Monday, February 22, 2016

Used Car Review - Suzuki SX4 (2008-2015)

In a lazy Monday like this, Myk Belmonte features a not-so-popular nameplate around.

2008-2015 Suzuki SX4

Suzuki has a history of vehicles which were produced for other manufacturers and vice versa, most of them are from General Motors that are sold anywhere else in the world. Other OEM deals are arranged with their fellow Japanese manufacturers which includes Mazda, Nissan (both in Japan), Mitsubishi (Indonesia), and Subaru (Europe).

If there is one vehicle in their stable that is sold as a Fiat, this is it. First launched as a hatchback in 2006 for the European market, the SX4 (an abbreviation of Sports X-Over 4 all seasons) can be had in either front or 4x4 drivetrain and a sedan, a replacement for the Aero/Liana and Forenza range in several markets. This one follows the mold of the Jimny and Vitara, vehicles that had defined Suzuki in a segment.

An addition to the passenger car portfolio of Suzuki, the SX4 arrived first in sedan guise with a hatchback followed that coincided with an update. The sedan was never a huge seller, so it was no surprise that it was dropped in 2011; the hatchback officially ended sales in 2015, marking the end of the SX4 range. Post 2010 models are called as the Aero for sedan models and Crossover for hatchback variants.

Value and Costs
Planing to set your eyes on the SX4 as your next car? Then here is a good news, prices range between P300,000 to P570,000 and that is for both sedan and hatchback models. To be honest, the sedan is surrounded by competitors that are much better in every aspect and costs cheap to keep while the hatchback is a better buy if you want this nameplate, simply because only a few rivals exist in this category.

Since this vehicle isn't much common in the market, no common problems were reported by owners so expect this vehicle to be reliable. One disadvantage that you must be prepared is cost of parts, as Suzukis are known for expensive spare parts.

Exterior and Interior
Styling per body style differ, so let us discuss them in detail for each one. Going with the sedan will give you a tall boy look but the roofline is awkward at best plus the standard 15 inch wheels for the earlier models contribute to a somewhat dinky look, this was rectified when it was upgraded and a rear spoiler was also added. Going for the hatchback treats you to something less off-looking plus roof rails comes standard.

Going inside will reveal something opposite of a true-blue Japanese CBU, cheap interior finish plus control switches that one snap you will feel it will give up. Otherwise, interior room is akin to an MPV and all models get a 60/40 fold rear seat as standard. Other good stuffs that come standard include a thick leather steering wheel with audio controls and large gauge instrumental reading.

Throughout selling life, only one engine exist: a M16A 1.6 carrying 102hp at 5,500rpm for 2008 to early 2010 models or 110hp at 5,600rpm for later releases and torque pegged at 145Nm at 4,200rpm for early variants or 150Nm at 3,800rpm if you are aiming for a later unit. Steer clear of the 102hp 1.6 especially that it struggles at weight plus engine sound is wheezy, at least it is well planted but you'll need to push hard. Choosing the 110hp 1.6 rewards you a much better driving experience plus the feeling of heaviness is nowhere to be found.

Driving Impressions
One advantage of this compact is a driving feel that is comfortable at best, especially it does not transmit any road imperfections and the suspension glides well, plus the tires that come standard is biased towards comfort. Drivers will receive a taller-than-average seating position, which is a good thing coupled with large windows.

This vehicle will either make you go or avoid buying this one for a variety of reasons. The sedan is a choice if you want something that is not common and love cruising more, but we pick the hatchback since it is the practical all-rounder. Life is a compromise so choose wisely.

The Good:
  • Upright driving position
  • Practical hatchback configuration
  • Airy interior cabin
The Bad:
  • Early models struggling engine
  • Interior quality isn't the best
  • Expensive maintenance costs 
The Pick: Crossover

Engine: 1,586cc M16A I4 gasoline
Power: 102hp @ 5,500rpm (2008-2010), 110hp @ 5,600rpm (2010-2015)
Torque: 145Nm @ 4,200rpm (2008-2010), 150Nm @ 3,800rpm (2010-2015)
Fuel Consumption: 8-10km/L (city), 11-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear torsion beam

Price (New): P814,000-P899,000
Price (Now): P300,000-P570,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Optra, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla Altis (Sedan/Aero); Ford Focus, Hyundai i30, Kia Soul, Mazda 3 (Crossover)
On Sale: 2008-2011 (Sedan/Aero), 2010-2015 (Crossover)

Suzuki E. Rodriguez - (02) 726-2709

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