Short Take Road Test: 2008 Suzuki SX4 Sport
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2012.
By Aaron Robinson of Car and Driver
Steerage class has suffered a bad rep ever since the Titanic sailed. But if you're prowling the lower decks of the new-car market, at least one company thinks you shouldn't have to curb your enthusiasm.
Neither tinny, tippy, nor asthmatic, the 2008 Suzuki SX4 Sport starts undoing expectations at a base price of $15,395. Corollas, Civics, and Mazda 3s are strippers at this price. Hyundais and Kias are no match for the SX4's firmer suspension tune, quicker steering, tighter shifter, and more abundant fun.
The front-drive SX4 Sport, a sedan spin-off of the SX4 all-wheel-drive hatchback, is a true Suzuki, not a Korean-made pretender like the Daewoo-sourced Forenza and Reno. The genetic ties are to the plucky Swift hatchback, a hit in hot-hatch-crazy Europe. The SX4's standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels inside 205/50 V-rated Dunlop SP7000 Sport tires. A/C, ABS, curtain airbags, power windows, and remote entry are also baked into the base price. The SX4's options include a $500 convenience pack of cruise, auto climate control, and leather-wrapped wheel.
The SX4 Sport comes sporty only. It's solid-feeling on the road and notably refined inside, the low-gloss plastics and metal-like trim giving a deluxe feel. Aside from owing its shape to a British bowler hat (and supplying enough headroom for a Texan 10-gallon hat), the SX4 has only one potentially deal-busting flaw: The back seats don't fold. Suzuki opted to plug the tunnel with chassis braces for body rigidity. At least the trunk gets 15 big cubic feet, and the inert rear seatback is pitched at a comfortable 27 degrees with lots of knee- and legroom.
The SX4 ran the skidpad at 0.83 g and stopped from 70 mph in 174 feet. It pulled five successive stops without breaking 180 feet, better than decent performance in this dollar class. Acceleration takes slightly more patience, the 143 horsepower of the 2.0-liter twin-cam four carrying this Sport's 2762 pounds to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds. The lighter Honda Fit does it quicker, but with no more driving satisfaction.
A leap forward for the brand, the SX4 Sport upgrades Suzuki to well above the water line.
C/D TEST RESULTS: