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Suzuki SX4 2007 review

Rear legroom also continues to be generous for this size sedan and there are three child restraint anchor points in the back

Suzuki has halved its drivetrain and added a boot to give its SX4 small car a sales lift.

The SX4 all-wheel-drive hatch was launched here in January as a small car with youthful and aggressive attitude.

Now Suzuki is looking to broaden its appeal with the addition of a sedan and a substantial drop in price to a sub-$20,000 starting price.

The AWD SX4, which attracted only 5 per cent import duty because of its clearance and all-wheel drive, costs $24,390 for the manual and $2000 more for the auto.

Now, despite attracting import duty of 10 per cent, Suzuki has saved enough on the less complicated drivetrain to offer the five-speed manual SX4 hatch and sedan for the same price of $19,990 in GLX base trim.

The better-equipped S trim level adds $3000 and the four-speed auto is an extra $2000. There is no price premium for the sedan right across the range.

Suzuki Auto Co general manager Keith Carroll said the SX4 had been a success, representing about 10 per cent of sales, but the addition of two-wheel drive and a sedan option would further increase its share.

“We would expect that SX4 will be about 12-14 per cent of our total sales this year,” he said.

“It will add to the younger end of the market because of the price, but with the boot we have a car that will appeal to either end of the age range.”

With lower clearance than the AWD SX4, the tidy small car looks neater and less gawky. While the AWD SX4 sits 200mm off the ground, the hatch is 175mm and the sedan lower still at 165mm.

However, older drivers attracted to the higher hip entry point of the AWD SX4 will still find the hatch and sedan easy to access because of their generous roof height.

The sedan variant has a massive boot for this class of car with little intrusion from the torsion beam rear suspension, a flat and serviceable cargo floor, wide and low access, but a temporary spare under the floor.

Rear legroom also continues to be generous for this size sedan and there are three child restraint anchor points in the back.

Carroll predicts they will sell about 840 SX4s in Queensland this year with 640 of those being hatches.

Standard features are airconditioning, electronic power steering, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, eight speaker sound system with MP3 capability, electric windows, power door locks, and remote key entry and locking.

On the safety side they get dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake pedal assistance and a four-star Euro NCAP safety rating that includes pedestrian safety.

The S adds leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, smart key entry, fog lights and side curtain airbags that go back to the rear seat.

While the Suzuki's top-selling Swift Sport now gets electronic stability program (ESP) thrown in for no extra cost, the SX4 goes without this vital safety feature.

Carroll said if ESP became available on the vehicle, it would be offered.

“I would be hopeful that if we get it, it would be at a similar price,” he said.

The chassis and suspension were re-tuned for the front-wheel-drive version, but the engine remains the same with peak power of 107kW at 5800rpm and maximum torque of 184Nm at 3500rpm.

Suzuki service manager Mike Turner described the powerplant as 'bulletproof.'

“Amazing but true. In Australia, we have never had a mechanical failure of this engine assembly,” he said.

“This engine, with very few changes and the addition of a turbo charger, will power Suzuki's SX4 World Rally Car, due to make its debut later on this year.”

Queensland's Suzuki importer, Suzuki Auto Co, this year expects to sell four times the number of vehicles it did three years ago.

Their sales to the end of July were 5026, compared with 3970 for the same period last year.

“That means we now are tracking more than 1000 vehicles ahead of last year,” Carroll said.

Internationally, Suzuki would increase its 'fire power' by building new plants, he said.

“There are new plants underway in Hamamatsu and even Russia where a plant is being built in St Petersburg.

“The Russian plant is scheduled to come on stream in late 2009... They will boost our ammunition significantly and allow us to sell more than 3 million cars a year in 2010 . . . which will give us five per cent of the world market.”

Pricing Guides

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Range and Specs

(base) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,100 – 6,990 2007 Suzuki SX4 2007 (base) Pricing and Specs
4x4 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,999 – 9,999 2007 Suzuki SX4 2007 4x4 Pricing and Specs
S 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $5,985 – 8,999 2007 Suzuki SX4 2007 S Pricing and Specs
(base) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,100 – 6,990 2007 Suzuki SX4 2007 (base) Pricing and Specs