The polished newbie
Oh goody. For once, I don’t have to think of anything clever to start a review because Suzuki just lent us one of their new SX4’s. That means this review will be no good to you if you’re not familiar with the old model because my better half actually owns a 2010 SX4 and we felt an immediate urge to compare the two.
Did we have to start with the looks? Oh alright, I guess so. I’m understandably biased towards the car in my garage because its cheeky ‘n chunky looks have grown on me over the years. Starting with a stubby nose and naughty face, the upright posture with large windows leads to a tiny overhang and clean rear end.
New one above, old one below
The new SX4 is longer (+165mm), wider (+10mm) and lower (-30mm) so its overall shape resembles a small SUV (think Qashqai, ix35) instead of the hatchback-on-steroids look its predecessor aced. It retains the chunky black plastic cladding but its drooping face and swooping bum took me a while to appreciate.
New SX4 above, previous model below
What anyone will certainly appreciate is that the more generous dimensions have given new SX4 some much-needed space. The old one’s boot capitulated at just 252L but this one can take up to 430L. Extending the wheel base from 2,5 to 2,6m improved leg room and maximum cargo capacity (up 277 to 1,269L).
2014 model above, 2010 model below
The previous SX4 had a more upright seating position so head room with the new car’s more reclined furniture seems unchanged. Cabin materials and layout appear more premium although I can report that our four-year-old example is yet to develop anything close to a rattle or problem in its functional and simply laid out cockpit.
Mmm, tough one, this. Part of the reason we signed under the dotted line was that the old SX4 with its quasi off-road suspension and 60-series tyres was so forgiving in the damping department. This newbie, however, manages to pull off the same trick with lower profile rubber in most models. Impressive.
New (above) vs old (below) SX4 cabins
The new seats are more car-like which also means the old one’s arm rests have vanished; although Suzuki provides a decent central cubby hole for weary elbows. And thanks to generous specifications, you still get keyless start, cruise control, as well as automatic climate control as standard.
Needless to say, SX4 has moved with the times and trumps its ancestor with gadgets like Bluetooth, automatic headlights and a USB port. All models have alloy wheels, power windows and mirrors, keyless access, multi-function steering wheel, roof rails, plenty of driver aids and seven airbags.
We left this category for last because we’re cowards and didn’t know how to tell you that the new SX4 has suffered a significant power loss. Going from the older 2-litre model to this 1.6-litre four cylinder petrol means that peak outputs have dropped from 112kW (152hp) and 190Nm to 86kW (117hp) and 156Nm.
New SX4 dashboard above, old SX4 instrument cluster below
The upside of this change is reduced fuel consumption which Suzuki quotes at 6.2L/100km for this GLX Allgrip model. Our old one is supposed to do 7.8L/100km but often tilts two figures, which made our test car’s average of 7 flat even more impressive. The new SX4 is much, much more fuel efficient.
It may seem odd that this new car only comes with a five-speed manual gearbox (seven-speed CVT also available) but we quickly noticed that this engine needs mid to high revs for best performance. A gear change indicator helps with economical driving while full throttle saw 100km/h come up in 11.4 seconds.
Throughout its life, the old SX4 was plagued by a small boot and pitiful range. Suzuki addressed its size and even reduced the fuel tank to 47L because this new car uses considerably less petrol. Modern features and design give the newcomer a polished feel, although some testers disliked the electric power steering feel.
Priced at N$319,900 with a 3-year/100,000km warranty and 3-year/90,000km service plan, this Suzuki SX4 1.6 GLX AllGrip has addressed most of its predecessor’s shortcomings. It’s just a pity that the car’s newfound economy has come at the cost of decent performance.
Performance (new model)
0-10km/h: 0.39 seconds
0-20km/h: 1.14 seconds
0-30km/h: 1.95 seconds
0-40km/h: 2.73 seconds
0-50km/h: 3.75 seconds
0-60km/h: 5.07 seconds
0-70km/h: 6.26 seconds
0-80km/h: 7.54 seconds
0-90km/h: 9.45 seconds
0-100km/h: 11.36 seconds
0-110km/h: 13.54 seconds
0-120km/h: 15.86 seconds
0-130km/h: 19.25 seconds
0-140km/h: 23.97 seconds
0-100m: 7.60 seconds @ 80.74km/h
0-200m: 11.57 seconds @ 100.97km/h
0-300m: 14.89 seconds @ 115.86km/h
0-400m: 17.84 seconds @ 127.49km/h
Maximum acceleration G-force: 0.82G
All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box