- Strong value
- Available all-wheel drive
- Sporty feel
- Comfortable ride
- Fuel economy
- Engine noise
- Lack of cargo space (hatchback)
The 2011 Suzuki SX4 Crossover remains the most affordable all-wheel-drive car, while the other SX4 models are sporty, well-configured, and a strong value.
Suzuki's SX4 models match up surprisingly well against budget-priced vehicles from other brands, offering strong value for the money and a pleasing, roomy package considering its very compact exterior. The 2011 Suzuki SX4 Crossover is again the lowest-priced vehicle of its type with all-wheel drive.
While the Suzuki SX4 sedan might appear a little too pert and truncated at the back, giving it an anonymous, rather tall look, the exterior of the SX4 Crossover and its sportier front-wheel-drive twin, the SX4 SportBack is much more distinctive. The SX4 sedan, on the other hand, will vanish immediately in the sea of silver subcompacts found in any mall parking lot.
The 2011 Suzuki SX4 is considerably more enjoyable to drive than most other on-a-budget small cars. Both versions of the 2011 Suzuki SX4 come standard with a 150-horsepower version of Suzuki's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, along with a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Suzuki's Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive (I-AWD) system is standard on the Crossover, whereas the SportBack, the entry Sedan, and the fancier Sport sedan make do with simpler front-wheel drive. The SX4 feels smooth and zippy in normal commute-style driving, with enough torque from the engine to feel responsive with either transmission. And throughout the line, they handle quite well.
Inside the SX4 you'll find better seats than typical for a budget-priced small car; they're well bolstered in front, with a nice, upright position, and while the base nylon seat fabric certainly doesn't scream elegance, it's comfortable. In back, theater-style elevated seating gives both more legroom and a less claustrophobic feeling; there's enough space for two adults in a pinch. While the sedan has a roomy trunk, the hatchback's short tail means luggage space is restricted to 10 cubic feet, only enough for several grocery bags unless you fold down the split rear seat.
Ride quality is nicely damped for a small car, and the SX4 measures up well in refinement except when you press the engine hard, as it becomes quite coarse—even in the middle of its rev range when pressed, or anywhere above 75 mph or so. Wind noise is well suppressed, and through most of the lineup there isn't too much road noise. Plastics are hard up close, but they look good from even a few feet away.
Base sedan versions of the 2011 Suzuki SX4 pose a strong value against some of the lowest-priced cars in the market, while well-equipped SportBack and Crossover models go after a slightly more upscale portion of the small-car market.
Suzuki now only offers the Garmin touchscreen navigation system in models with the Technology Package; it's also fully integrated into the SX4's audio system, and for 2011 includes Google search, real-time traffic and weather, and several other new features.