    I'm 5'7" and have no problem. However, I have gotten used to driving in an arms extended position. Safer. Too many people drive in a position too close to the airbag.
  • lpkaylpkay Posts: 4
    I was researching a problem one of my friends was having with an uncomfortable active head restraint. Some people are ok with it, others can't stand it.

    NHTSA knows about the complaints lodged under many makes and models such as "VERY POOR-DOESN'T ALLOW ME TO SIT TALL W/GOOD SPINAL POSTURE-HITS BACK OF HEAD WHEN I TRY TO SIT TALL. IT'S NOT ADJUSTABLE, I REMOVED AND REINSERTED IT FACING 180 DEGS FROM ITS INTENDED POSITION."

    We found this cushion and it works for her.

    link title

    image
  • mikusmikus Posts: 109
    Do you know the difference between head restraint and headrest? Head restraints are there to protect your head in case of an accident, not for resting your head on it.
  • ajg33ajg33 Posts: 13
    Has anyone taken their Crossover on sand? I'm wondering if the AWD is strong enough to handle driving on sand dunes...thanks.
  • wads1wads1 Posts: 1
    HI,
    I am thinking of getting a 2009 SX4 Crossover with MT, I have heard that it is a great car. I am a bit concern about the MPG, I have heard that it does not get the rating that is on the sticker, and that it can be as low as 22mpg, I hope to be doing a lot of road trips in this car, so MPG is important to me. I do mostly mixed city/highway, I am also looking at the Fit. Also I would love to hear any other thoughts on the 2009. I am new to this forum and look forward to hearing from you all. Thanks
  • I've had my 2008 SX4 since march of this year. I run service calls (TV) and average about 26.5 MPG in a 50/50 average of city/highway driving. I consider the mileage average, but with all the extras you get on this car PLUS AWD and stability control (I have the Touring package and manual transmission) you can't beat this car. Others have described the acceleration as "lackluster", but with the safety features (beams in the doors) and the AWD and the weight they add, I think it does just fine. It's just as good as my 91 corolla 1.6 liter was. Again, I don't think you can beat this car for the money. Plus, you'll get the built in Navi, something I missed by about 4 months.
  • Just yesterday I took a rare short trip (156 miles round) in my 2008 SX4 crossover, and since I just phoned in my statistics-haha- to my husband, he figures 33-34mpg. These were all interstate miles and I used the cruise control ALOT (set at 70mph). I mainly use my great little car for back & forth to work (only 2 miles each way), so needless to say it doesn't have many miles on it. I purchased this car exactly a year ago on Halloween and never have regretted it. I didn't get to use the AWD last winter here in Western PA, but one of my co-workers did frequently and never had any problems out on snow covered country roads.. ( I convinced her to buy a SX4 a few months after I bought mine) FYI- she also gets 32-33mpg highway too. I'd go for the suzuki- you can't beat the warranty either! :)
    Hope that helps you!
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