June 5, 2012
2008 Suzuki SX4 Sport sedan (left) and 2012 SX4 Sport sedan. Click image to enlarge
|Test Drive: 2010 Suzuki SX4 hatchback
Test Drive: 2008 Suzuki SX4 Sport sedanManufacturer’s web site
Review and photos by Michael Schlee
In the automotive world there is no greater debate when it comes to purchasing a car than new versus used. The two camps are split on which offers the most for a consumer. Sure, a used car will be cheaper than a new one and offer more vehicle for the dollar, but a new car gives the buyer the peace of mind only a warranty and a vehicle that is 100 percent brand new (and mechanically sound) can offer. No matter which camp you side with, it is obvious that either option has its advantages and in the end it all comes down to someone’s personal preferences and priorities.
But that won’t stop us from adding a little fuel to the fire. We want to dive deeper into this debate and see if a used vehicle’s superior value outweighs a new vehicle’s improvements and peace of mind. To conduct this test we have assembled two Suzuki SX4s. Despite an age gap of five years between the two SX4s, they are the exact same trim, the Sport Sedan, and the same model generation.
Top: 2012 Suzuki SX4 Sport sedan; bottom: 2008 SX4 Sport sedan (left) and 2012 SX4 Sport. Click image to enlarge
We choose this vehicle for a few reasons. First, over the five years the SX4 Sport Sedan has been on the Canadian market, Suzuki has continually made improvements to the vehicle, adding content or fixing known issues. Second, despite these changes, the SX4 Sport Sedan still looks exactly the same from the outside, except for the addition of a trunk spoiler, thus taking away any subjective exterior preference rationale for choosing new over used. The final reason for selecting this oddball vehicle is the simple fact that my wife owns one.
Bought new in January 2008, our SX4 has been driven by us, sparingly, since day one and has just eclipsed 55,000 km on the odometer. Properly maintained since day one, the only item we have replaced besides oil are the front brake pads and rotors; no repairs, warranty work or accidents have befouled our little white Suzuki.
Released in the winter of 2007–2008, Suzuki brought to market a sedan version of their SX4 hatchback. Unlike their hatchback though, the sedan version was not available with all-wheel drive. In Canada, the SX4 sedan was available in two trims: base and Sport Sedan. The Sport Sedan added options like 17-inch wheels with 205/50R17 Dunlop tires, 6-CD changer, automatic climate control, skirt package, fog lights, steering wheel–mounted audio buttons and a 7-speaker stereo system with driver’s seat–mounted sub-woofer. Purchase price for the 2008 SX4 Sport Sedan was $18,995 plus roughly $1,000 for the 4-speed automatic transmission and $1,250 destination charges.
All SX4s at that time were powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine making 143 hp and 136 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices were a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic. At a relatively short 4510 mm in length, the SX4 Sedan came standard with a massive 439 L trunk; that is bigger than every sedan in our recent compact car shootout, save for the bulbous VW Jetta, which only has 1 L more capacity.
Despite its light 1268 kg curb weight, the SX4 was never overly fuel efficient. In 2008 it was officially rated at 9.2 L/100 km city and 6.5 L/100 km highway. Over the life of our 2008 SX4 we have achieved an average of 9.3 L/100 km.