Suzuki Sx 4 Mini Review
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Suzuki Sx 4 Mini Review

This article will tell the story of my relationship with my SX4 Crossover. This is actually a great little car. I didn't expect much when I bought it new in 2008, but I was pleasantly surprised with the American Suzuki Motor Corporation.

I heard Suzuki cars and trucks were crap. Why would I even think of buying one?

You know, I thought exactly the same way. A friend of mine owned a Suzuki. I think it was a swift. He bought it used and it gave Brian a lot of trouble. Turns out the previous owner never serviced the car and traded it in because of the many problems experienced. It was a 2007 model I believe. That car may have been a lemon. Every manufacturer produces a lemon once in awhile.

Another friend had a sidekick. Mike bought it new. That car worked perfectly for Mike. Mike never did any service to the car. He changed the tires out when needed. He never changed the oil once in 135, 000 miles. He just added oil when it needed it. I guess Mike got a good one. Mike traded it in and bought a bigger car. Mike's family was growing.

Remember the gas price jump in 2007- 2008?

Gas was relatively cheap at around 2 bucks something a gallon until the real estate bubble burst and the banks started failing. The greedy wall streeters had created a financial crisis. Only our government could save us from another great depression. We are still living in the great recession. It's going to be years before it gets better if it ever does.

Well, if I remember right, gas was approaching 4 bucks a gallon. Or it was projected to hit 4 bucks. I was driving a 2001 Chevy Silverado Dually at the time. It was a great ruck. I bought it new. It had a whopping 496 cid V8. It was a 4-wheeler with 4.10 gears and an Allison automatic. That truck had a ton of power. It was fun to drive. I towed a heavy trailer back and forth cross country to Cali several times.

The gas mileage really sucked. It was horrible. On a really good day, I could squeeze 12 mpg on the interstate. Driving around town I got around 8 mpg. If I was pulling a trailer and driving in the mountains, I was lucky to get 6 mpg. It was a thirsty mutha. I should have bought the diesel model. I was making decent money so gas wasn't a big concern until the price loomed to be 4 bucks. I decided to buy something a little more fuel efficient.

I bought an Sx4.

It was August, 2008. I sold the dually myself. I took a huge beating. No one wanted a gas guzzler then. I did my research. I was going to buy a Honda Civic Si. That was a cool car with a stick. it got amazing gas mileage. The car had no low end power though. I had to slip the clutch to get the car to move at low speeds. It was more expensive than the SX4 by at least 2 grand.

I really like the looks of the SX4. I bought the crossover hatchback model with an automatic. I chose a fwd model vs. the awd model. The gas tank was a little bigger in the fwd model and the mileage was a little better. It was a little lighter too. I really didn't need awd and it was more expensive. I liked the copper color and I got the convenience group. There's a picture of my whip in the photo above.

I rode my bike to the dealership to buy the car. One of the mechanics at Lakeland Suzuki followed me home. They drove my new car and followed me on my bike. when I got home I went out for a drive in my new "roller skate" as I nicknamed it.

First thing I noticed was the "stupid looking grin" I saw on my face in the rear view mirror. I could not quit smiling. This car is a hoot. The handling is absolutely fantastic. I drove to some of the roads I ride with my ZX10. I cranked the steering back and forth in the switchbacks. The car just stuck like glue. The brakes are good too.

OK. the car doesn't have breathtaking acceleration. It's OK though. Note, I bought a new bike about 5 months later. That dealer was 150 miles away. I took my buddy "Bull" with me to Kissimmee, Florida. On the way back he rode the bike and I drove the car. I had a garmin GPS on the dash. There are some long straight deserted country roads on the way back to Tampa.

I nailed the Sx4's accelerator pedal and held it there for at least 5 minutes and maybe longer. I turned off the AC just to make sure. The GPS read 118 mph. The car's speedo needle was right at 120 mph. Not bad at all for a little economy car I thought. Of course my buddy behind me just blasted by like I was standing still. The 10R will easily top 180 mph. It was new and I told Bull to ride it like he stole it. I'm a believer in a hard break-in.

I have a little over 30 thousand miles on the car now. The only problem I had was with the windshield washer motor. It failed on me a few months after I bought the car. It's been trouble free since. I did a complete service 6 months ago on the car myself.

I changed the plugs. That was easy. I changed the oil and filter. That was easy too. i changed the air filter and the cabin filter too. That was easy. I flushed the cooling system. I refilled with a 70% mix of Peak antifreeze. I got the chassis lubed when I replaced the tires with some Michelins. I had the car aligned. I replaced the windshield wipers. I also replaced the battery a month prior to the tuneup. They seem to last about 3 years for me no matter what battery I buy.

The OEM Potenzas still had some miles left in them. The wear bars weren't showing yet, but I could see they were close. I always kept the air pressure on the high side at 41 psi. High tire pressures are better for fuel mileage and the car handles like a go-kart with high pressures.

5000 mile trip:

The car ran perfectly on a trip to Williston, North Dakota. That was a 2,300 mile trip on the way up. It took me 3 days. I drove 70-75 mph most of the way. Some states have that 65 mph limit. I hate that. It was February, 2012 and cold. The car performed well in the ice and snow. Course I had some new Michelin snows on the car. I drove back to Florida 5 months later with absolutely no issues. My car is very reliable.

I had a frame mounted trailer hitch installed on the car. It has a 2" ball and I had the wiring done for the trailer electricals. I'd say the safe towing capacity is around 1,500 lbs. I didn't have an auxiliary trans cooler installed. The hitch cost me 500 bucks w/installation at a local custom hitch retailer/installer. Good hitches are expensive. I had no trouble pulling a light trailer with my bike to the track at Jennings GP. It's 250 miles away.

Gas mileage:

This i where the little SX4 could do a little better. I've averaged around 25 mpg over 4 years and 33,000 miles. It's not the greatest. I can squeeze 30 mpg on the interstate if I stay at 69 mph. This is what the dash computer shows. At 75 mph I get around 27-28 mpg. At 85 it's around 22. At 90 it's around 19. The car loves to cruise at 85-90. It will cruise at the ton, but the fuel mileage just goes away. As I said before, the top end is right at 120 mph. So the gas mileage isn't the greatest. The mileage for the stick model maybe slightly better.

Wind Noise:

I definitely notice some wind noise on the interstate. I think its a combination of the high ride height and the roof rails. If you get the crossover bars for the roof rails, you may experience some more wind noise. I think the brand new SX4 models have better weatherstripping and more interior sound deadening materials used. They are quieter.

Interior Space:

There is a lot of room in the SX4 hatch crossover. I've hauled lots of gear in the car. I thought about removing the rear seats completely. I hardly ever have a passenger. I have never had anyone ride in the back seat. Once I learned to adjust the front seat for support, I had no trouble with back pain on long drives. I do wish there was another inch or 2 for driver leg room. This was another slight negative. The leather wrapped steering wheel with the radio and cruise controls worked well.

Exterior:

I already told you I really liked the styling. I still like it today. Some owners reported the paint was a little thin on the front and on the hood. They had issues with paint chipping. I haven't had the problem. I did do a full tint job. Mine is a little illegal. I used 20% all around. My entire windshield is done with 35%. I haven't had a problem with the cops. We have unmarked DEA cars with very dark tinted glass here in Florida. You can't see who or what is driving these cop cars. They have those funny little hubcaps, though. Why?

Conclusion:

That's my mini review on the 2008 SX4 Crossover FWD with an automatic. I read it's an excellent choice as a used car to buy for your college student. I guess SX4s don't hold their value too well so you get a reliable fun to drive little car for a great price. Would I buy another one? Maybe. I just drove a loaded Chevy Cruze at Hertz. I like that car better than my SX4.


Street Talk

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