Can a company that started out making tools for the ancient art of weaving create a fun and practical car?
Getting into the SX4 I was surprised with the amount of space, especially head room. Cargo space at maximum is a very roomy 43 cubic feet. The seats, well theyre your basic run of the mill cloth fabric, something you would think a weaver loom producer would excel at. Room is plentiful up front and in back. You can comfortably stretch out as you have enough headroom to reach the sky. However there will be no stretching out on this test drive.
The SX4 competes in the FIA World Rally Championship, yes the SX4. Dont believe it? I didn't either at first, I laughed at the idea of a budget priced crossover speeding across dirt and gravel until I took it down some winding roads. This little weaver looms crossover felt more than able to quickly shoot through some curves. The exhaust note on the 143-hp, 2 liter was dare-I-say growling as I reached higher rpms. The all wheel drive system on the SX4 is excellent, and word on the street is that it rivals that of Subaru. There are three modes: two wheel drive of the front wheels, i-AWD auto which automatically detects slippage and adjusts accordingly, and i-AWD lock, giving a 50/50 front and rear torque distribution that automatically turns to i-AWD auto at 36mph.
This little crossover has a surprising list of features inside that you will not find in similarly priced cars. Apart from the available AWD, there are standard Electronic Stability and Traction Control systems to keep the car on the road in case the AWD doesn't. A touchscreen pop-up navigation is also available. Yes touch screen and pop-up, and no this is no $60,000 luxury car. The navigation is easy to use displaying everything from maps and directions to movie listings, where lowest gas prices are, and weather. Six airbags are standard just in case you find yourself overwhelmed while rally racing.
Now being a budget crossover, the SX4 sports a great list of features for less than $20,000. Gas mileage on the AWD version is a respectable 21/28, just slightly worse then the 22/30 on the front wheel drive version. Its not a gas sipper but it beats many other crossovers in days where mpg can be a deal breaker.
Ryan Konko also writes at: www.Konkocars.com