Suzuki SX4: The Ultimate Compact AWD?
Channel Staff - 25/Jan/2007
Powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine,
the SX4 also gets a tri-mode 4x4 system
The design of the SX4 has European
flair to it, with bold front end styling
The cabin gets a powerful 8-speaker CD
stereo with MP3 playback and 6 airbags
Melbourne, Australia — Hot on the heels of the successful Swift and Swift Sport models, Suzuki
Australia today launched it's next new compact model, the SX4. The new
car will go on sale here on February the 1st, after it's local
unveiling at the Brisbane Motor Show.
Bigger than the Swift
models, but not as large as the Vitara, Suzuki is predicting a surge in
sales based on a number of factors. The car is a 4WD vehicle, which are
still proving popular in today's new car markets, and the entry level
model fetches $24,390, which is very cheap.
has 200mm of
ground clearance, which should give the ability to cut across some
basic 4WD tracks without getting snagged, and is powered by
a 107kW 2.0-litre engine. Both manual and automatic gearboxes will be
offered as well.
The new built-in-Japan Suzuki SX4 is not as big
as the Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Forester, and it's closest competitors are
small cars like the AWD Subaru Impreza sports wagon.
As the third model in Suzuki's current new car strategy, the Japanese company says the
SX4 successfully combines the sporty compact car
innovation of the Swift and the strong 4WD tradition of the Grand
Vitara to create Suzuki's first 'sports cross-over vehicle'.
overseas in 2006, the SX4 has blown apart sales forecasts, proving very
popular, where Suzuki reports that close to 20,000 units were sold
in less than a year, following positive media reviews and road
tests in Europe and North America.
to Suzuki, the
SX4 was created for those who enjoy an active lifestyle, and is
consistent with Suzuki’s "Way of Life" brand philosophy. It
asserts that the SX4's strength lies in its dynamic cross-over design
and versatile driving capabilities, which gives the owner the
flexibility and capabilities of 4WD with the benefits of a fuel
efficient passenger car.
one model will initially be offered in Australia from the 1st of
February 2007, priced at $24,390 for 5-speed manual model and
$26,390 for the automatic version. Currently there is model shortage
and supply may not meet demand in Australia during its first few
months on sale, but is expected to equalise when new production
facilities open in Japan later in the year.
"The Suzuki SX4 is the perfect combination of design, attention to
engineering detail and practicality, it is an exceptional car and we
are confident it will be a huge success in Australia as it has already
proven overseas," stated Suzuki's Australian chief, Takeshi
"We believe the broad appeal of the SX4 will attract interest from
couples and young families around Australia, and translate into 2,000
units sold this year in 2007," added Hayasaki.
to Suzuki the SX4 continues the recent trend of European inspired
styling, and Suzuki even flew its design team to Italy (where the
car is badged as the Fiat Seidieci) for styling cues from
various design studios, and the inclusion of roof rails adds
functionality to the vehicle, as do protective wheel arch
mouldings. The body is relatively
wide at 1,755mm and Suzuki lists the car as a 5-seater.
Priced at below $25,000, and featuring a three-mode
4WD system similar to those seen on Nissan 4x4s, the SX4 gets a strong
standard features list, which is led by a
keyless security system. In essence, drivers don't even have to push a
button to unlock the doors or even start the engine, because a
small transmitter is built-in to the ignition key which unlocks
the car's security systems when the driver approaches.
The following features are also included as standard on Australian models:
Climate control air conditioning
8-speaker CD stereo, MP3 compatible
Steering wheel mounted audio control
Front fog lamps
16-inch alloy wheels
ABS brakes (with EBD)
well as ABS, the SX4 also gets more airbags than most $25,000
cars, six in total: two front, two side and two curtain airbags.The
safety features in place for occupant protection were recently
recognised with the SX4 receiving a EURO NCAP rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
new car has 270 litres of boot space, which rises to 625 litres
when the seats are tumbled forward, which isn't class leading unlike
much of the cars other features. A range of other storage solutions
have also been included, such as front and rear cup
holders, seatback pockets, front door pockets and a tray under the
Suzuki explains the SX4 is equipped with it's J20A engine, used in previous Suzuki
models. The engine has been subjected to extensive development says the Japanese marque, and is
now equipped with the company's Intake Manifold Tuning system that helps to deliver
greater power across a broader rev range. With this new intake system,
the power has been increased from a base of 96kW @ 6000rpm to 107kW
types include the 5-speed manual transmission, which is the standard
'box, while a 4-speed automatic transmission can be had for an extra
$2,000 over the base price.
of ground clearance and a dedicated AWD system, the SX4 was
developed from the outset to be off-road vehicle: Suzuki claims that
the SX4 was not a
vehicle to which a 4x4 system was simply added later.
i-AWD, which stands for "intelligent All Wheel Drive", Suzuki explains
that the SX4's 4WD system is a switch operated three mode 4x4
system, featuring 2WD, 4WD Auto and 4WD
Lock. The switch for the tri-mode system is located next the hand brake
on the transmission tunnel.
2WD – Only the front
wheels provide the drive in this mode, which saves fuel and is best for normal driving conditions on dry
– This the 'default' drive mode for the SX4, and almost all
the engine power goes to the front wheels. Power going to the rear
is automatically increased or decreased to match traction requirements,
and is practical in wet weather conditions or unsealed roads.
Lock – Lock mode provides "ample torque" to rear wheels from start up for
effective escapes in low traction conditions such as mud or snow. The
system automatically switches over to, and remains in 4WD Auto, at
speeds over 60 km/h so the axles don't get damaged when cornering.
"intelligent" 4WD controller constantly
monitors driving conditions in order to deliver the most efficient
division of power explains Suzuki, stating that the key delivery
component is the EMCD, which is an
electronically controlled wet-type multi-plate clutch coupling, in
which the degree of magnetic clutch action is modulated to match
traction needs (the coupling is regulated with an electrical
current alternating between the two and four wheels drive modes). This
means that if the front wheels begin to slip or spin, power can be
directed to the rear wheels to regain traction.
Suzuki has bestowed the SX4 chassis with a similar front suspension structure to the Suzuki Swift, which uses an independent
MacPherson strut system. The rear suspension is a torsion
beam set up.
on the current and predicted success of the new SX4 model, Suzuki is
working to expand the SX4 range, which could include an even more
cost-effective model with a simpler 4WD system and a smaller
engine, possibly even a diesel.
- Suzuki Swift Sport (Road Test)
- Suzuki Grand Vitara (Road Test)
- Suzuki XL7