Last post on Nov 05, 2012 at 5:29 PM
You are in the Suzuki SX4
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Suzuki SX4, Hatchback, Wagon, SUV
#157 of 183 New 2011 SX4 - Pros and Cons
May 13, 2011 (1:51 pm)
Bought a new SX4 end of Feb 2011. Before I even walked in to the dealer's shop I was already sold on the solid features of this car. However, a few months of heavy daily use has revealed its weak points. I am gong to list the Pros and Cons of the SX4 according to my opinion and I would highly appreciate your feedback.
1. Excellent safety features, 8 airbags, ESP, brakes are the best I've driven so far.
2. Simple, no-hype, ergonomic, interior design, easilly accesible controls, informative uncluttered dashboard. Oh, and it also has a large windshield fluid container as well.
3. Very small, probably one of the smallest U-turn radius of most cars this size, great feature!
4. It has cute looks, especially the one I own in Sunlight Copper color makes heads turn.
5. Cheapest car ever with AWD, actually the 3-way i-AWD is this car's best selling point.
1. Unacceptably low MPG for this car class. Forget what Suzuki says, 23/30 is a dream if not a flat out lie. I never get more than 20-21 in the city and if I ever go over 27 on the HWY I am having a celebration party the same day. My mixed 50/50 MPG is about 24-25 at best! I drive about 100 miles a day, combine this with the small 11 gal tank and you'll see why I am unhappy. The low gas light usually comes on too quick this means I have to fill up every two days. Utterly ridiculous!
2. Visibility on the left front because of the A column is at best only 20%. I have no idea who designed this car. No problem exists on the front right but on the left they might as well have left it without this slick looking yet useless triangular window.
3. I mentioned it before but it deserves a separate entry: Why only an 11-gal gas tank? How difficult was it to put a 15-gal tank like most other cars or -at least- 13 gals? Putting such a small tank was plain stupid, especially when this little car is really a "guzzler" in disguise?
4. Engine/powertrain will not push the car forward at a decent acceleration, so the others behind you will not tailgate you, unless the RPM is at 3,500-4,000. Attempt to drive "softly" to conserve gas by not going more than 2,500-3,000 and other drivers around you start giving you the finger and swearing at you. Still MPG gain is marginal, in the low 20's. Of course if you drive at > 4,000 and you're getting punished: MPG with be in the 'teens (18-19).
5. Cruise control does not have a permanently ON button. Basically every time you turn the engine off, cruise control goes off as well. Most cars have a cruise control button that can be clicked ON and OFF at the driver's will. But Suzuki apparently does not like to give you that much control over your own car.
Which brings me to the next gig question mark (?)
6. Daytime Running Lights or the (dreaded) DRL. Alright, it is a safety feature and YES, it is standard in most European countries. However, here we are in America and unless you are driving elsewhere than around a city DRL are not useful at all. This car, with this MPG and small tank, is clearly a city car that you will occasionally take off the beaten path but realistically this is -again- a "domesticated" car with AWD as an extra selling point. My suggestion is this, since DRL is not -yet- mandatory in the USA, why not provide an ON/OFF switch to allow the driver to turn it off and on again depending on driving conditions. After all, this is what's standard with fog-lights right? Plus DRL -in my cara at least- has very little difference with my normal lights, so what's the point?
7. This is my car but it could be a design flaw. Basically my car even though its alignment is within specifications, it has a slight "drift" to the left, even on a perfectly straight no slope pavement. This drift becomes a slight pull at higher speeds, nothing dangerous but nevertheless annoying and tiresome after a long hwy trip. My Suzuki dealer, after 4 visits for the same issue, and two alignments, just gave up and they gave me the lame excuse that this is probably attributed to the way the differential(s) work with each other. Pretty much their advise was to get used to it.
8. This is not necessarily a Suzuki defect but in the first month my windshield developed two small indentations (pits) luckily with no cracks and my engine hood -similarly- developed small round defects, where the copper-sunlight color is missing and a gray-white substrate is showing. This is not hail (too small) and they do not look like they were caused by stones flying from the cars in front on the hwy. Still a mystery how a 3 month car developed that while my 10 year old -previous- car Mazda Protege5 had no such problems with similar use and after 125,000 miles on it?
9. Driver's seat is uncomfortable if not entirely problematic. Upholstery is slippery making me slide forward and needign to re-adjust my position very often. The seat material is not firm enough, especailly this is needed when turning this seat basically will not help the driver to stay firmly positioned and focus on driving. I have to constantly re-seat my self. To make things worse, both cables that lead to the heated elements (back and under) protrude under the fabric providing a very intense sensation you know where. Actually, drive for more that 15 minutes and I am guaranteed a real pain in the butt. Speaking of seats, the driver's one, on the back facing the rear seat, comes with a nicely integrated wide and deep pouch which is very useful considering the Japanese designed the SX4 with the least amount of small storage creviches inside the cabin. However, no such need was deemed necessary for the other front seat so whoever is seating on the left rear has nowhere to store, say a magazine or a book, etc. Again it feels as if this car is denying you certain things that in other cars are abundant.
1o. Sorry for the long message. I never thought I'd be so disappointed with this great little car that I originally fell in love with. I guess it is like any other infatuation. Overall this is a nice car that will take you from point A to point B, no questions asked. However, in my case all these issues, on one hand leave me totally unsatisfied thus disappointed on the other there is very little to do since now will "qualify" as a lemon issue there fore I am stuck driving something I do not enjoy waiting for some snowy weather to pride myself I drove with my i-AWD on!
Bottom line is, anyone interested in buying a brand new 2011 SX4 at a bargain price? Just kidding...
#158 of 183 Re: New 2011 SX4 - Pros and Cons [sunlightcopper]
May 13, 2011 (2:15 pm)
I've had a 2008 SX4 Crossover since October 2007, and here are my responses to your Cons:
1) I agree about the mileage, though I have gotten 30 when I have almost 100% highway. I once even got 32mpg on a tank. But, yes, low 20's is my average in the city.
2) Also agree that that A pillar is too big. Just need to lean forward when turning to make sure I see where I'm going on left turns.
But other than the small band where the A pillar is, the view is excellent. You sit up high, the front windshield is huge, and the B and C pillars are very small, giving you excellent view to the side and the back.
3) Have you seen how little space there is in the back of the car? The AWD takes up extra space, too. The non-AWD has a bigger gas tank. With a car this small, there's only so much room for a gas tank. Other small cars have comparable gas tanks (though, yes, they tend to have better mpg)
4) Sounds like this is problem with your and your highway-mates driving than the car. If you're going the speed limit, no should be tailgaiting you. And why are you blaming the car for tailgaters?
5) I've never had a car with manual ON/OFF switch for the cruise control, and that's including a relatively new Mazda3. I think that's pretty common for Japanese cars to not have that.
6) What's wrong with daytime running lights? They only help with safety and don't detract from anything. Again, remember that this is a low-cost car. If they had to make a modification just for the U.S. market, they'd probably have to charge more.
7) My car has an excellent straight track, and I've never experienced any drift as you describe.
8) My windshield has held up great with no cracks or dinks or mystery white material.
9) I find the front seats to be very comfortable. Last summer took a long road trip from Seattle to Montana and loved how comfortable the seats were. I think the seats are more comfortable than the ones I had in my Mazda3.
Everyone has their specific needs and considerations. I'm sorry that you've found those specific items that you described to weigh so heavily in your view of the car.
I'm quite happy with my car, and don't regret for a second having bought it.
#159 of 183 Re: New 2011 SX4 - Pros and Cons [sunlightcopper]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
May 13, 2011 (3:19 pm)
The cruise control buttons on my two older cars go off when you turn the car off too.
The DRLs may be connected via a module that you might be able to remove. That's how my van works; they put the module in for Canadian sales. Not sure how to find out; maybe you can find a repair manual with info.
The drifting is a concern, especially since cars should drift to the right due to the road crown. I'd take it to a good alignment shop and see if something is out of whack. If there's a frame alignment issue, try opening a case with Suzuki.
Don't know what to suggest about the mileage; agree that small tanks seem to be the norm. How many miles do you have on it since you got it in February? The mileage on my last new car didn't settle down until around 4,000 miles and kept improving until 10,000 miles and beyond.
The windshield may just be slanted such that it attracts rocks more than your Mazda.
When I shopped the SX4 a couple of years ago, what I remember liking most was the USB setup in the dash. Didn't drive one so didn't notice seat or visibility issues.
#160 of 183 Re: New 2011 SX4 - Pros and Cons [sunlightcopper]
May 14, 2011 (7:38 am)
I have a 2009 SX4 Crossover with the Technology Package.
I agree about the mileage. Around town, I usually get 21-22 mpg. On the highway, 25.5 is about the most that I've been able to squeeze out of my car.
My understanding is that the cause of the low mileage is two-fold:
The car is a bit heavy for a little car. I'm guessing that this is due to the four-wheel drive hardware.
The automatic transmission is only four-speed, forcing the engine to rev high on the highway.
I also agree about the small gas tank, but my understanding is that Suzuki could not fit a larger gas tank in this car (possibly due to the 4-wheel drive set-up?).
Beyond these issues, I think that this is a terrific little car for the money.
It's loaded with features not found in cars at the same price point. It's very tight and solid. Nice steering feel and nice brakes (4-wheel disc). All wheel drive. Handles really well. The front is very spacious for such a little
car. I find it to be a fun to drive car.
I find the power to be adequate, even on the highway.
I have had no repair issues with this car (I have almost 17,000 miles).
#161 of 183 Re: New 2011 SX4 - Pros and Cons [azmustang]
May 14, 2011 (1:57 pm)
In warmer weather, I get between 31 and 34 mpg highway with my 2008 AWD. I do have the manual 5 speed, but it is still geared to rev at about 3000 rpms at 60-65. The 2010 and newer versions offer a CVT transmission that gets even better mileage. My lifetime mpg is 29 mpg overall. However, I rarely drive over 70.
May 22, 2011 (6:38 am)
Still one of the neatest looking cars in it's class...Everytime I see that giant "S" on the grill coming at me, I think "oh cool, it's an SX4".
#163 of 183 Re: New 2011 SX4 - Pros and Cons [sunlightcopper]
May 22, 2011 (9:57 am)
Thank you all for your replies, I've been thinking about this for some time, I only have this car for about 3-4 months and I know I made a hasty decision. I can go about blaming Suzuki's Marketing and the dealer's antics for diverting my attention from the bad and emphasizing only the good aspects of this car but it won't do me any good. I just have to wait until I'm right side up again (i.e. at least 12-18 months) and then go for something else.
I've talked about all this to a lot of people and the consensus is that despite its good looks, the excellent safety features and the competitive (in my opinion, somewhat but not great) price, this car -overall- is lacking compared with the competition. Apparently Suzuki made a decision to enhance some important (according the the Japanese mentality) features while not providing or removing some other minor additions that can be done with out, thus reducing the cost. Everyone I talked to agrees that if this car had what it has plus what it's missing, it's MSRP could easily climb up to 25K (or more) making it impossible to compete in this class.
The things do I like about this car is the i-AWD, the ESP and that it handles well at sharp/abrupt turns. I do not usually "abuse" my cars, not at all, only if needed to say avoid an accident, i.e. I am not a lead-foot by conviction. Never had an accident, always drive by the book, I am 50 y.o. and my last speeding ticket (going 76 on a 65 hwy) was 25 years ago.
But, anyway, the SX4 will quickly discourage anyone to drive faster/more aggressively because:
A. Engine is mismatched with the car and will not push the car forward unless you really, I mean REALLY, "step on it".
B. If you do drive like that, the engine consumes a horrific amount of gas for a car in this class. I tried it once, out of curiosity, and gotten 18.5 mpg in mixed 50/50 city/hwy driving. And this is utterly unacceptable !!! The Japanese engineers must have seriously screwed something up here...
C. The seats are too soft and too high to allow even for that rare, occasional sporty driving. If you've tried it, you know a sharp left turn will almost throw you out the driver's and in to the passenger's seat on the right, thank God for the belt. Try this with a sharp right turn and you are squeezed against the driver's door. Both, not a comfortable situation to be in.
Everything else, I can live with by modifying them or simply modifying ...myself (lol).
But the car's drifting to the left and the ridiculous MPG make this a dying relationship.
Bottom line is, I consider the presence of all these "annoyances" way too frustrating, on a daily basis, to the point I'm "done" with Suzuki and this car.
The question is how to do this without losing a lot of money. Probably a rhetorical question, but thanks in advance for any tips.
May 22, 2011 (10:13 am)
So you barely scratched 20 miles per gallon while driving it "hard"?
Do you have the CVT? Funny thing is, I knew the gas mileage was a bit below cars in it's class, but not that crazy. I wonder if the manual tranny is that much better.....from what I read the car is pretty peppy with the 6 speed...the suzuki web site states 30mpg highway!
May 22, 2011 (11:46 am)
I have the brand new 2011 automatic CVT with the 6 speed.
Yes, if this car is driven "hard" it will guzzle fuel like water.
However, I did drive it very, very, I mean VERY carefully, and only, but only then the car met its advertised MPG 23 for city.
I'd like to stress out here that driving like that is not what you'd call "average driving" but it is rather a road hazard, plus a lot of other people behind and around you appear to not appreciate the fact that on a posted 35 miles/hr speed limit, I -basically- reach 30 mph when it is about time to brake again for the oncoming traffic light.
Suzuki claims that with "average driving" the SX4 should yield 23 mpg in city driving.
This is far from being the truth.
ONLY if I drive slower than my 80+ year old granny I might get the 23 mpg.
This means keeping the engine around 2,500 rpm while starting off from a complete stop, never going over 3,000 rpm while driving and letting the car coast as much as possible while approaching a red light.
Ignore that and you will be reminded at the next fill-up at the gas pump.
Sorry, but this is not average driving. Not only it is border-line dangerous, it is also distracting while driving to be thinking of all that and it is frustrating to the car driver as well, as to all the other drivers sharing the road.
I though about complaining about that to the dealer I bought it from but they will giving me the usual run-around and I have no time or desire for all that BS.
Guess, I made a mistake (or may be not?) I 'll get my punishment and hopefully I 'll learn my lesson.
#166 of 183 Re: New 2011 SX4 - Pros and Cons [perry99]
May 22, 2011 (12:26 pm)
Sorry, I somehow missed your message, so I wanted to repy:
You say: 1) I agree about the mileage, though I have gotten 30 when I have almost 100% highway. I once even got 32mpg on a tank. But, yes, low 20's is my average in the city.
I never get 30 like you and I drive around 65-68 mph. If I get 27.x I am happy.
You say: 2) Also agree that that A pillar is too big. Just need to lean forward when turning to make sure I see where I'm going on left turns.
But other than the small band where the A pillar is, the view is excellent. You sit up high, the front windshield is huge, and the B and C pillars are very small, giving you excellent view to the side and the back.
Not sure what you mean with B and C pillars, what I know is I'm always scared when turning left that I missed something and that's because of the pillar where the left rear view mirror is attached. Other than that I have no problems with this cars visibility.
You say: 3) Have you seen how little space there is in the back of the car? The AWD takes up extra space, too. The non-AWD has a bigger gas tank. With a car this small, there's only so much room for a gas tank. Other small cars have comparable gas tanks (though, yes, they tend to have better mpg)
This is not an answer to my question but more like trying to exonerate the Japanese engineers. All I am saying is this: Since Suzuki knew MPG is not going to be that great why didn't they try to "squeeze" in a slightly bigger tank?
You say: 4) Sounds like this is problem with your and your highway-mates driving than the car. If you're going the speed limit, no should be tailgaiting you. And why are you blaming the car for tailgaters?
You did not understand what I 'm saying or I did not explain myself well enough: In an attempt to get decent MPG, I have to drive slower that the rest of the traffic. I do reach the posted mph limit but much later than the others. Unfortunately Chicago area drivers are somewhat impatient. Unless I drive faster I am being tailgated constantly. But driving faster means much lower MPG. I just can't win with the SX4.
You say: 5) I've never had a car with manual ON/OFF switch for the cruise control, and that's including a relatively new Mazda3. I think that's pretty common for Japanese cars to not have that.
I disagree with your last statement. My wife's 2011 CR-V does have that. My two previous cars (Mazdas, 626 and Protege5) DID have that, my 1980's Ford Escort L Hatchback DID have that, many, many other cars DO have that. It appears to me that having THAT (it's a convenience feature not a must) requires a more expensive setup with the car's computer. And apparently Suzuki chose to cut corners here as well.
You say: 6) What's wrong with daytime running lights? They only help with safety and don't detract from anything. Again, remember that this is a low-cost car. If they had to make a modification just for the U.S. market, they'd probably have to charge more.
I never said "there is something wrong" with DRL. I questioned why they included that since they are not mandatory in the USA and how about providing the owners with an easy way to decide if they want to keep them ON or (temporarily) disabling them. DRL is undoubtedly a safety feature. My personal opinion is they are good under certain and very specific driving conditions. Driving say in and around a big city (i.e. Chicago and suburbs) DRL are useless. They are a must driving cross country in Canada and the USA and if you live in a state like Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, etc. Since the government says they are not mandatory, YET, I argue that the owner should be given the right to chose or build separate car versions for different markets. But that would be expensive for Suzuki.
You say: 7) My car has an excellent straight track, and I've never experienced any drift as you describe
8) My windshield has held up great with no cracks or dinks or mystery white material..
And I am extremely happy for you! However, and if I sound a bit sarcastic, I apologize, I am mainly concerned about my car not yours.
You say: 9) I find the front seats to be very comfortable. Last summer took a long road trip from Seattle to Montana and loved how comfortable the seats were. I think the seats are more comfortable than the ones I had in my Mazda3.
I feel exactly the opposite. I find, at least the driver's seat, very soft and uncomfortable. The bolsters will not keep me in the seat when turning, the fabric is slippery and I constantly slide forward, even the cable from the heating element is protruding making my ..."behind" hurt. My Protege5 had by far better seats when I bought it 10 years ago.
You say Everyone has their specific needs and considerations. I'm sorry that you've found those specific items that you described to weigh so heavily in your view of the car.
I agree 100%, different people, different needs and considerations. Even identical cars will behave different -somehow don't ask me why- from owner to owner. But I do sincerely thank you for your sympathy.