SX4 2.0 DDiS SZ5 4x4
of 2012 gone already, which
means just two major events to go:
Christmas and snow. We cant
cancel the festivities any more than
we can stop it snowing but we can
with a Suzuki SX4,
which has got the white stuff all
WHILE YOU CAN HAVE YOUR SX4 with either petrol or diesel power, if you want
all-wheel traction the best package is the top-specced SZ5 model that comes
with a 2.0 DDiS turbodiesel engine under the bonnet.
So how much were you thinking of spending on a 4x4? £25K? £30K? More? Actually,
you don't need to spend a penny more than £15,600. That will buy you a 1.6-litre
petrol-engined 4WD SX4. But you might prefer to up your budget to £17,400 which
will put a more powerful, range-topping SX4 with diesel power on your driveway.
The prime reason (and there are plenty more sound reasons to add) for going
down Suzuki's compact crossover path is the ease-of-use of Suzuki's 4WD system:
drivers can leave it to make all the right 'grip' decisions for them or, with
a quick press of a switch, use their own discretion.
although there are plenty of times when it's good to just go with the flow,
it's nice to be in full control when tackling the UK's tricksy winter weather.
Drivers can leave the SX4 to make all the right
for them or,
with a quick press on
a switch, use their
For those of you who want even demand this kind of input, the
SX4's intelligent all-wheel drive system (i-AWD) offers three modes: 4WD Auto,
4WD Lock and 2WD called up via a foolproof rocker switch sited alongside the
During normal driving conditions in 4WD-Auto mode there's no torque transfer
to the rear wheels, so the SX4 works just like any other front-wheel drive car.
However, the moment any slip is detected at the front, torque is automatically
shunted back to the rear wheels for all-wheel traction and improved stability.
4WD-Lock maintains full traction up to around 40mph, after which it automatically
switches to 4Wd-auto Selecting 2WD (drive through the front wheels) optimises
fuel economy. All very simple and very effective
So, what other reasons are there for buying a SX4? Size, for one. The SX4 has
distilled into its high-riding, 4.1-metre-long, five-door hatch-style body ample
passenger room for five in a comfortable interior, plus a heap of versatility.
Looks-wise, it's an appealing blend of sporty SUV and supermini hatchback that's
at home (especially size-wise) in polished urban as well as rough country landscapes.
Contributing to its rugged can-do appearance are flared wheel arches, protective
side mouldings, a visible rear skid plate (there's one at the front too) and
190mm ground clearance, while adding some kerb appeal are black roof rails,
wraparound-effect rear glass and large, distinctive triangular front quarterlights.
Like the exterior styling, the SX4's interior is two things: functional, in
an easy-to-live-with way, and smart in a way that will still look well
turned-out when, a few years down the line, you trade it in for another.
and exit is easy thanks to wide door openings (almost ninety degrees) and the
SX4's higher-than-average ground clearance while the high-up driving
position and large glazing areas guarantees commanding visibility.
Inside the functional
and liveable cabin youll
find plenty of room
in all directions.
With ribbed centre
panels finished in a
smart black fabric
with metallic silver
and bolstering thats
just right and does
a good job of holding you
securely, the front seats
are as comfortable as
the functional and liveable cabin you'll find plenty of room in all directions
around your head, feet, elbows and shoulders. With ribbed centre panels finished
in a smart black fabric with metallic silver accents, and bolstering that's
just right and does a good job of holding you securely, the front seats are
as comfortable as they look.
Long seat bases also provide welcome under-knee support that enhances long-distance
Rear passengers sit slightly higher than those up front and consequently enjoy
good all- round views. Thanks to relaxing backrest angles, plenty of leg and
foot room and padded outer armrests, those travelling in the back will be as
comfy as those in the front.
Even the 'piggy in the middle' spot is agreeable unlike many, the SX4's
centre rear seat has a soft-ish cushion (some other brands' can be as hard and
unforgiving as a church pew).
Instrumentation and switchgear are all clear, well-placed and easy to use including
the white-on-black trip computer display (range, average mpg, outside temperature,
next oil change, etc) between the speedo and rev-counter. A slim horizontal
bar graph along its top edge keeps you informed of the fuel level.
Nice touches include ring lights in the rotary AirCon knobs as well as illuminated
audio switches on the three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel. There's also
plenty of storage space with a decent-sized glovebox, door pockets that hold
big bottles, a parking ticket holder, passenger front seat undertray (12 x 8
inches) and a handy bag hook in the boot.
The SZ5 model comes with just about everything that you'll need including automatic
(and very efficient) AirCon with a pollen filter, MP3-compatible radio/CD, electric
windows (the driver's has one-shot down operation), heated and power-adjustable
door mirrors, driver information display, steering wheel-mounted audio controls,
keyless locking and start, cruise control, tinted glass, rear privacy glass,
fog lamps, and alloy wheels. Safety is well addressed, too, what with the all-wheel
drive, front, side and curtain airbags, and height-adjustable front seatbelts.
Like everything else about it, the SX4's dimensions are well considered: while
it's compact enough to be a cinch to drive around the city and a breeze to park,
five adults can be accommodated as well as 270 litres of luggage in the tall
boot. The rigid rear parcel shelf that doubles as a luggage cover can be quickly
removed and stored away.
easy-fold 60:40 split rear seats allow long items of cargo to be carried while
at the same time still seating one or even a pair of passengers. Folded fully
forward, they open up a 40-inch wide, 1,045-litre loadbay with a flat floor.
Handling is predictable
up the pace and
the SX4 is obedient,
holding its line through bends and corners.
The brakes are strong,
and reassuring. And it
comes from a 133bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel that also puts out decent torque (236lb
ft) from just 1,500rpm. Enough to get you to 62mph from standstill in 11.2 seconds
and on to a top speed of 112mph. And also sufficient for the SX4 to tow a braked
Also good news is the manual gearchange; thanks to the polished change action,
making the most of the gears is enjoyable.
If you were expecting '4x4' to mean dirty emissions and heavy fuel consumption
you'd be wrong on both counts: tailpipe emissions of this Euro 5-compliant diesel
engine are 139g/km; fuel consumption for the combined cycle is, officially,
53.3mpg. A week's rather punishing driving over a mixed bag of roads saw a respectable
46.6mpg. The 11-gallon fuel tank also saves you time letting you travel
over 500 miles between fill-ups.
Best of all, the SX4 drives well; it feels predictable and planted and there's
very little body roll. It is stable cruising motorways, where at 70mph sixth
gear keeps the engine revs at a muted and unstressed 2,000rpm. You do need to
watch out though as it's very easy to go over the legal limit higher
speeds are equally smooth and well suited to zipping along Continental autoroutes.
The SX4's electric power steering is rewardingly accurate and also nicely weighted:
a 10.6-metre turning circle ensures narrow city streets are as easy to navigate
as twisting country roads. Handling is predictable up the pace and the
SX4 is obedient, holding its line through bends and corners. The brakes (vented
discs front and rear) are strong, nicely progressive and reassuring. And it
All-wheel traction, a commanding driving position, and hassle-free driveability
together make this versatile hatchback-cum-crossover a sound bet. Better yet,
the SX4 is also surprisingly good fun to drive. All round, this cheeky, no-nonsense
four-wheel drive Suzuki is just the job come sunshine or snowflakes.
Suzuki SX4 2.0 DDiS SZ5 4x4 | £17,400
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 11.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 46.6mpg
Power: 133bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 139g/km