Suzuki SX4

The Essentials

  • Price from £12,595
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 53.3mpg
  • What is it? The Suzuki SX4 is a supermini that wants to be a 4x4. It's average in most respects, so there are better alternatives.

Great

  • It's easy to take control at the wheel
  • You can take it off-road
  • It's cheap

Gripes

  • The cabin is very dour - and room for just four
  • The puny petrol engine gets noisy at speed
  • It's hard to see past the thick windscreen pillars
  • Drive

    For an able off-roader, it feels surprisingly like a small family car and is very easy to drive

  • Inside

    The controls are all idiot-proof, but wide windscreen pillars get in your way

  • Safety

    You get all the basics to help keep you safe, whichever version you choose

  • Reliability

    Looks and feels a little cheap inside, but should withstand the test of time

  • Space

    Time to restrict your social circle: this one's strictly for four passengers

  • Standard and extras

    Even the cheapest cars come well equipped and all have air-con and a CD player

  • What's it like to drive?

    The SX4 is a surprisingly capable off road, and is decent on the on-road, too. That means it's easy to drive; you don't have to wrestle with the steering wheel and the body doesn't roll around too much on bendy roads. The downside is a firm ride and all engines are rather noisy. The petrol version is the liveliest and the cheapest, so it's the one we'd choose.

  • What's it like inside?

    There's a toy-like quality to the Suzuki SX4's interior: the dashboard is idiot-proof, with clear and easy-to-use controls, but it does look and feel cheap. Petite? You'll have no problem getting your feet on the pedals, but you might struggle to get comfortable at the wheel: it doesn't adjust in and out, only up and down. The windscreen pillars are chunky so you'll have to lean to peer past them.
    There's really only room for four inside, all of whom have to travel light. Jettison the kids and you can make the boot bigger by collapsing the rear seats with the tug of a cord  but even then, it's far from spacious.
    Basic models have air-con, electric windows and a CD player  so we wouldn't bother spending more.

  • How reliable is it?

    Suzukis aren't as dependable as some Japanese brands, and the SX4 has proved disappointingly unreliable, with owners reporting numerous faults.
    Not all models feature stability control, although you do get six airbags as standard, along with Isofix child seat anchor points and childproof rear door locks. The SX4 scored four stars for adult safety and three stars for child protection when crash-tested by Euro NCAP.

  • Should I buy one?

    Unless you're buying the rugged-looking four-wheel-drive version, which is a relatively cheap way to get off-road ability, there are better alternatives. A Ford Fiesta or a VW Polo is a more sensible buy.