2010 Suzuki SX4 Review

Consumer Reviews
2 Reviews
2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor
January 1, 2010

The 2010 Suzuki SX4 delivers cheerful refinement at a remarkably low price; its only Achilles' heel is its fuel efficiency.

TheCarConnection.com has driven the 2010 Suzuki SX4 to bring you this hands-on review that covers styling, performance, safety, utility, and features from on-the-road observations. TheCarConnection.com's editors also researched reviews from other sources to give you a comprehensive range of opinions from around the Web-and to help you decide which ones to trust.

High Gear Media drove a manufacturer-provided Suzuki SX4 to produce this hands-on road test.

Now in its fourth model year, the 2010 Suzuki SX4 range gains a new model: The front-wheel-drive SportBack five-door joins the visually similar all-wheel-drive Crossover, as well as the front-wheel-drive Sport four-door sedan. Suzuki claims the SX4 Crossover is the lowest-priced vehicle of its type with all-wheel drive. For 2010, Suzuki updates the dashboard, replaces its four-speed automatic with a continuously variable transmission, and wrings both more power and better gas mileage out of its engine. At a base price of $16,849, the SX4 lineup compares with the Nissan Versa, the Subaru Impreza, and the Dodge Caliber.

The pert, truncated tail of the 2010 Suzuki SX4 Crossover and its sportier front-wheel-drive twin, the SX4 SportBack, give them both a look that's cheerful and distinctive. Unlike many similar vehicles, the 2010 SX4 Crossover avoids looking tall and tippy, and the SportBack-with its roof rack removed, a subtle aero kit, and suspension that's half an inch lower-appears even closer to the ground. The SX4 sedan, on the other hand, loses the visual spark of the hatchback's blunt rear. It will vanish immediately in the sea of silver subcompacts found in any mall parking lot. The instrument panel is styled simply but attractively, and both materials and plastic trim look and feel more expensive than the SX4's price would lead you to expect. The instrument cluster is new this year, with aluminum trim surrounds, and the large, knurled knobs for the ventilation system are simple and intuitively easy to use.

Review continues below

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. Both versions come standard with a 150-horsepower version of Suzuki's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine (it gained 7 hp for 2010), along with one of two new transmissions: a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The 2010 Suzuki SX4 comes across as smooth and zippy in regular, relaxed driving, with enough torque from the engine to feel responsive with either transmission. The manual gearbox seems especially sporty, and 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.

The 2010 SX4 Crossover doesn't take especially well to truly enthusiastic driving, when its engine booms and the body rolls in turns. Front-wheel-drive models are better on that account. But its weakest point remains fuel economy, which has improved slightly due to the new transmissions but still trails most competitors. The most economical model of the 2010 SX4, the base Sedan equipped with the CVT, now manages 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, for a combined EPA rating of 28 mpg. Not surprisingly, the all-wheel-drive SX4 Crossover is the least fuel-efficient model, just managing 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway with the six-speed manual, or 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway with the CVT. Those are numbers more likely to be seen on a mid-size sedan than a small compact hatchback, all-wheel drive or not.

The base nylon seat fabric may not scream elegance, but the 2010 Suzuki SX4's seats are nice and upright, comfortable, and better bolstered than those of competitors. The interior is spacious and pleasantly designed, with the theater-style elevated seating in the rear giving both more legroom and a less claustrophobic feeling for backseat passengers. The sedan's trunk holds 15.5 cubic feet of cargo, fairly good for the class, but the hatchback's short tail means luggage space is restricted to 10 cubic feet to seatback height, only enough for several grocery bags unless you fold down the split rear seat. With the seat down and the load space filled to the ceiling, the Crossover and SportBack can handle a more useful 54 cubic feet of cargo. Visibility from the driver's seat is particularly good, with the upright seating and dropped window line providing a better-than-average view. Wind noise is well suppressed, and overall, the SX4 measures up well in refinement except when the driver really pushes the engine hard, at which point it becomes thrashy. Materials, fit, and finish are adequate, helped by the redesigned dashboard this year, but are not top-of-class. Among the demerits are hard plastics.

The 2010 Suzuki SX4's actual crash-test performance is middle-of-the-pack, with four out of five stars in tests for frontal and side impact by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But the Suzuki SX4 really piles on the standard safety features, with six airbags for driver and passenger front and side impact, plus side-curtain bags for the rear passengers. Suzuki is to be commended for fitting four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, while many competitors retain rear drums. For 2010, electronic stability control (incorporating traction control) and a tire-pressure monitoring system are newly standard.

The SX4 line ranges from the base Sedan model to the well-equipped SportBack and Crossover models. In 2009, Suzuki sweetened the value proposition by including a Garmin touchscreen navigation system in every model. Its flip-up 4.3-inch touchscreen display can be removed, and the system comes preloaded with mapping software that includes hotels, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, and more. It's also fully integrated into the SX4's audio system. An optional upgraded TRIP system adds hands-free calling via Bluetooth, and text messaging is delivered both on-screen and audibly.

For 2010, the new SX4 SportBack is equipped with a raft of standard features, including power windows, locks, and mirrors; fog lights; an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system ready for Sirius Satellite Radio; a six-disc CD changer; keyless start; 17-inch alloy wheels; and a trip computer. Similarly, the base 2010 Suzuki SX4 Crossover includes 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows and locks, keyless entry, air conditioning, and a four-speaker CD sound system. Suzuki also offers an accessory iPod interface, letting drivers operate the world's best-known music player via steering-wheel controls, with playlists and track information appearing on the audio display.

8

2010 Suzuki SX4

Styling

The 2010 Suzuki SX4 five-door hatchback is better looking than the anonymous sedan, but the interior of either version is attractive and functional.

The pert, truncated tail of the 2010 Suzuki SX4 Crossover and its sportier front-wheel-drive twin, the SX4 SportBack, give them both a look that's cheerful and distinctive. Unlike many similar vehicles, the 2010 SX4 Crossover avoids looking tall and tippy, and the SportBack-with its roof rack removed, a subtle aero kit, and suspension that's half an inch lower-appears even closer to the ground. The SX4 sedan, on the other hand, loses the visual spark of the hatchback's blunt rear. It will vanish immediately in the sea of silver subcompacts found in any mall parking lot. The instrument panel is styled simply but attractively, and both materials and plastic trim look and feel more expensive than the SX4's price would lead you to expect. The instrument cluster is new this year, with aluminum trim surrounds, and the large, knurled knobs for the ventilation system are simple and intuitively easy to use.

Most like what MyRide.com calls the "cute mini-SUV" styling of the Crossover. Kelley Blue Book reviewers report that the Suzuki SX4 hatchback is a "product of the world-renowned Italdesign styling studio" and the "mildly wedge-shaped bodywork matches form with function." Edmunds describes the Suzuki SX4 as "a compact car available in four-door hatchback and four-door sedan body styles." Along with a conventional sedan in standard and Sport models, the all-wheel-drive hatchback is called the Suzuki SX4 Crossover. It is joined for 2010 by the more performance-oriented front-wheel-drive SportBack model using the same hatchback body. "We especially like the rally-esque hatch spoiler" of the new-for-2010 SX4 SportBack, says Motor Trend, which concludes it has a "racier look" and a "more athletic stance."

Kelley Blue Book says the "nicely finished and feature-rich cabin" is complemented by a "black and silver color scheme" that has "brushed aluminum accents, clearly legible instruments and well-positioned switchgear," all of which "highlight its suitably sporting look." Overall, the "Suzuki SX4's cabin has a clean design," Edmunds observes, and other reviews read by TheCarConnection.com agree. "Everything is well placed" and "three easy-to-use climate control knobs" are located on the center panel, MyRide notes. Even the reserved reviewers at ConsumerGuide remarks the Suzuki SX4's interior boasts "an orthodox dashboard design [that] holds large, legible gauges and simple, handy minor controls."

Review continues below
7

2010 Suzuki SX4

Performance

The 2010 Suzuki SX4 offer good performance and a surprisingly capable ride and handling, but at the cost of low gas mileage for its class.

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. Both versions come standard with a 150-horsepower version of Suzuki's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine (it gained 7 hp for 2010), along with one of two new transmissions: a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The 2010 Suzuki SX4 comes across as smooth and zippy in regular, relaxed driving, with enough torque from the engine to feel responsive with either transmission. The manual gearbox seems especially sporty, and paddle shifters that simulate fixed ratios in the CVT give the driver a feeling of control that meshes well with the SX4's sporty sensation.

The 2010 SX4 Crossover doesn't take especially well to truly enthusiastic driving, when its engine booms and the body rolls in turns. Front-wheel-drive models are better on that account. But its weakest point remains fuel economy, which has improved slightly due to the new transmissions but still trails the majority of competitors. The most economical model of the 2010 SX4, the base Sedan equipped with the CVT, now manages 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, for a combined EPA rating of 28 mpg. Not surprisingly, the all-wheel-drive SX4 Crossover is the least fuel-efficient model, just managing 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway with the six-speed manual, or 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway with the CVT. Those are numbers more likely to be seen on a mid-size sedan than a small compact hatchback, all-wheel drive or not.

The 2010 Suzuki SX4 stacks up well against other vehicles in its class, though the handling exceeds its sheer performance. ConsumerGuide recommends drivers of the Suzuki SX4 "plan ahead for freeway merging and passing on busy two-lane roads." The 2010 SX4 lineup comes with a single engine, boosted this year to 150 horsepower. Some reviewers aren't impressed by the Suzuki SX4's engine, but Jalopnik feels that "in the lower gears there's a steady stream of manageable power," adding, "though you may not want to race for pinks at your local drag strip, there's enough oomph left to keep you entertained." Its "bulky curb weight negates any advantage" from the 2.0-liter engine, says Edmunds, which also observes that while "it has a powerful engine compared to its subcompact competition," the SX4 Suzuki "is no hot rod."

Reviews from previous years often commented on the need for a sixth gear, which Suzuki has provided for 2010. Motor Trend says, "The six-speed's throws proved crisp and easily findable." ConsumerGuide note the "SX4 is acceptably quick with manual transmission-given frequent shifting." Cars.com reviewers appreciate the "comparatively light, easy-engaging clutch that makes launching the car second-nature" with the manual. Motor Trend also compliments the CVT, new in the 2010 SX4 Suzuki: "The transmission is as smooth as they come."

Suzuki's all-wheel-drive system, dubbed i-AWD, "operates in three modes via a console-mounted switch," say the reviewers at MyRide.com. They also mention that these modes include a front-wheel-drive mode that provides "maximum fuel economy on dry pavement" along with an all-wheel-drive function that "controls the drive power distribution ratio to the rear wheels from zero to 50 percent."

Despite the SX4's small size, which would make buyers expect good gas mileage, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the 2010 Suzuki SX4 lags its competitors here. The base CVT-equipped Sedan is the most economical model; the EPA rates it at 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, for a combined 28 mpg rating. Not surprisingly, the SX4 Crossover with all-wheel drive is the least fuel-efficient model, managing only 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway with the CVT, or 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway when fitted with the six-speed manual. Edmunds calls those ratings "at the bottom of the barrel in terms of subcompact sedans and hatchbacks."

The handling of the 2010 Suzuki SX4 wins praise. "Turn-in was quick and predictable" in track testing, comments Motor Trend, "and all-out straightaway speed was impressive." Kelley Blue Book loves that the SX4 is "easy to maneuver, even in tight confines," thanks in part to its "fairly quick and precise" steering feel.

Review continues below
7

2010 Suzuki SX4

Comfort & Quality

The tall 2010 Suzuki SX4 has plenty of space up front, but rear-seat accommodations and some interior materials aren't at the top of the class.

The base nylon seat fabric may not scream elegance, but the 2010 Suzuki SX4's seats are nice and upright, comfortable, and better bolstered than those of competitors. The interior is spacious and pleasantly designed, with the theater-style elevated seating in the rear giving both more legroom and a less claustrophobic feeling for backseat passengers. The sedan's trunk holds 15.5 cubic feet of cargo, fairly good for the class, but the hatchback's short tail means luggage space is restricted to 10 cubic feet to seatback height, only enough for several grocery bags unless you fold down the split rear seat. With the seat down and the load space filled to the ceiling, the Crossover and SportBack can handle a more useful 54 cubic feet of cargo. Visibility from the driver's seat is particularly good, with the upright seating and dropped window line providing a better-than-average view. Wind noise is well suppressed, and overall, the SX4 measures up nicely in refinement except when the driver pushes the engine hard, at which point it becomes thrashy. Materials, fit, and finish are adequate, helped by the redesigned dashboard this year, but are not top-of-class. Among the demerits are hard plastics.
The 2010 Suzuki SX4 is comfortable enough for up to four and suitably practical as a hatchback. But reviews read by TheCarConnection.com are mixed on the build and materials quality. ConsumerGuide says the Suzuki SX4 "cabin materials are appropriate for the price," but Edmunds disagrees, remarking, "the quality of the surrounding plastics is a step or two below" that of rivals. Cars.com reviewers split the difference, deciding that "while the cabin has some downmarket elements...most interior trim pieces are better finished," which "puts the SX4 Sport in the middle of the small car pack." Most reviewers side with Motor Trend when they remark that the Suzuki SX4 offers "made-in-Japan build quality" can "match, if not surpass" that found in the Nissan Sentra.

Reduced cabin noise is a welcome benefit of the Suzuki SX4's solid build quality. "The ride was quiet, compliant, and comfortable," says Motor Trend. "Wind noise is modest," reports ConsumerGuide, and "there's little thumping over bumps." But the Suzuki SX4's quiet ends at high speed or under hard acceleration. Jalopnik says the "cabin noise you're subjected to as the engine whines above 80 mph" is one of the SX4's few major shortcomings.

Reviews are complimentary about the ride quality, helped by the car's weight. Edmunds acknowledges that the "extra pounds help give the [Suzuki] SX4 a smooth, refined ride quality." ConsumerGuide says that SX4 models "ride fairly comfortably for being such small cars," adding that their "limber but nicely damped suspension" along with large tires "help iron out most rough pavement."

Accommodation is a mixed bag. The 2010 Suzuki SX4 range offers comfortable seating for front-seat passengers. Front headroom is "ample," says ConsumerGuide, despite a "high seating position for the class," while legroom is also "OK" for most passengers. Very tall passengers, according to Edmunds, "will appreciate the Suzuki's voluminous headroom in both the front and rear," while the "propped-up driving position may feel a bit awkward to some consumers" although "ex-SUV owners will find it familiar." In the rear, though, ConsumerGuide warns the seats are definitely "too narrow for three adults." Kelley Blue Book thinks the "rear bench can handle two adults or a trio of kids," but the reviewer from MotherProof isn't so confident. "There's a seat belt in the middle position in the back," she notes, but she "didn't have the heart to make [her] teenager squeeze into a space about the width of his right thigh."

The sedan earns praise from Cars.com for its "sizable 14.3 cubic feet" of storage space in the trunk, "which is larger than the cargo area of the Civic, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com mark down the Suzuki SX4 Sport for its lack of folding rear seats. Inside the Suzuki SX4, "cabin storage is useful but not abundant," comments ConsumerGuide. Storage in the 2010 Suzuki SX4 is adequate in the Sport but impressive in the Crossover. Edmunds reports that "the 60/40-split rear seat can be lowered and tumbled forward to open up an ample 38 cubic feet of cargo room" in the Suzuki SX4 Crossover.

Review continues below
8

2010 Suzuki SX4

Safety

The 2010 Suzuki SX4 does well in crash tests and has a good level of standard safety equipment.

The 2010 Suzuki SX4's actual crash-test performance is middle-of-the-pack, with four out of five stars in tests for frontal and side impact by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But the Suzuki SX4 really piles on the standard safety features, with six airbags for driver and passenger front and side impact, plus side-curtain bags for the rear passengers. Suzuki is to be commended for fitting four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, while many competitors retain rear drums. For 2010, electronic stability control (incorporating traction control) and a tire-pressure monitoring system are newly standard.

Aside from a few four-star crash-test ratings, the 2010 Suzuki SX4 offers a decent safety resume. The Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which puts vehicles through very stringent exams, hasn't tested the SX4 lineup. But NHTSA gives it impressive crash-test ratings, considering its size. Both the Suzuki SX4 Sport and Crossover earn four out of five stars in NHTSA frontal impact tests, and both SX4 body styles achieve a perfect five-star rating in side-impact tests, plus a four-star rating for rollovers.

The list of safety features on the 2010 Suzuki SX4 includes standard equipment for any modern car-and a bit more. "One feature that stood out was standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS," says Motor Trend, which notes electronic stability control also comes standard. ConsumerGuide adds that a "tire-pressure monitor" and "daytime running lights" are standard fare on the Suzuki SX4. And Edmunds continues the list, noting that every 2010 Suzuki SX4 comes with "front-seat side airbags and head-protecting side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers."

The 2010 Suzuki SX4 generally has decent outward visibility, but some reviewers voice complaints. ConsumerGuide says some of its testers gripe that "the front roof pillars impede the view to the sides," while Edmunds counters by noting the high seating position is "beneficial to outward visibility." Cars.com seems to play both sides, agreeing that "the view forward from the front seats is great," but grumbling that "the large A-pillar on the right side is in the driver's line of sight when checking for pedestrians and cars."

Review continues below
8

2010 Suzuki SX4

Features

Despite a few missing features, the 2010 Suzuki SX4 offers a tremendous value-especially given its standard navigation system.

The SX4 line ranges from the base Sedan model to the well-equipped SportBack and Crossover models. In 2009, Suzuki sweetened the value proposition by including a Garmin touchscreen navigation system in every model. Its flip-up 4.3-inch touchscreen display can be removed, and the system comes preloaded with mapping software that includes hotels, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, and more. It's also fully integrated into the SX4's audio system. An optional upgraded TRIP system adds hands-free calling via Bluetooth, and text messaging is delivered both on-screen and audibly.

For 2010, the new SX4 SportBack is equipped with a raft of standard features, including power windows, locks, and mirrors; fog lights; an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system ready for Sirius Satellite Radio; a six-disc CD changer; keyless start; 17-inch alloy wheels; and a trip computer. Similarly, the base 2010 Suzuki SX4 Crossover includes 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows and locks, keyless entry, air conditioning, and a four-speaker CD sound system. Suzuki also offers an accessory iPod interface, letting drivers operate the world's best-known music player via steering-wheel controls, with playlists and track information appearing on the audio display.

The 2010 Suzuki SX4 is inexpensive, and its options list is short and far from pricey. And Suzuki consistently adds new standard features each model year to boost the value of its smallest model.

The SX4's most notable feature-found on almost none of its competitors-is the standard Garmin touchscreen navigation system, called TRIP (Travel, Real-time traffic, Information, and Play). It features a removable, flip-up 4.3-inch display; comes preloaded with software listing millions of hotels, restaurants, gasoline stations, ATMs, and more; and is fully integrated into the audio system of the 2010 SX4 Suzuki. An optional upgrade for the TRIP system adds Bluetooth hands-free calling, on-screen and audible text messages, and further features.

As for the rest of the 2010 SX4 line, Edmunds mentions "16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, air-conditioning, a CD/MP3 player and full power accessories" as standard features, and Kelley Blue Book deems the Suzuki SX4 "better equipped in base form than many its competitors." The crowning touch, continues Kelley Blue Book, is the "easy-to-use three-mode intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system (i-AWD)."

Unlike trendier makes like Scion, Suzuki doesn't charge the earth for the SX4's options. Motor Trend notes that "even when loaded with the available Touring package...the SX4 costs less than $17,000." But a number of reviews read by TheCarConnection.com complain that the 2010 Suzuki SX4 is missing some features altogether. ConsumerGuide says an auxiliary input for an iPod or MP3 player is only available as a $160 option. Most options for the Suzuki SX4 come in "packages," according to Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds reports that "the Touring Package offers automatic climate control, an upgraded nine-speaker audio system with an in-dash CD changer, heated outside mirrors and the SmartPass keyless entry and engine-start system." Kelley Blue Book adds that "the Convenience Package includes cruise control, heated outside mirrors, automatic climate control and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control buttons."

Overall, Motor Trend concludes, "It would be an everything-small-to-ultra-compact-car-fighter, if there were such a thing."

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February 20, 2016
2010 Suzuki SX4 5-Door HB CVT Technology FWD

Great little car

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After owning and driving this car daily for almost six years, I absolutely love it!! It's not to small and it is good at moving down the highway. I cruise between 70 and 80 miles per hour on the highway... + More »
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December 29, 2015
2010 Suzuki SX4 5-Door HB CVT AWD

The compact tire is a bad idea especially holiday time.when tyre agents are closed.

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Too Thirsty.I road tested a Hyuandai I30 much nippier and less thirst Good for the seniors in our society for easy accessability
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