2010 Suzuki SX4

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2010 Suzuki SX4. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    26-28 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    150-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Sporty-yet-supple suspension tuning
  • Front and rear headroom
  • Six standard airbags
  • Standard features for price
  • Low-price AWD (Crossover)

The Bad

  • Fuel economy
  • Some roughly finished cabin pieces
  • Flimsy front trunk wall
  • A-pillar limits visibility

Notable Features of the 2010 Suzuki SX4

  • Sedan or hatchback
  • FWD or AWD
  • Manual or automatic
  • Optional stability system
  • Optional keyless start
  • New SportBack model

2010 Suzuki SX4 Road Test

Kelsey Mays
Suzuki's SX4 has a sense of urban nimbleness that makes even its sportiest competitors seem hefty in comparison, but there are a lot of nagging issues weighing the car down. Some city drivers may still come away smitten, but for many others the SX4 will get lost in the compact-car shuffle.

Suzuki introduced the SX4 for the 2007 model year as an all-wheel-drive hatchback. A front-wheel-drive hatch and sedan have since been introduced — there's no all-wheel-drive sedan — and the car received some modest updates for 2010. The sedan comes as an SX4 Sedan and an SX4 Sport, with sub-trims within each. I drove a well-equipped SX4 Sport.

Plain (Petite) Jane
Shop the competition, and the first thing you'll notice about the SX4 is its diminutive size. A family friend who owns a Honda Fit said my test car looked tiny. Technically, it isn't: The SX4 has roughly the same footprint as cars like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but its height — 60.8 inches — is tall for this class, and that gives it a stubby, thin appearance. A benefit of that is the SX4's tall windows, which translates into excellent sight lines all around. That — and the car's relatively impressive 34.8-foot turning circle — makes this car great for city driving. At my North Chicago condo, I have to thread cars down a back alley to park in my garage. The SX4? Piece o' cake.

As cakes come, though, it's a bland one. Elements from the headlights ...

Suzuki's SX4 has a sense of urban nimbleness that makes even its sportiest competitors seem hefty in comparison, but there are a lot of nagging issues weighing the car down. Some city drivers may still come away smitten, but for many others the SX4 will get lost in the compact-car shuffle.

Suzuki introduced the SX4 for the 2007 model year as an all-wheel-drive hatchback. A front-wheel-drive hatch and sedan have since been introduced — there's no all-wheel-drive sedan — and the car received some modest updates for 2010. The sedan comes as an SX4 Sedan and an SX4 Sport, with sub-trims within each. I drove a well-equipped SX4 Sport.

Plain (Petite) Jane
Shop the competition, and the first thing you'll notice about the SX4 is its diminutive size. A family friend who owns a Honda Fit said my test car looked tiny. Technically, it isn't: The SX4 has roughly the same footprint as cars like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but its height — 60.8 inches — is tall for this class, and that gives it a stubby, thin appearance. A benefit of that is the SX4's tall windows, which translates into excellent sight lines all around. That — and the car's relatively impressive 34.8-foot turning circle — makes this car great for city driving. At my North Chicago condo, I have to thread cars down a back alley to park in my garage. The SX4? Piece o' cake.

As cakes come, though, it's a bland one. Elements from the headlights to the fenders fit a cohesive styling theme, but that theme seems to be "forgettable design." This doesn't necessarily spell doom for the SX4: Toyota has struck automotive vanilla with the new Corolla, but that hasn't stopped droves of shoppers from choosing it.

Basic Power
This year's four-cylinder engine gains some guts — it makes 150 horsepower, up from last year's 143 — and it works through either a stick shift or a new continuously variable automatic transmission. The CVT is far from my favorite: Dig into the gas, and it takes too long to get power in return. At least when you get there it has ample acceleration, though the engine doesn't sound refined in the process.

The transmission's sluggishness doesn't hurt as much around town, but on a few occasions another editor and I noticed it seemed to disengage when coming to a stop. Our test car was a preproduction model, so it's possible the stopping issue has since been resolved, but keep an eye out for it on your test drive.

Speaking of stopping, my test car's four-wheel-disc antilock brakes delivered exceptional performance. The brake pedal operates in a linear fashion, and with a little practice it's easy to fine-tune your deceleration. All SX4s get standard antilock brakes, though lesser models have rear drum brakes.

The EPA pegs combined mileage at 28 mpg for the SX4 Sedan and 26 mpg for the SX4 Sport, both with the CVT. That's an increase of 1 to 2 mpg over last year's four-speed automatic. In my Sport tester, another editor and I managed 27.5 mpg in a week of city and highway driving. The stick shift's rating rounds to 26 mpg overall in both the Sedan and Sport, though their highway rating is slightly different (23/33 mpg in the Sedan, 23/32 mpg in the Sport). It's unclear why Sport models get worse mileage than the Sedan, and Suzuki spokesman David Boldt says the automaker is still finalizing all the press details for 2010. Either way, those mileage figures are on the lower side in the SX4's segment. The Civic, for example, gets 12 percent better mileage overall.

Combined City/Highway Mileage (mpg)*
AutomaticManual
Toyota Corolla 1.8L2930
Kia Forte 2.0L28-3028
Honda Civic 1.8L2929
Hyundai Elantra 2.0L2929
Nissan Sentra 2.0L2927
Ford Focus 2.0L2828
Chevrolet Cobalt 2.2L2729-30
Mazda3 2.0L2728
Suzuki SX4 2.0L26-2826
Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0L2625
*Base engines and sedan versions of 2010 models; ranges account for various mechanical differences — i.e., the SX4 is rated differently depending on trim, and the Forte offers a four- or five-speed automatic. All cars listed use regular (87-octane) fuel.
Source: EPA data

Ride & Handling
It's a good thing that the SX4 handles better than it looks. It's as nimble as the pros in this class — we're talking the likes of a Lancer, Mazda3 or Focus. The steering wheel requires a bit more effort to turn than many, but it delivers excellent turn-in precision and good feedback. It also returns naturally to 12 o'clock and stays there on the highway. The Civic's steering wheel feels more secure at high speeds, but for a car that seems susceptible to crosswinds, the SX4 doesn't wander off course like I'd expect it to. My SX4 Sport's sport-tuned suspension kept body roll nicely in check, too.

Sadly, good handling does lead to a rather undisciplined ride. The suspension cushions major bumps well enough, and it keeps the wheels connected with the road over rough patches. But smaller imperfections are your constant companion in this car: Over long stretches of less-than-smooth highway, my tester settled into a rhythm of up/down motions. We've complained of the same proclivities in crossovers like the Honda CR-V and, to a lesser extent, the Toyota RAV4. No matter where it happens, it gets old fast.

The Inside
Though the SX4's interior was on par with the competition a few years ago, Suzuki has since been leapfrogged. There are some highs: My test car's backlit gauges and silver dashboard accents looked sharp, and most controls operate with high-rent precision. But major areas you regularly come in contact with, like the door panels, are shod in hard, cheap-looking plastics. The steering wheel in my tester had unsightly gaps between the spokes and hub. The headliner is a mess of cut-rate mouse fur, and the narrow doors feel unsubstantial when slammed. The Civic and Hyundai Elantra feel a cut above; the Mazda3 and Volkswagen Jetta are in another league altogether.

Don't care so much about aesthetics? Well, there are functional issues, too. At 5-foot-11, I would liked it if the driver's seat could move back by a few more inches for a comfortable distance to the pedals. My legs were crammed too close. With the seat all the way back, I also wanted the steering wheel within closer reach, but it only has a tilt adjustment. The Civic and Corolla both include a telescoping adjustment. With the seat height cranked up to my tastes, I found the cushion angled too low for decent thigh support. In short, I just didn't fit — and I'm no NBA player. (Truth be told, I'd be hard-pressed to complete a decent layup.)

At least headroom in both rows is good. Really good, actually — one benefit of such a tall car. Legroom in the backseat is limited, even for a compact car; if you regularly need to carry adults, consider a competitor like the Kia Forte. Cargo space in back is 15.5 cubic feet, according to Suzuki, but that's a figure I have a hard time reconciling: The trunk is large for this class, but 15.5 cubic feet is more space than many midsize cars offer. The original '08 SX4 sedan listed 14.3 cubic feet of cargo room, which is a far more believable figure — and there haven't been any changes, other than the addition of a folding backseat, to explain the increase. We're still waiting for word from Suzuki.

Safety, Reliability & Pricing
In crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the SX4 earned the top rating, Good, for front and side impacts. Rear crash protection — arguably less significant than front or side protection — is rated Marginal, keeping the SX4 from IIHS Top Safety Pick status. Standard safety features include six airbags and antilock brakes; an electronic stability system is optional.

Reliability ratings for the SX4 are strong; Consumer Reports surveys have rated the car Much Better Than Average, its top score, since the SX4's inception. Equally impressive is Suzuki's seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The automaker has yet to release pricing for the 2010 SX4 , but 2009 sedans ranged from $13,299 to about $19,000 for a loaded SX4 Sport. That's a relative bargain for this class. On the features front, technology trumps luxury: Leather upholstery, heated seats and a moonroof were unavailable for the '09, but top trim levels included a navigation system, automatic climate control and a keyless access system. Base models, on the other hand, came stripped, including manual windows and no stereo. No doubt there will be some equipment and pricing shuffles for 2010, but they shouldn't be too drastic.

SX4 in the Market
Certain buyers may still find the SX4 suits them well, and there are no red flags on the reliability or safety fronts to caution otherwise. But the car has been leapfrogged by its competitors — in gas mileage, interior quality, ride comfort and more. It still has some neat tricks, but for all the compromises, the SX4's charm is wearing thin.

Send Kelsey an email 



2010 SX4 Video

Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2010 Suzuki SX4. It competes with the Toyota Corolla and Mazda Mazda3.

Latest 2010 SX4 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.1)
Performance
(3.9)
Interior Design
(4.0)
Comfort
(4.0)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(4.0)

Very Reliable Gas efficient car

by dmncutcheon on May 19, 2018

I really love the way my suzuki handles. Also, Its a very reliable car with great gas mileage. I have no issues with it in the years I have owned it, even as the miles are starting to get rather high.... Read full review

(5.0)

excellent

by cheintze from monument,co on August 18, 2017

great car for commuting or just around town trips the mileage is great and I found this one with under 28K miles... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Suzuki SX4 currently has 5 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2010 Suzuki SX4 has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The SX4 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker