Suzuki's SX4 has done some serious growing up in its second iteration, just launched in South Africa. Not only does it look like a proper crossover now, but it's also taken a significant stretch in dimension.
Sized to compete directly with the likes of Nissan's Qashqai, the all-new SX4 has grown 165mm in length and 10mm in width while the 100mm-longer wheelbase enabled Suzuki to significantly increase the quantity of rear legroom.
Depending on the model chosen, the new SX4 offers a ground clearance of between 175mm and 180mm. It's offered in both front-wheel drive and 'AllGrip' all-wheel drive guises, with the latter offering four driving modes: Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock.
Yet despite the fact that the new model is bigger, Suzuki has actually given it a smaller and less powerful engine, the previous 2-litre unit making way for a 1.6-litre that musters just 86kW at 6000rpm and 156Nm at 4400rpm.
There is at least an economy advantage, with Suzuki claiming a combined consumption of 5.8 l/100km in 2WD guise. Most models are fitted with a five-speed manual box, but GLX models can be ordered with a continuously variable transmission.
Having attended the SX4's Joburg launch, Jesse Adams of our sister publication Star Motoring insists that the manual is the better bet as the CVT whines monotonously when asked for anything more than pedestrian pace.
Yet of bigger concern is that that the 1.6-litre engine struggles for pace at altitude: “Either way, the car chugs along with middle-lane adequacy but pretty much all of its market rivals offer healthier outputs.”
The only consolation is that its pricing undercuts rivals, starting at R265 900 for the GL model and working its way towards the mid-300s if you want the high-spec GLX and all-wheel drive.
The GL is hardly short-changed on the features front, this base model being equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a four-speaker MP3/CD/USB audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and steering controls, multi-function trip computer and electric windows front and rear.
The GLX adds 17-inch rims along with numerous metallic silver exterior garnishes, HID headlights with LED running lamps, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, dual zone climate control, keyless button start, parking sensors, two extra speakers and reclining rear seats.
Aftersales backup comes in the form of a three-year/100 000km warranty and three-year/90 000km service plan.
1.6 GL - R265 900
1.6 GLX - R295 900
1.6 GLX CVT - R318 900
1.6 GLX AWD - R319 900
1.6 GLX CVT AWD - R341 900