One of the Suzuki SX4's biggest selling points is available all-wheel drive at a low entry price, which is something few economy cars offer. Reviewers prefer the 2011 Subaru Impreza (Base MSRP: $17,495 to $28,995), which has all-wheel drive standard, and the more common front-wheel drive models like the best-reviewed 2011 Hyundai Elantra (Base MSRP: $14,830 to $19,980) and 2011 Honda Fit (Base MSRP: $15,100 to $16,860). These cars have a more sophisticated ride and handling experience according to reviewers, and the Elantra and Fit have better fuel economy and nicer interior materials. The SX4 comes in both sedan and hatchback variants. Base models come equipped with front-wheel drive.
The 2011 SX4 changes little from the previous year. The most notable change is the addition of side airbags for rear passengers. Otherwise, the remaining updates involve standard equipment changes for various trim packages. For additional details, see our detailed report on the 2010 Suzuki SX4.
The Suzuki SX4's Environmental Protection Agency-rated fuel economy is average at best. The 2-liter, four-cylinder sedan delivers 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway/26 mpg combined with the six-speed manual transmission, and 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway/28 mpg with the CVT automatic. AWD-equipped models get expectedly lower fuel economy, delivering 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 23 mpg city/29 mpg highway/25 mpg combined with the automatic. The hatchback does slightly worse in terms of fuel economy, delivering 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway/26 mpg combined with the CVT automatic and front-wheel drive, while the manual gets 1 mpg worse in city and combined driving. Newer competitors, such as the Hyundai Elantra, provide significantly better fuel economy.
Front airbags, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, and antilock brakes are standard on all SX4 trims. Electronic stability control is only available on two trim levels: the Sportback and the Crossover.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Suzuki SX4 decent crash-test ratings, but there are many small cars that get the coveted Top Safety Pick designation. The SX4 has the highest rating of Good for front- and side-impact protection, but the lower Marginal rating for rear-impact protection. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not fully tested the SX4 but does give it 4 stars out of 5 for rollover resistance.
The 2011 Suzuki SX4 Base trim starts at $13,499 while the Sport GTS trim tops the range at $18,999.
For 2011, the Suzuki SX4 receives rear-occupant side airbags, among other minor changes. The editors of Edmunds.com like the low entry price for all-wheel drive and the long powertrain warranty.
Review: 2011 Suzuki SX4, Editors of Edmunds.com
The editors of ConsumerReports.org test the SX4 first-hand and compare it against most of the small cars available today. They also provide reliability data for most models they test along with their comprehensive road test review.
Review: Small Cars, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
3. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The Suzuki SX4 is one of the lower-rated economy cars in IIHS crash tests. It performs well in front- and side-impact crash tests, receiving the highest rating available, but it gets only a Marginal rating for rear-impact protection.
Review: Small Cars, Editors of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration only rates the 2011 Suzuki SX4 for its rollover resistance, for which it receives 4 stars out of 5.
Review: 5-Star Safety Ratings, Editors of SaferCar.gov
The Suzuki SX4 gets an EPA-estimated 25 to 28 mpg in combined driving. Optioning the SX4 with all-wheel drive reduces mileage slightly.
Review: 2011 Suzuki SX4, Editors of FuelEconomy.gov
Our full report on the nearly identical 2010 Suzuki SX4 provides a compilation and analysis of many expert reviewer opinions.
Review: 2010 Suzuki SX4, Editors of ConsumerSearch.com, March 2010