Suzuki SX4:

On the Road: 2010 Suzuki SX4 Sportback


Who Says You Can’t Get Standard Navigation for $18,500? Not Suzuki
We called up the kind folks over at Suzuki this winter and asked if we could check out one of their latest additions, the 2010 SX4 Sportback. Specifically, we wanted to check out the standard integrated Garmin navigation system. Having spent a reasonable amount of time with systems that range from $1500 to $2500, the idea of a cheap but functional system appeals. The expensive systems generally have great graphics, bigger screens, and are nicely integrated into the car’s center stack. But are they worth it?
Suzuki is also making some noise with what is now the second-oldest vehicle in its range, the five-door SX4, for 2010MY. Launched for the 2007MY, this five-door hatchback was introduced as an AWD model, causing some to initially confuse it with a small SUV. The range was expanded to include a sedan with the 2008MY, and a front-drive version of the hatchback became available for 2009MY. With 2010MY, these cars take a new engine that boosts power to 150HP and also comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission.

Continue Reading

Suzuki Adds Standard Garmin Navigation to SX


One of the highest demanded in-car technology features these days is a navigation system. Originally, these were in-car hard-wired systems that were somewhat clumsy to use and required expensive annual updates to keep them current. Recently, portable hand-held units from Garmin, TomTom, Magellan and others have given consumers the option of having a navigation system that is much less expensive than the hard-wired system, and still can be used out of the vehicle or with other vehicles.
Over the past couple of years, these portable systems have been making in-roads on the fixed systems found in many cars. Where a typical in-car system would cost $1,995 (as the new Ford SIRIUS-SYNC-NAV system does), capable portable NAV unit can be had for under $500.

Suzuki Garmin VehicleVoice.jpg

Suzuki, rightly in our mind, has adopted a strategy that has the best of both worlds and approaches the holy grail we have been seeking for the past decade… more on that later. Anyway, Suzuki will have a Garmin NAV system standard in its 2009 SX4 sedan. This is a first in the compact class of cars. And the collaboration between Suzuki and Garmin has resulted in a pretty slick system. The NAV unit is similar to the familiar Garmin NUVI 700 unit and has a 4.3-inch screen. It plugs into a flip up lid atop the instrument panel and syncs with the audio system. As all Garmin units this one is touch screen and you input destinations just by tapping the screen. While the screen is not the huge 8.5-inches found in some OEM systems, the Suzuki/Garmin system is plenty big enough for most things.
Hats off to Suzuki for being first to the market with an innovative and cost effective way to get NAV into the hands of buyers of less expensive cars.
Now, about the holy grail. Since AutoPacific began conducting consumer research on navigation systems and telematics over a decade ago, it became obvious that the logical solution would be some sort of super PDA or iPod that would be personalized to the driver. The car would be the receptacle and the iPod-esque device would carry music, navigation, personalized vehicle settings, address book, telephone, bluetooth, etc. All that stuff that is becoming an integral part of our 21st century lifestyle. Because all of those things change rapidly, they are not ideal for hard-wiring in a car or truck. We know the industry is working on solutions like this. Just taking too long.
• • • • • Garmin’s Press Release Can Be Found Below the Fold • • • • •

Continue Reading

2008 Suzuki SX4 Sport: Value Conscious Style


This month, Suzuki offers new competition for Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Kia Spectra, Mazda3, Mitsubishi Lancer, and Chevrolet Cobalt and replaces the slow-selling Aerio. The SX4 Sport sedan is related to the SX4 Crossover launched last summer, and most distinct from the Crossover in that it carries a trunk and is not available with an all-wheel-drive system. The SX4 family is more competitive than the Aerio hatchback and sedan they replace and continue to offer lots of standard features at a reasonable price point.


On a hot and muggy August day in Traverse City, Michigan, we had our first drive and spent some time with Suzuki product planners and marketing executives. Suzuki developed the SX4 Sport to be a stylish compact with emotionally rewarding driving experience at an affordable price, but also wanted to bring something new to the market. In many ways, and within the context of the compact segment, they met these goals. The SX4 offers a quirky style and an affordable price, but we did not see where it brings something new or unique to the standard compact sedan formula.

Steady and Quiet, Rain or Shine
A strong downpour covered the morning and first of our drive, though the sun opened up and dried out the roads over the course of our three-hour drive. The small, narrow SX4 felt as planted during a strong downpour as on dry pavement an hour later. Though a deep puddle tried to swallow the little car, the SX4 would have none of that and pushed through with the determination of a larger vehicle. The SX4 Sport is nimble and offers a manual gearbox with direct action, little slop, and a light but predictable clutch. Though entertaining for a $15,000 ride, the SX4 doesn’t offer as much pure fun as a Mazda3 nor does it feel quite as substantial as the new-for-2008 Mitsubishi Lancer (click for our drive review of the Lancer). It does, however, offer an interior environment surprisingly free of road or wind noise.

Continue Reading

Suzuki Reinvents the XL7 and Shows New Entry AWD SX4


XL7 Was the Star, But SX4 Made U.S. Debut in New York
Suzuki‘s show stand at the New York auto show introduced two new entries for their 2007 model year lineup, one at the entry level and one to sit at the top of the range. The SX4 was officially introduced at Geneva in March and its small size means it will be a lower-volume vehicle for Suzuki, so the XL7 had top billing in New York. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific were there in the audience and got to take our first look at the new entries.
Has Suzuki Finally Solved the Equation for Success?
Point, Counterpoint… more Point: With these two new entries it appears that Suzuki may finally hit stride in the United States. Well styled and well priced, the concept for each of these new SUVs seems to be on target. No longer does Suzuki have to apologize for weirdly styled and packaged SUVs. These are mainstream and competitive – at least from a styling and package perspective. In the final analysis, it may be how well they drive.
SX4: AWD for $15,000
The SX4 is based on a European Suzuki product called the Swift, which is a small front-drive car. Suzuki is targeting the $15,000 to $18,000 price ladder for this entry product, though pricing will be finalized closer to launch. The powertrain is a 2.0L DOHC four-cylinder, standard with a five-speed manual or optional with a four-speed automatic. The SX4 slots in below the Grand Vitara and functionally takes the place of the Aerio all-wheel-drive wagon, which is being dropped. We covered the SX4 in a previous VehicleVoice blog entry.


Suzuki’s First Mid-Size SUV Offers Real Room for Seven
The real news for Suzuki in New York was the XL7, which the company reinvented with help from GM, losing the small, truck-based package and gaining a product that seems just right for the market today. The XL7 takes advantage of Suzuki’s involvement in the joint GM-Suzuki CAMI plant in Ontario, Canada. The previous Grand Vitara was kicked out when GM started building the Theta-based Chevrolet Equinox at the facility. In the form of the XL7, Suzuki adds a variant of the Chevrolet Equinox, though the XL7 takes the package further and offers more seats and more power.

With a new platform also comes a minor change to the name: The old, truck-based version was spelled XL-7. With the 2007MY, Suzuki dropped the dash and the model is now just XL7.

Continue Reading

Suzuki SX4: A Post-Modern SUV for Suzuki


Suzuki’s new small Post-Modern SUV (or crossover, or sport wagon) joins its North American lineup after an introduction at the 2006 New York show in April, 2006. Sales are scheduled for late Summer 2006 in the States, and the U.S. and European spec versions will carry similar styling. The SX4 is the result of a joint project between Fiat and Suzuki, with production by Suzuki at their plant in Hungary and using a Suzuki platform. (The Fiat, called Sedici will, of course, not be seen Stateside.) While this product is well-suited for international markets, its appeal in the States is likely to be limited and largely driven by a combination of value-pricing and its relatively fuel-efficient 2.0L DOHC I4 drivetrain. North American buyers will choose between a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.


Continue Reading

Follow VehicleVoice

RSS Feed   Facebook   Twitter

2018 NVSS

2018 New Vehicle Satisfaction Survey
By Invitation Only

Start Survey



Recent Winners

Sid P., Washington - $100
Ken G., Nevada - $100
Brad T., Wisconsin - $100
Tom M., Virginia - $100
Kathy F., New Jersey - $100
John M., Massachusetts - $100
Mike M., California - $100
Carol R., Texas - $100
James D., Georgia - $100
Martha B., New Jersey - $100
Kerry B., Pennsylvania - $100

What is VehicleVoice?

About Vehicle Voice