MPG-o-Matic 2009 Suzuki SX4 Review Summary: The 2009 Suzuki SX4 Crossover shined like a little gem in our week-long review, with a long list of features, AWD, plenty of character, and a entry-level price the budget-conscious will love.
The Suzuki SX4 Crossover competes primarily with the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe, along with a host of Subarus in the entry-level AWD market. The five-door hatchback SX4 Crossover is billed as the most affordable AWD in America.
Under the hood, the SX4 Crossover is fitted with a 2.0 liter DOHC 16 valve four cylinder engine, producing 143 horsepower (HP) and 136 foot pounds of torque.
The official gas mileage estimates for the base 2009 Suzuki SX4 Crossover are 21 city / 28 highway miles per gallon (MPG) when fitted with the standard 5-speed manual transmission.
In hundreds of miles of driving, we were able slip past the official estimates with our Quicksilver Metallic SX4, scoring an average of 32 MPG on the Interstate highway, with 26.6 MPG combined. Test period temperatures ranged from the forties through sixties, with freeway speeds between 60 and 70 miles per hour (MPH).
The little SX4 clearly has sporting intentions, despite the Crossover badge. While the four-cylinder engine provides adequate power for an enjoyable run through the gears, we found the shifter to be less then precise. Regardless, this little critter is fun to throw through the curves, with more of a rally, rather than a sports car feel. And although it’s not one for the drag strip, there’s enough juice to chirp the tires off the line and make that highway merge.
The weather teased us during the SX4’s stay in our driveway, with an afternoon of intermittent snow and sleet. Lacking any significant snow to play in, we found that the SX4 shines on the backroads, especially those of the gravel variety.
As much fun as it is to drive with gusto, the SX4 responds well to light-footed driving.
Two tried and and true techniques were used to surpass the official gas mileage estimates. We shifted carefully and quickly through the gears, while limiting revs for fuel efficiency. Just as importantly, a watchful eye was kept on the instant fuel consumption display (atop the dashboard) to get a better feel for the engine, with the goal of keeping the lightest possible pressure on the accelerator pedal, at all times. (The further you can drive with your foot completely off the pedal, the greater your fuel efficiency.)
The SX4’s cabin is well designed and appointed. The rear sixty/forty fold down and roll forward seats provide ample cargo capacity.
Our test unit was equipped with the Technology option package, which includes air conditioning and a leather wrapped steering wheel with integrated cruise and audio controls. All SX4 Crossovers come with a removable Suzuki-branded Garmin navigation unit. The Technology package adds real-time traffic, MSN Direct, and Bluetooth.
The one downside to the SX4? Standard digital music integration is lacking, as it oddly relies on memory cards or USB downloads to the Garmin navigation unit … unless you spring for an optional input jack or iPod integration kit. This is a situation that’s easily remedied.
All-in-all, we found the Suzuki SX4 Crossover to be a solid choice for folks on a budget with the need for a small AWD vehicle that delivers good fuel economy and a sporting character.
Assembly/Parts Content: The Suzuki SX is assembled in Kosai, Japan. Both the engine and transmission are of Japanese origin. 0% of the parts are produced in North America.
– by Daniel Gray
November 18th, 2008
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