The new Suzuki SX4 is a smart option for the practical outdoor enthusiast. It won’t be the adventure, but it will get you there
Words and images: Ian Macleod
The market for versatile crossovers is a big one. I know, because it’s the one I’m in. If you live in the city but spend weekends out in the countryside running, riding and ‘restauranting’, these are the cars you want to use.
Some of these SUV-cum-hatchbacks are thrilling. They’ve got the performance qualities to rival whatever outdoor expedition you’re chasing. But that comes at a price. If you want something that will get you to work in the week and then take you to the mountain bike race on the weekend with equal ease and comfort, consider the Suzuki SX4.
I attended the launch at Hartbeespoort and spent most of the day taking the latest iteration of this popular model around the North West. Suzuki have extended the wheelbase marginally, added to the interior space and fitted some of the latest kit we now expect as standard. Coupled with the All-Grip 4WD system (as in the model I drove), the upshot is a comfortable ride on the road or intermediate off-road conditions, solid fuel efficiency and an all-round pleasant driving experience.
You’ll not be disappointed with standard gadgetry, which includes Bluetooth connectivity, power steering, aircon, roof rails, cruise control etc.
The 1.6-litre engine might disappoint some drivers. It gets the job done, but don’t expect any exhilarating power. Like I said, the SX4 is for the practical outdoor enthusiast.
All-Grip four-wheel drive should be plenty for most outdoor excursions. Let’s be honest, it’s not often we need to traverse anything more than muddy grass and pitted slopes. This lightweight system, which includes a handy ‘auto’ mode, took care of this most admirably on my jaunt.
Fuel consumption is also key for the practical buyer. Suzuki’s listed rates of 5.8l/100km for the front-wheel drive models and 6.2l/100km for All-Grip versions is on target with what I achieved.
Bottom line, if you want a rally car that will have mountains surrendering from 1000 yards, this is not for you. But if your goal is to pack in the mountain bikes and a couple of kiddies, and head out for a day in the countryside, give the SX4 a try.
Find out more on the Suzuki SA website.
For more on the SX4’s four-wheel drive system, here’s a handy video from the Japanese makers: