Future Models - Suzuki 2013 SX4
Geneva show: Suzuki’s SX4 hatch grows up
All grown up: Suzuki’s SX4 is more off-road friendly than the model it will replace.
A larger version of Suzuki’s SX4 SUV is ready for a dirty weekend
6 March 2013
SUZUKI’S next-generation Subaru XV-fighting SX4 hatchback appears to be less about the city and more about the great outdoors.
Unveiled overnight in Geneva, the all-new model that has evolved from the S-Cross concept unveiled in Paris last year includes a Land Rover-like dial on the centre console that allows the driver to lock the SX4 in one of four driving modes.
Longer, wider and taller than before, with a longer wheelbase and sporting much stronger soft-roader looks than the Swift hatchback-based model it will replace, the new SX4 will also offer either a petrol or diesel engine for the first time -- although whether the oil-burning four-pot makes its way to Australia is yet to be decided.
Suzuki Australia spokesman Andrew Ellis confirmed the diesel-engined SX4 is likely to be part of the car-maker’s plans for here, as well as spawning a raft of new models for the company.
However, one thing that has not been confirmed is where the new SX4 will be sourced from. Suzuki has announced that the soft-roader will be built in Hungary, potentially meaning the current Japanese-built SX4’s run will end.
The four-mode “Allgrip” system for all-wheel-drive versions of the SX4 is an advanced form of the three-mode i-AWD system developed for the original soft-roader.
The new one now include an automatic setting that maximises fuel economy, a sport mode that optimises cornering performance, and a snow mode that pushes more torque to the rear wheels.
Under the bonnet, the new-generation SX4 dispenses with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that has served the current generation, and instead replaces it with a 1.6-litre petrol or turbo-diesel powerplant.
However, the downsized engine also means downsized performance, with the new 88kW/156Nm petrol engine falling well short of the 2.0-litre’s 112kW/190Nm output.
A better choice, on paper at least, should be the 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine. It also pumps out a meagre 88kW, but torque jumps to a more meaty 320Nm from not far off idle.
Once again, a front-wheel-drive only model is likely to be the fuel economy leader, with the diesel mated to a five-speed manual gearbox producing 110 grams per kilometre compared with 115g/km for the all-paw model fitted with the manual.
This compares with 125g/km for the petrol version of the SX4 fitted with either the five-speed manual or the only automatic version of the car, which uses a stepless continuously variable transmission with seven pre-set ratios.
In terms of safety, the European-specification SX4 includes seven airbags - one more than the current model that only gets a four-star crash safety rating - and a speed limiter that prevents the car from travelling faster than the set limit.
The biggest benefit from the redesign, though, is interior space. According to Suzuki, the SX4 increases luggage space from the old model’s meagre 270 litres to the new model’s 430L limit.