2008 Suzuki SX4 sedan – Wheels.ca

1 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2008 Suzuki SX4 sedan – Wheels.ca

2008 Suzuki SX4 sedan

The stylists have taken the SX4 hatchback – a model introduced in 2007 to replace the aging Aerio – and turned out a real looker that#039;s better in person than the photos suggest.

Quebec City–Well, Suzuki#039;s gone and done it: a compact sedan that looks better than its hatchback sibling.

New for 2008, the SX4 sedan breaks my rule that liftgates are always more attractive than trunks. The stylists have taken the SX4 hatchback – a model introduced in 2007 to replace the aging Aerio – and turned out a real looker that#039;s better in person than the photos suggest.

The tall windows that give the hatchback a top-heavy AMC Pacer look are raked upwards, giving the illusion of a lower lid while retaining massive amounts of headroom. My 6-foot-2 co-driver was nowhere near the headliner, even in the rear seat, but it doesn#039;t feel like you#039;re sitting in a fishbowl.

Like the hatchback, the sedan uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that churns out 143 horsepower and 136 lb.-ft. of torque, making it more powerful than the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Nissan Versa that Suzuki has in its sights, but somewhat less than competitors from Mazda and Chevrolet.

The default transmission is a notchy five-speed manual, with relatively short throws that snick into each gear with military precision, while $1,100 buys a four-speed automatic. The SX4 hatch is available with all-wheel drive, but the sedan is strictly front-wheel only.

Two trim lines are offered, and the base model, at $17,195, includes air conditioning, power locks with keyless entry, power windows with driver#039;s side auto-down, power mirrors, 15-inch wheels and variable intermittent wipers, along with six airbags and anti-lock brakes.

The upscale Sport model, at $18,995, adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, six-CD stereo, heated mirrors, cruise control and a body skirt kit, along with disc brakes at all four corners.

Suzuki is banking on that high level of content to win buyers over; some of the competition have a lower base price, but don#039;t include as many features.

The engine is a torquey little number, and commuters who opt for the stick shift will appreciate that it doesn#039;t require constant shifting; when creeping along in third gear at 20 km/h, a hard stab of the throttle got it up and away without a need to downshift. The automatic works smoothly and efficiently, and the engine is surprisingly quiet for the segment.

The sedan is 15 per cent stiffer than the hatchback – the company says it wanted a sportier, European-tuned feel – and the steering is nicely weighted; it tracks accurately around curves and doesn#039;t require constant correction on the highway. But on the down side, the ride is very harsh, and you feel every minor bump, which became tiring after a full day#039;s drive.

Inside, there are niceties such as covered vanity mirrors, fabric door panel inserts, two cubbies in the centre stack, and water-bottle holders in the front doors. The seat cushions are long, for better support, but the seats do get hard after a while; Nissan Versa#039;s foam chairs are still the benchmark.

The climate buttons are big and simple, and there#039;s a clock and fuel economy readout at the top of the dash, although its red numbers can be hard to read in bright daylight.

The stereo accepts six CDs on the Sport model, but if you want to use an iPod or similar auxiliary device, you have to add a separate jack. It#039;s a cinch to install, it hides your player in the glovebox, and it#039;ll let you control an iPod#039;s functions from the wheel-mounted buttons.

Still, given the overwhelming popularity of music players, it#039;s odd that Suzuki doesn#039;t ship its cars right out of the box with it. At this price point, SX4 is reaching young buyers for whom an auxiliary jack is as important as the steering wheel, and having it as standard equipment could be a big selling point.

The SX4 is very roomy inside, even in the rear seat. Visibility is excellent, thanks to a tall driver#039;s seating position and pancake-style rear head restraints that don#039;t intrude into the view. The rear seat doesn#039;t fold, but the trunk is enormous.

The compact segment is the largest in Canada – Suzuki says it#039;s 47 per cent of the market – and of that, almost three-quarters are sedans. For many buyers, this crowded market comes down to value, and with its combination of content and price, there#039;s a lot packed into this newest offering.

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