Suzuki SX4

A joint affair between Japanese automaker Suzuki and Italian automaker Fiat, the SX4 was a compact SUV that was sold in Europe as the Fiat Sedici and Asian markets as the Maruit Suzuki SX4. Replacing the Aerio, the SX4 or 'Sports X-over 4 all seasons' debuted in Japan on December 1, 2005 and internationally at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show. Designed by famed Giorgetto Giugiaro's Italdesign Giugiaro studio the SX4 perfectly falls into Japanese external proportions and engine displacement for 'compact' cars. The original plan was to only market the SX4 in Europe, but popularity grew and was sold in most of Suzuki's international markets. Previously the 'SX/4' designation was used on an all-wheel drive AMC Eagle passenger car.

The SX4 was offered in hatchback form, and in some markets as a sedan. The SX4 is classified as a Mini SUV crossover, especially when in the hatchback format and it occupied a very specific market niche. The SX4 is manufactured at the Magyar Suzuki plant in Esztergom, Hungary, Sagara Japan and Manesar India. Initially the crossover was completely built-up/CBU and directly imported from Japan, but the following year locally-assembled versions were introduced to meet the unexpected demand. These versions came with some handy extras like Multi Information Display and 4-wheel disc brakes.

The first generation SX4 was launched as a five-door hatchback, marketed as the SX4 Crossover. It featured a 60/40 split fold rear seats that had a tumble/roll configuration that allowed for plenty of cargo space. In 2007 the SX4 Sport Sedan model was introduced at the 2007 New York Auto Show. Replacing the Suzuki Aerio sedan and the Daewoo-based Suzuki Forenza sedan and station wagon, the Sedan was launched in India, Japan and several other Easter European markets.

In 2006 the U.S. SX4 model was introduced as a 2007 model year. Suzuki's entry-level AWD offering, the U.S. version featured AWD as standard and only 2.0 L J20A 143 hp inline-4 gasoline engine. Thanks in part to the success of the SX4, Suzuki Auto posted the best year-end close in company history in 2007.

In 2008 the base 5-door hatchback SX4 Crossover included power features like locks, windows and mirrors, CD/MP3 capability, keyless entry and 'intelligent' All Wheel Drive (iAWD). Available options included traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, fog lights and advanced key in a Touring package.

In 2009 the SX4 sedans received popular extras like standard GPS navigation systems by Garmin with Bluetooth, weather and a gas station finder. The U.S. SX4 Sedan Sport only came with front-wheel drive. The SX4 Sport and SX4 Crossover options were virtually identical except for no iAWD for the Sport. The sedan had 18 cubic feet of trunk space.

Fully imported from Japan was both the 1.6 L FWD hatchback and 1.6 L FWD sedan models available in Malaysia and Israel. Only a two-wheel drive model with 1.5 L engine was available in Indonesia. Both two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions of the SX4 are available, though not with all combinations of drivetrain and body style in every market. An electronically controlled iAWD 3-mode four wheel drive system is utilized in AWD models that allows the user to select between front wheel drive 2WD mode, automatic AWD AUTO mode, and AWD LOCK 50:50 split permanent AWD LOCK mode that can only be used up to 40 mph before switched to AWD Auto mode.

After 2010 the SX4 five-door hatchback was available with a 1.6 L DOHC VVT engine, 2.0 L DOHC VVT engine and 2.0 L DDiS diesel engine with 240 lb/ft of torque on the AWD version. To meet the new CO2 emission control standards Euro 5 regulations the 1.6 L DOHC VVT engine was revised. Engine power leapt from 107 to 120 bhp this year. The U.S. market got a brand new 2.0 L engine with increased 150 bhp (from 143) and lower fuel consumption.

1.6 L engine car were available with either a new six-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Producing 148 hp at 6,000 rpm was the continuously variable transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters on a 2.0 L I4 engine. The same engine produces 150 hp at 6,200 rpm on standard six-speed manual transmission.

Upgrades to the SX4 in 2010 included new front ventilated and rear disc brakes, ABS, cruise control, 6 airbags and Electronic Stability Program (ESP), optional on 1.6 L models. Other updates this year included a mini facelift on the grille and taillights. Other changes were made to the instrument cluster, door trim and climate controls. The cargo hold area was restructured to replace the fold-up rear seats with 'arena seating' raised rear seat layout. New rear skid plates were added to non-fleet AWD models. New this year was a SportBack model with body kit, rear spoiler and lowered sport-tuned suspension. This model didn't have a roof rack.

An Indian version of the SX4, the Maruti Suzuki was introduced in 2007. Minor differences separated this model from the other ones. At the launch the 1.6 L gasoline engine powered these SUVs without VVT with 101 hp at 5,600 rpm and 100 lb/ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Eventually the Maruit was updated to the 1.6 L engine with VVT. In August 2010 a compressed natural gas (CNG) factory fitted kit was introduced. The following February a diesel version was debuted that used the Fiat 1.3 L (DDiS) engine with variable geometry turbo. This was the same engine used in the Fiat Linea and Punto.

Debuted at the 2008 Hokkaido Tōyako summit was an experimental Suzuki concept car called the SX4-FCV (Fuel-Cell Vehicle) that ran on alternative power that includes an 80 kW hydrogen fuel cell and 68 kW electric motor. With a top speed of 93 mph, the SX4-FCV had a 250 km range. The car was later shown at the 2008 Paris International Motor Show.

Within the Suzuki World Rally Team the SX4 competed in the 2007 and 2008 World Rally Championship seasons. However Suzuki withdrew from the competition. The Suzuki automaker announced at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show that it would enter the FIA World Rally Championship, with the Suzuki World Rally Team in the World Rally Car category in 2007. The factory backed car produced 320 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque with the SX4 WRC with AWD and the J20 engine. Suzuki ended up needing the 2007 season to work on further developments for the SX4 and WRC calendar changes, so Suzuki officially debuted in 2008. Finishing 31st overall, the SX4 competed on a test basis in two 2007 WRC events; the Rallye de France in October 2007 and the Rally GB in November 2007 where it placed 27th. With Per-Gunnar Andersson behind the wheel, the SX4 finished 8th in the Rallye Monte Carlo, the first event of 2008.

A specially adapted SX4 racecar was fitted with a twin turbocharged 3.1 L V6 engine and called 'Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special'. Its V6 engine produced 910 hp and 660 lb/ft of torque. With Noburhiro Tajima behind the wheel at the 2011 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the track record time was set at 9:51.278.

There was speculation that a second generation of the SX4 was being produced. The new SX4 would be Suzuki-only as Fiat is replacing the Sedici with the new 500X. 'Spy Shots' in July of 2012 have indicated that the possible second generation was a similar version from before but slightly bigger and taking cues from the Suzuki Kizashi. In 2012 Suzuki debuted the S-Cross compact crossover concept at the Paris Motor Show. Suzuki states that the S-Cross would be a new model and not a replacement for the SX4. Production was scheduled to continue.

At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show Suzuki debuted the new 2014 awaited SX4 S-Cross design, based on the S-Cross concept. Riding on a 102-inch wheelbase, the new SX4 was bigger and beefier than its predecessor. 169 inches long, 69 inches wide and 62 inches tall, the new S-Cross featured a much more spacious cabin and plenty of trunk space. In the fall of 2013 the European model went on sale and had the option of a 1.6-liter petrol engine or 1.6-liter diesel, with either manual or CVT transmission. The U.S. and Canada doesn't offer the SX4 S-Cross because Suzuki had withdrawn from that market.

The 2013 SX4 was launched in Sportback, Sedan and Crossover trims. Pumping out 150 hp and 140 lb/ft of torque, all three of the models were powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and had a starting price around $15,845. With an EPA estimate 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, the modern SX4 is equipped with popular extras like handsfree communication, touchscreen navigation with traffic info, heated front seats, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and AWD on the Crossover, and FWD standard on the other trims. Transmission options are a 6-speed manual or CVT automatic. Safety features on the SX4 included ABS, electronic brake distribution (EBD), eight standard airbags, brake assist (BA), and tire pressure monitoring (TPMS).


By Jessica Donaldson

Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.