Having a family of five makes everything in life just a little less convenient. No longer can we take the ubiquitous table for four, hotels ask us to spring for the adjoining room, and don't even get me started on amusement park rides and ski lifts. Buying a car is another one of the areas where family size limits my choices. Although a car has five seat belts, in reality, many of them fit only four humans comfortably. In a pinch, my family squeezes in for short distances, but serious fisticuffs will ensue if we go more than a few miles.
This is the case in the Suzuki SX4. The fifth seat (in the center rear position) barely accommodates the narrow bottom on my 8-year-old niece. I don't even try to squeeze in another child seat or my teenage son. That being said, the SX4 is surprising in so many other positive ways that I practically forget that my husband won't be included on any excursions, just so my teenager can sit in the front.
The Suzuki SX4 is in the crossover category because it includes AWD as a standard feature. An AWD button can be locked on, turned to 2WD or be switched into Auto AWD mode. Being able to keep the car in two-wheel drive when road conditions are optimal improves the fuel consumption, while having the ability to switch to AWD is something I really appreciate, especially living in a climate where the weather changes more frequently than my hair color.
The fuel economy is actually a little disappointing in the SX4. For its teeny tiny size, I was expecting it would average better than the 25 miles per gallon I calculated over two tanks of gas. Don't get me wrong, that is certainly decent fuel economy, but not as good as some other vehicles this size.
The hatchback design of the Suzuki SX4 is really cute and sporty, so I am taken aback when my neighbor asks me "do you remember the Pacer?" Unfortunately, I do remember the Pacer. If you don't, you should go type in "pacer" at Google images - it is worth a giggle. Some elements of the SX4 are Pacer-esque, but those elements are overwhelmingly positive, like large windows and a roomy feeling interior. I think the Suzuki SX4 is WAY more modern and cool than the Pacer ever was. So there.
While obviously not a luxury vehicle, the '07 Suzuki SX4 comes with all of the fundamental features I need. Standard equipment includes power windows, door locks and mirrors, an AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player, and air conditioning. The cargo space is also unexpected for such a small car. I put the 60/40 folding rear seats to the test by picking up my skis after having them tuned at the local shop. I flip and fold the smaller seat forward and slide my skis right through; they do not even encroach on my elbow space in the front seat. Success! Equally as exciting (apparently, I don't get out much), I make a stop at Costco to stock up on family essentials and find I can fit one million rolls of TP in the back without having to leave my kids on the corner holding a sign that reads "free to a good home".
The front seats are remarkably comfortable and the driving experience is downright (surprisingly) pleasant around town. However, when I get onto the freeway I feel a bit like Fred Flintstone, I want to put my feet down through the floor and push the car along. Yabba, Dabba, Do!
For day-to-day driving and utility, the SX4 is a great little car. The list of safety features is notable; ABS brakes, six airbags, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights, just to name a few. For anyone on a budget, the Suzuki SX4 is an impressive mix of key features for a very civilized price starting just under 15k.
*for more information on the Suzuki SX4 and its safety features visit Cars.com.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
LATCH Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Puny
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair - Ample
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Some
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