Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:46 PM
Robust and versatile.
Two words that spring to mind when I am confronted by the Suzuki SX4 DDiS, the 4×4 hatchback. A switch allows the driver to select between two- and four-wheel drive, which is useful in this day and age of increasingly expensive fuel.
Vehicles are always more efficient when in two-wheel drive and this is great for typical day-to-day use. Four-wheel drive is ideal for challenging winter conditions or the occasional bit of off-roading. Being able to switch between the two while you’re driving is really useful. Compare this to a Land Rover 90 where you have to be stationary to perform this move and I am already impressed.
Interestingly when my first daughter Harriett was born in February 2011, the petrol SX4 was the first vehicle she experienced when I drove her home from hospital. When my second daughter Heidi was born a day before Harriett in the same month, she too was driven home from hospital in an SX4 but this time a diesel version.
I like Suzuki vehicles in the same way that I appreciate Land Rovers. They both have an excellent no messing about reputation and can be relied upon in most circumstances.
The test takes place in high winds and when I manoeuvre into the outside lane of the motorway there is an unsettling banging from the roof, which does make me question what it is for a moment. I am sure it is the flexible roof mounted radio aerial – and although this has not happened to me in any other vehicle – I plough on regardless – my second daughter needs to see her father and vice versa. Arriving at the hospital my opinion of the aerial seems to be correct. I suggest this should be removed and the aerial fitted somewhere else on the vehicle.
Inside, the black plastic interior is no doubt hardwearing and although the seats are reasonably comfortable there is little inspiration as you can see from the video at testdrives.biz.
No matter how hard I try, I cannot find my favourite radio station but the steering wheel mounted cruise control is easy to use. There is a raised driving position when compared to a standard hatchback and this gives a more commanding view of the road. I actually prefer this two-litre diesel engine to the 1.6-litre petrol I tested previously for two reasons. First, it is pretty gutsy and second it delivers much better fuel economy, although it is much more expensive to purchase than the petrol version. On the motorway it is noisy but consistently delivers over 50mpg.
Parkers, the car experts, say: “The Suzuki SX4 is a bit of an oddity. It’s a five-door hatchback, similar to the Suzuki Swift, but it comes with a chunky off-roader look and is available with four-wheel drive. The result is a slightly quirky cross between the two but it’s also a success. It’s practical and roomy inside, very comfortable on the move and handles well too with positive steering and an agile nature. At this price level, the Suzuki comes into conflict with too many far more talented crossovers and SUVs, such as the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti.”
The boot is a good size and there is room inside for five adults, all of which makes for good family transport.
Suzuki SX4 DDiS
New price range: £12,595 – £17,699
Engine: 2-litre diesel
Economy: over 50mpg
By Tim Saunders