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First drive: Suzuki lifts its SX4 small-car game

Heart transplant: The Suzuki SX4 gets a fresh engine and optional CVT transmission, lifting fuel efficiency and performance.

Facelifted Suzuki SX4 small-car lands Down Under with more power, economy and safety

15 Feb 2010

SUZUKI Australia has released an upgraded SX4 sedan and hatchback range, offering improved performance, fuel-efficiency, safety and convenience.

Already available in Queensland, the midlife makeover for Suzuki’s small car – which also comprises two new transmissions and electronic stability control across the range – comes with price increases averaging 1.5 per cent.

The headline act of the 2010 SX4 is Suzuki’s new J20B 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which adds variable valve timing to boost peak power output by five per cent from 107 to 112kW and maximum torque by three per cent from 184 to 190Nm.

The new engine features a different cylinder block design, plastic cylinder-head cover and increased (10.2 v 9.5:1) compression ratio. Suzuki says the performance gains – as well as advances in noise, vibration and harshness suppression – come courtesy of lower friction levels, enhanced thermal efficiencies, and increased rigidity.

Matched with a new six-speed manual transmission to replace the current five-speed unit, the new engine offers 11 per cent better fuel consumption, at 7.3 litres per 100km, plus a 12 per cent reduction in CO2 outputs, at 170 grams per kilometre (down from 193g/km).

Meantime, the optional new continuously variable transmission CVT, which Suzuki claims brings a new level of refinement for its customers, improves fuel economy by 16 per cent over the conventional automatic gearbox it replaces, to 7.6L/100km, with average CO2 emissions reducing 17 per cent, from 215 to 178g/km.

30 center imageWhile the new CVT – which comes with six preset ratios and is operated via steering wheel shift paddles on the flagship ‘S’ versions – will be available across the SX4 range, ESP electronic stability control and, on the sedan, rear disc brakes are now standard on the SX4. Six airbags continue to be standard on all but the entry-level SX4 2WD hatch.

The range-topping SX4 AWD hatch continues to be available with Suzuki’s unique-in-class switchable three-mode intelligent all-wheel drive (i-AWD) system, which offers 2WD, 4WD and – at speeds of up to 60km/h – 4WD Lock programs.

Leading the list of cosmetic updates for 2010 is the addition of a boot-lid spoiler for the SX4 sedan, while both the entry-level 2WD hatch and AWD hatch offer 16-inch steel wheels with covers. The SX4 S AWD features new 16-inch alloys and the SX4 S 2WD and SX4 sedan gain new 17-inch alloys.

Interior SX4 changes aim to deliver a more upmarket impression, led by a new instrument panel with an integrated digital information display, a new-design digital climate-control panel and, in response to customer demand, backlit steering wheel audio switches.

Other cabin changes include softer door armrests, chrome-plated door-handles for the S version and a centre speaker in the dashboard. The SX4 sedan, S hatch and S AWD all retain Suzuki’s keyless start system.

While ESC is new to the base SX4 2WD hatch, pricing for which rises by $200 to $20,490, it continues to come standard with twin front airbags, five three-point seatbelts, ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, electric power steering, front/rear power windows, an adjustable steering wheel, remote central locking, air-conditioning, an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3-compatible auxiliary input jack, trip computer and power mirrors.

The entry level SX4 AWD hatch (up $700 to $23,490 manual) has seat-mounted front side airbags, side curtain airbags and AWD, while S-badged versions of both the 2WD and AWD SX4 (up $200) gain 17-inch alloys (16s for AWD version), cruise control, remote keyless entry and start, steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles (CVT only), climate-control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front foglights and a nine-speaker sound system.

Finally, the single-specification (2WD) SX4 S sedan – up $500 to $23,990, while the base 2WD sedan has been discontinued) comes standard with a bootlid spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels, nine speakers, remote entry/start, climate-control, shift paddles (CVT only), leather-clad steering wheel and foglights.

Suzuki Australia general manager Tony Devers said the SX4 set a new vision for small crossover vehicles when it was launched.

“The updated version continues to stamp Suzuki as a significant player in the local industry,” he said.

“The update guarantees the new SX4 will offer small car customers a value-packed choice combining performance, efficiency and Suzuki’s legendary reliability.

“Customers have always enjoyed the power of the SX4 now they can do it without paying an impost at the petrol pump.

“Our aim is to be among the class leaders, and SX4 more than delivers on the powertrain front. The inclusion of manual shifting allows enthusiast drivers to fully explore the SX4’s considerable performance potential.

“High levels of active and passive safety have always been a hallmark of Suzuki design, and the new SX4 range continues that trend.”
2010 Suzuki SX4 range pricing:
2WD hatch $20,490
2WD hatch (CVT) $22,490
2WD S hatch $23,490
2WD S hatch (CVT) $25,490
AWD hatch $23,490
AWD hatch (CVT) $25,490
AWD S hatch $25,690
AWD S hatch (CVT) $27,690
2WD S sedan $23,990
2WD S sedan (CVT) $25,990

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