What Changed for 2009:
- Navigation system now standard on all SX4 Crossover models
- Front-drive SX4 Crossover is only car in its class with standard navigation
- Electronic Stability Program standard on all 2009 SX4 Crossovers
- Option packages revised
- Available in front- or all-wheel drive (FWD or AWD)
Built in Japan, the SX4 Crossover made its debut in 2007 as a replacement for Suzuki's subcompact Aerio. The small 5-door, 5-passenger hatchback SX4 Crossover has the distinction of being the least-expensive car on the U.S. market with AWD, according to Suzuki. For 2008, a sedan version, called the SX4 Sport, replaced the Aerio sedan. The SX4 Sport features a lowered suspension, \"aero\" body kit and FWD. It shares the SX4 Crossover's 143-hp, 2.0-liter engine. The SX4 Sport and new entry-level Sedan are reviewed separately.
Suzuki worked with Italdesign, the famed Italian design organization, to create the SX4 Crossover. Their finished product exhibits a wedge profile with a low, rising beltline and triangular windows adjacent to windshield pillars. Front and rear bumper cover plates are silver-color; fender flare moldings are black. Roof rails are installed. Wide door openings ease access, while raised \"theater-style\" seating adds to the roomy feeling. Rear-seat occupants get nearly 36 inches of leg room and more than 37 inches of head room. Luggage space of 10 cubic feet grows to 54 cubic feet when the standard 60/40-split rear seats are folded down. Those seats also can tumble forward. On the SX4 dashboard, gauges appear to \"float\" when backlit by high-tech red lighting, according to Suzuki.
For 2009, the SX4 Crossover comes with a standard navigation system, making the FWD version the only vehicle in the under-$16,000 price class to include such a feature. Suzuki promotes the \"international flavor\" of the SX4 Crossover, with its sporty chassis tuning. In fact, the SX4 Crossover provides the platform for Suzuki's World Rally Championship (WRC) effort in motorsports.
There are three different models of the 2009 Suzuki SX4: Sport 4-door sedan, Crossover 5-door hatchback, and the new entry-level Sedan LE, Standard equipment for the Sport and Crossover is nearly identical: power windows, mirrors and locks; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; CD/MP3 player; tilt steering wheel; 16-inch alloy wheels (versus 17-inch for the SX4 Sport sedan); trip computer; six air bags; and anti-lock brakes. For 2009, Suzuki's navigation system is standard in FWD Crossover models. A Technology package adds cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls, and an upgraded navigation system. Offered only on AWD models, the Touring package adds automatic climate control, SmartPass keyless entry and keyless ignition, heated mirrors, 9-speaker stereo (including subwoofer) with 6-disc CD changer, and heated front seats. Touring-package models also feature a rear spoiler, fog lamps and aluminum-color roof rails. An iPod interface is available as an accessory. More than 50 Suzuki accessories are available for personalization.
All variants of the 2009 Suzuki SX4 are powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with dual-overhead camshafts. It is rated at 143 hp at 6000 rpm and 136 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm. The engine has an aluminum cylinder block and head, and a forged steel crankshaft. Transmission choices are a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. The SX4 Sport sedan features FWD, while the SX4 Crossover offers a choice between FWD or AWD. EPA fuel-economy estimates for the front-drive SX4 Crossover are 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway with the automatic. With AWD, the EPA estimates dip to 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway for both manual and automatic versions.
Suzuki's 3-mode Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive (I-AWD) system uses an electronically controlled coupeing device ahead of the rear differential. \"2WD\" mode dedicates power to front wheels. In \"AWD Auto\" mode, up to 50 percent of torque is automatically apportioned to back wheels when pronounced front-wheel slippage is detected. \"AWD Lock\" sends 30 to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels for peak traction in slippery conditions. The system automatically switches from AWD Lock to AWD Auto mode at speeds above 36 mph.
Each 2009 Suzuki SX4 comes standard with front air bags, front-seat-mounted side air bags, and two-row side curtain air bags, as well as 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock control and electronic brake-force distribution. Daytime running lights and a tire-pressure monitor are standard. Suzuki's Electronic Stability Program (ESP) also is standard on the SX4 Crossover. Combined with traction control, ESP can enhance stability while cornering and under slippery conditions, Suzuki says. Front 3-point seat belts include pre-tensioners. ISO FIX-compliant child-seat anchors are installed, and the LATCH system (Lower Anchor and Tethers for CHildren) is available for all three rear-seat positions.
In frontal crash-testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the SX4 earned a 4-star rating for both the driver and front passenger. Side-impact testing produced a 5-star rating (the Administration's highest rating) for the driver and 4 stars for the rear passenger. The SX4 earned a 4-star rating in the NHTSA's rollover evaluation. As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) had not yet crash-tested the SX4.
Suzuki calls its new navigation unit the TRIP (Travel, Real-time traffic, Information and Play) system. Developed in collaboration with Garmin, the fully integrated system uses Navteq mapping software and a removable flip-up 4.3-inch touch-screen display. Preloaded street maps feature millions of points-of-interest. Lifestyle-oriented destinations and landmarks are classified with a Suzuki \"Way of Life\" icon on the screen. An available Travel Guide expansion module adds Fodor reviews and recommendations of hotels, restaurants, shopping and attractions.
Also available is an upgraded TRIP system that offers Bluetooth hands-free calling technology, plus on-screen and audible text messaging. The enhanced TRIP system includes various MSN Direct-enabled features including real-time traffic, weather forecasts, news reports, stock quotes, event listings, and a gas station finder with price information.
Despite its moderate price, the Suzuki SX4 also offers high-tech features such as the SmartPass keyless entry and ignition system-each available as an option. This system uses a proximity key (actually a tiny transmitter) which remains in the driver's pocket or purse. The SmartPass system detects the presence of the key and allows the car to be unlocked and started completely hands-free.