Drive – Suzuki SX4 2007-on Used Car Review

8 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Suzuki SX4 2007-on Used Car Review

Used car review: Suzuki SX4 sedan 2007-on

David Morley

None yet.

Make SUZUKI Model SX4 Series Year 2010,2009,2008,2007 Body Group 4D SEDAN Fuel Consumption 8.4L/100km (combined) Safety Rating 4/5 stars ( Transmission/Driven Wheels 5-sp man, 4-sp auto

THE whole world seems to be talking about the new Suzuki Kizashi at the moment.

Clearly, the car breaks new ground for Suzuki in terms of dynamics and driveability, as well as moving the Japanese brand into the next-size-up category.

But all the showroom fuss tends to suggest people have forgotten that Suzuki has a long history of producing small sedans. Then again, forgetfulness is a natural byproduct of cars that were less than entirely memorable.

But that’s not to say there haven’t been some decent sedans bearing the Suzuki badge. One of the most recent was the SX4 sedan.

If you immediately read the term SX4 and thought of a small soft-roader, think again. The SX4 badge was also #8212; confusingly, it would seem #8212; applied to a conventional front-drive sedan and hatchback that was sold here from 2007 and is still soldiering on in the form of the 2010 model-year SX4 Liana.

And, as an entree to the Kizashi that was to follow, the SX4 sedan was designed to get Australian buyers thinking about the Suzuki brand in those terms.

As such, you got a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that had 107kW of power and decent torque.

It could be a bit noisy and harsh when revved hard, though, and that wasn’t helped by the optional four-speed automatic transmission that was at least one ratio short and forced the engine to work hard.

A much better bet was the five-speed manual gearbox, although Australian car buyers bought a lot of SX4s without a clutch pedal.

Standard equipment was an SX4 long suit and even the base-model version got airconditioning, remote central locking and full electrics. Bump the budget up a bit to take in the S version and you got a leather-clad steering wheel, climate control, cruise control, alloy wheels and keyless entry and start.

For younger drivers, the SX4 has a bit going for it, with one big exception. While it got six airbags, anti-lock brakes, brake-force distribution and brake assist, the Suzuki wasn’t available with stability control at any price and that alone makes it less of a learner’s car than it should have been.

Even then, you have to buy the upmarket S model to get all six airbags (the base-model got just two) but the price difference now isn’t huge.

The SX4 did achieve a four-star crash-test rating but the lack of stability control is still a big issue for many people and leaves the Suzuki trailing some of its logical competitors.

Beyond that obvious safety glitch, you need to watch out for examples of the SX4 that haven’t had the appropriate level of scheduled maintenance.

Like a lot of cars at the cheaper end of things, some owners who bought purely on price took the same approach to servicing.

An SX4 that has had oil changes skipped, for example, could easily have a much shorter life expectancy than one that has been serviced by the book.

The SX4 is not alone here but it’s worth bearing in mind.

Clean oil is critical for lubrication of the camshafts located up high in the engine. Without this, the oil cannot circulate quickly enough to stop accelerated wear.

We’ve also heard of a few SX4s in overseas markets that have experienced major engine failures. Again, this could be down to poor maintenance but it’s worth checking every car carefully.

Any ticking or knocking noise from within an engine points to serious dramas and is often the first sign a main bearing or conrod bearing in the engine is about to fail. That said, Suzuki Australia assures us these problems haven’t affected locally delivered cars.

Nevertheless, an engine that starts up quietly when cold but gets noisier as it heats up is another hint there’s internal wear, as are excessive oil leaks or any hint of smoke from the exhaust pipe.

The problem for home mechanics was the location of the oil filter on the SX4. While attempting to change the oil and filter regularly, the position of the filter allows oil to spill directly on to the oxygen sensor in the exhaust plumbing. That’s often enough to contaminate the sensor and cause a check-engine light to appear on the dashboard.

Any SX4 with the light already glowing on the dashboard can suffer all sorts of limp-home mode and poor idling issues. Essentially, if the check-engine light is on, there’s something wrong.

Another check is to ensure the wiring harness inside the engine bay isn’t chafing on the bodywork as it passes near the left-hand-side suspension tower.

Some cars (again, only overseas as far as we know) have had under-bonnet fires and are being investigated to see whether this wiring route was the cause. Again, Suzuki is adamant it hasn’t seen this problem locally.

As a cheap set of wheels, the SX4 scrubs up pretty well and Suzukis are known for being pretty reliable gadgets.

Build quality is better than some of the competition, too, but probably lags behind the best of the Japanese brands.

The driving experience was never class-leading but, as an entry-level sedan or hatchback, the SX4 has a bit to offer.

And including the caveat, of course, that you find an S version with all the airbags.

That said, the SX4 is probably more of a wallpaper car than it should have been.

#9632;The engine needs its servicing. Beware a car with dirty, thick oil and make sure the timing belt has been changed at the right interval.

#9632;Clunks or ticks from the engine are potentially very bad news.

#9632;Make sure previous oil changes haven’t allowed oil to contaminate the oxygen sensor that sits directly under the oil filter.

#9632;The check-engine light shouldn’t be illuminated, regardless of what the seller tells you.

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