When it was launched in 2007, the Suzuki SX4 offered good safety features and got good ratings. In its sixth year, however, tests have gotten tougher and the SX4 is no more than average--if that.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the SX4 its highest rating of "Good" in frontal offset and side impact crash tests. But the little Suzuki received only "Marginal" scores (two notches down) for rear crash protection and roof strength.
Results are more varied in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash-test ratings. The 2012 SX4 gets four stars out of five for overall safety, frontal impact protection, and rollover protection. But its rating for side-crash safety in newer, tougher testing is just three out of five stars, versus the perfect five-star rating earlier models received in less stringent tests.
The small size and upright design of both SX4 body styles make them easy to see out of, aided by an upright seating position and a low beltline that drops toward the front. The 2012 range has four-wheel disc brakes, an admirable feature in a class where many contenders make do with drum brakes at the rear, and electronic stability control is standard. Last year, rear head restraints were enlarged and Suzuki added side-curtain airbags to the existing front and side bags for front-seat occupants.