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. The manual gearbox seems the best way to take advantage of the engine's sprightly mid-rev response; however paddle shifters that simulate fixed ratios in the CVT give the driver a feeling of control that meshes well with the SX4's sporty feel—which includes steering that loads and unloads nicely.
Because of its height and taller, more compliant suspension, the SX4 Crossover doesn't take nearly as well as the other models to truly enthusiastic driving, when its engine booms and the body rolls in turns. It's also the heaviest model, and the SX4's overly aggressive throttle tip-in can convince you there's more power—until you drive foot to the floor. Crossover models get an unusual AWD setup, called i-AWD, that has a front-wheel-drive only model to aid fuel economy on dry roads, while in its normal mode the system can send up to 50 percent of power to the rear wheels.