- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 7, 2011

For 2011, the SX4 family, including the SX4 Crossover AWD with standard all-wheel drive; SX4 Sedan and youthful SX4 SportBack combine to offer the nimble handling of a compact sedan and five-door hatch with the full capability of all-wheel drive. Not traveling too far outside the family, the SX4 lineup embodies the sporty character and award-winning handling found in its European cousin, the Suzuki Swift. And the appeal doesn’t end there, with the 2011 SX4 Crossover, SX4 Sedan and SX4 SportBack offering bold, contemporary styling and a generous list of standard features.

Since its introduction in 2007, Suzuki’s SX4 Crossover has maintained a loyal following by effortlessly blending the nimble handling of a compact five-door with the ‘adventure sport’ capability of all-wheel drive. As the core model in what is now a full SX4 lineup that spans everything from sedans to five-doors and both front-wheel drive (FWD) and AWD models, the five-door SX4 Crossover remains America’s least expensive automobile with all-wheel drive and continues to capture media attention and praise. Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com also has recognized the SX4 as one of its “Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000” for the last three years despite an onslaught of new competitors trying to unseat the Top 10.

As with all 2011 Suzuki automobiles and light trucks, the SX4 Crossover is backed by America’s #1 Warranty: a 100,000-mile/seven-year, fully transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty.

Hot-Hatch Curb Appeal

Outside, the SX4 AWD Crossover benefits from muscular wheel arches. A high roofline adds extra space, versatility and expressiveness and the SX4 Crossover’s roof rails increase functionality. For Suzuki’s ‘confident explorer’ target customer, sport acces sories include crossbars and roof rack, with attachments for a skis or a bicycle. Fog lamps and heated outside mirrors are also available.

Interior Flexibility

The SX4 Crossover is efficiently designed to provide interior accommodations for five, with generous front and rear legroom and headroom. Wide door openings allow easy entry, and raised theater-style seating enhances the roomy, airy feeling for rear seat passengers. In addition, the SX4 Crossover comes equipped with an automatic-dimming rear view mirror with compass; standard AM/FM/CD four-speaker audio system with MP3 and XM Satellite Radio1 capability; air conditioning with available automatic climate control; remote keyless entry; reclining split-folding second row; driver information center; and integrated navigation system.

Dynamic Handling

The SX4 Crossover is equipped with MacPherson struts in the front and a rear torsion beam in the back. For 2011, the SX4 Crossover comes standard with all-wheel drive: Suzuki’s advanced and effective three-mode Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive (i-AWD) system, which continues the SX4’s tradition as America’s most affordable AWD automobile.

Upgraded Powertrain

The good news continues under the hood. Since its introduction, the SX4 has benefited from a full 2.0 liters of displacement. That capacity, a little more than 120 cubic inches, provides a competitive edge when contrasted with the bulk of the SX4’s competitive segment where displacements of 1.6-1.8 liters are more often the norm. With this newest iteration, however, Suzuki utilizes an all-new 2.0-liter engine, boasting five percent more horsepower and 4 lb.-ft. of additional torque, all while delivering - in the EPA cycle - 30 highway miles per gallon. In a larger 2.4-liter displacement version, the same engine architecture is found under the hood of the all-new, stunning and technically advanced 2011 Kizashi.

As before, the 16-valve valvetrain is controlled by dual overhead cams. From the same company building the world’s fastest production motorcycle, one expects competitive performance, and this new 2.0 liter delivers: 150 horsepower at 6,200 rpm in combination with 140 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm for manual transmission models (148 hp with CVT). Beyond the numbers are a fluid delivery, instant responsiveness and a much smaller carbon footprint than the reliable predecessor.

Connecting the improved powerplant to the SX4’s wheels is the choice of a six-speed manual or an all-new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). With the addition of an extra cog, the SX4 Crossover driver benefits from six degrees of separation, especially when placing the Suzuki in its competitive segment. Lower ratios are more closely spaced, allowing the driver to stay in the sweet spot of the powerband throughout the acceleration cycle. Moreover, while the closely spaced ratios improve acceleration when merging or passing, the overdrive sixth allows for relaxed cruising at highway speeds, improving the driving experience while maximizing fuel efficiency.

For added urban convenience, the new CVT optimizes both performance and efficiency via a console-mounted gear selector or paddle shifters, better maintaining the engine’s rpm ‘sweet spot’ over a wide range of both in-town and freeway driving.

Built for Safety

Class-leading active safety features in the SX4 Crossover include the electronic stability program with traction control and four-wheel disc brakes with an anti-lock braking system and electronic brake-force distribution. Together with the traction control system, stability control helps ensure vehicle stability when cornering, accelerating, driving on slippery roads or conducting emergency maneuvers.

Passive safety starts with a reinforced body offering front and rear crumple zones designed to help absorb impact energy. Eight airbags are standard, including driver and front passenger advanced frontal airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and side-curtain airbags designed to provide additional protection for front-seat and outboard rear-seat passengers.

With the new-for-2011 rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags, the SX4 family of vehicles meets 2014 side impact standards. In addition, front three-point seatbelts include pretensioners and force limiters.

The SX4 Crossover is also equipped with ISOFIX-compliant child seat anchors and the LATCH system (Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children) in rear outboard seat positions. Daytime running lights and a tire pressure monitoring system are also standard. Together, all of this safety equipment makes the SX4 Crossover one of the best-equipped vehicles in its class with respect to safety.

2011 SX4 Crossover Trim Levels and Packages

The SX4 Crossover comes in three AWD trim levels: Base, Premium and Touring Value Package. The SX4 Crossover is one of the best-equipped vehicles in the segment, inviting comparison with small SUVs and CUVs costing far more. Standard features include power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; AM/FM/CD/MP3 XM Satellite Radio-compatible audio system; tilt steering wheel; trip computer; fender flares; and roof rails.

The Premium Package adds the performance-tuned Continuously Variable automatic Transmission (CVT) plus cruise control, steering wheel audio controls and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The Touring Value Package adds advanced technology to the navigation system, including Bluetooth2 hands-free communication; real-time traffic; weather forecasts; movie times; lowest gas price finder; stock updates; headline news; local entertainment finder; and airline arrival/departure times. It also adds heated front seats, a rarity among compacts. Alloy wheels and fog lamps distinguish the package’s exterior.

In the SX4 Crossover the standard audio system is XM Satellite Radio-capable, and an accessory iPod3 interface is available. A connected iPod works seamlessly through the radio and the steering-wheel-integrated controls, with playlists and track information appearing on the audio display.

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