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2007 Suzuki SX4

2007 Suzuki SX4

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by Al Vinikour 

 

Inside the mysterious labyrinths of Suzuki’s headquarters, a new language has evolved. Cunning linguists tell us the SX stands for something like “sport crossover” and the “4” stands for “four seasons” — not the ritzy hotel chain, but the varied weather conditions.

 

Fully translated, the SX4 seems to mean “inexpensive, all-weather runabout,” but admittedly our command of the language is a little rusty.

 

Though it’s called a crossover, the SX4 has all the desirable attributes of a “station wagon” — you know, that ancient phrase for, um, essentially the same thing. It’s a five-door hatchback with second-row seats that tumble forward for maximum cargo-carrying. Five passengers fit in its chairs, and as long as you’re not the poor guy sitting in the middle of the second row, life is pretty good.

 

And its bottom line includes one very coveted attribute: standard all-wheel drive. Suzuki says the $14,999 SX4 is the lowest-priced all-wheel-drive vehicle sold in theUnited States .


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The engine is a 2.0-liter four churning out 143 horsepower and 136 pound feet of torque. Its chief contribution to global harmony is in fuel economy, not in speed delivery. The good news is the SX4’s EPA rating is 23 mpg city/28 mpg highway (manual) and 24/30 (automatic).

 

The five-speed manual gearbox (the four-speed automatic is available for $1000) was exceptionally smooth and clutch feel was about as natural as one can ask for — a good thing, because the good-on-paper power of the SX4 requires a good deal of shifting to make itself known. Part of the blame could go to the SX4’s heft: that standard all-wheel drive and tall body boost curb weight up to nearly 3000 pounds.

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