By James Bergeron

2007 Suzuki SX4
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Hatchbacks are all the rage these days in Canada and it is about time! Higher fuel prices in the past couple of years have led to an influx of small vehicles and in particular, fuel efficient vehicles with some cargo capacity in the form of a hatchback. Suzuki has recently released the 2007 SX4, one of very few small vehicles available with all-wheel drive.

2007 Suzuki SX4
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My tester was a JLX model, the top of the line SX4 available to us here in Canada. Equipped with features typically reserved for more expensive and larger vehicles such as: automatic climate control, all-wheel drive, cruise control, AM/FM /6 CD/MP3/WMA player (8 speakers w/subwoofer) and powered and heated mirrors, the JLX model starts at $21,495. My tester added an automatic transmission for an extra $1100.

2007 Suzuki SX4
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The interior of the SX4 is not what you would expect of a vehicle starting at only $15,995. The door panels and dash are extremely well fitted; the radio and climate control do not look tacked-on as an afterthought as so many vehicles in this range are. Although some cost savings can be seen in the thickness of the door panels and some of the plastic bits on the interior, it is visually appealing and well built.

2007 Suzuki SX4
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2007 Suzuki SX4
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The high roof level of the SX4 allows for a higher seating position and an upright windshield for excellent forward visibility. The A-pillars are a little large which restricts visibility around corners, but small windows between the pillars provide extra visibility when required.

The rear seating provides ample leg room for a vehicle of this size, but is lacking in head room. The rear seat is raised a considerable amount, giving back seat drivers a good view of the road ahead, but anyone over 5′ 10″ will be cramped for head room.

2007 Suzuki SX4
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The ratio of cargo capacity to footprint is one of the strong features of a compact hatchback design. The Suzuki is no different: with its higher roof line and wide rear opening, large objects fit with ease. The only questionable design decision is the 60/40 split rear seats that do not fold flat into the floor like many of its competitors. Instead, the seats flip forward which increases the overall height of the cargo area but reduces its length a great deal.

2007 Suzuki SX4
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So …. how does it drive? Well, very well actually. Not only does it not look like a vehicle in the $15,995 price range, it does not feel like one on the road either. The drivetrain feels seamless and the 2.0L engine, with 143hp and 136lb-ft of torque, feels powerful enough to move this little guy around without issue.

The only time I felt wanting for more power was when merging with highway traffic. The automatic transmission tends to up-shift quite rapidly and as a result, the transmission rarely in an optimal gear for acceleration. If you are in a hurry you will need to be prepared to floor the accelerator to get a downshift and all the power you paid for.

2007 Suzuki SX4
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On the highway the Suzuki feels very well planted and larger than it really is. Noise is kept to a minimum with the engine turning approximately 2300rpm at highway speeds. Wind noise was a little more apparent in the Suzuki than some of its competitors such as the Honda Fit, but by no means is it intrusive.

With my short time behind the wheel of the Suzuki SX4 I was unable to test the AWD capabilities; this feature would be best tested come winter when difficult traction scenarios may be encountered. I was lucky enough – or possibly unlucky enough – to have a chance to test out the climate control / heater system in the SX4 and can say it works extremely well. Personally, I love the set it and forget capabilities of automatic climate control.

Suzuki certainly has provided Canadians with another excellent choice in the sub-compact hatchback arena and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you failed to test drive this little wonder in your pursuit of a vehicle in this category.

2007 Suzuki SX4 JLX
MSRP as tested: $22,595.00

For more information on Suzuki and the SX4 visit Suzuki Canada

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