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2009 Suzuki SX4 Crossover Navigates Its Way Into Automotive History Review

November 2008
Filed under: SUZUKI Car News | SUZUKI Headlines
In 2009, the award-winning, economical, five-door Suzuki SX4 Crossover is America™s most affordable all-wheel-drive vehicle for the third year in a row. The feature-packed SX4 Crossover, which provides the platform for Suzuki™s World Rally Championship (WRC) effort, is the perfect expression of the Suzuki brand DNA: enjoyable to drive but admirably frugal; a compact footprint outside but roomy and versatile inside; easy to afford but equipped like a vehicle in a higher segment.

SX4 Crossover Key Features:
* 2.0-Liter, four-cylinder, DOHC engine delivers 143 hp @ 5800 rpm
* Combines numerous amenities and five-door functionality in a stylish package to fit life enthusiasts' daily transportation needs and wants
* Available three-mode, intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system sends power to rear wheels depending on slippage for optimum fuel efficiency
* Lowest priced All-Wheel-Drive vehicle sold in the United States starting at $15,289
* The SX4 Crossover with manual transmission gets revised gear ratios for more dynamic performance
* Roof rails and 60/40 split-folding rear seats offer major cargo-hauling capacity
* Available AM/FM/MP3 in-dash six-disc CD changer with nine speakers
* Extensive list of safety features, including front, side, and side curtain airbags , ABS with electronic brake-force distribution
* Backed by America's #1 Warranty: 100,000-miles/seven-year, fully transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty

Additional enhancements and revised option packages for the 2009 SX4 Crossover further accentuate Suzuki™s reputation for developing fun-to-drive vehicles offering a surprising level of performance and amenities at a value-oriented price.

SX4 Crossover customers have a choice between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, with the vehicle™s advanced and effective three-mode Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive (i-AWD) system costing a fraction of what an AWD system typically adds to the MSRP of comparable vehicles. Consistent with other Suzuki crossovers and SUVs, the 2009 SX4 Crossover receives standard ESP. The front-wheel-drive version of the 2009 SX4 Crossover also stakes out a small piece of automotive history as the first vehicle priced below $16,000 to include a standard fully integrated navigation system.

The internationally flavored five-door hatchback design makes the SX4 Crossover stand apart, while sporty chassis tuning and now-standard ESP help keep it on track through all kinds of driving conditions. Its high, in-command seating position gives the driver ease of entry and exit and combines with a low beltline for excellent all-around visibility, allowing drivers and passengers to experience the world around them.

Sensibly priced option packages add features that are commonly found in the small SUV and CUV segments, including SmartPass keyless entry and start, heated front seats and automatic climate control. As with all retail 2009 Suzuki automobiles and light trucks, the SX4 Crossover is backed by America™s #1 Warranty: a 100,000-mile/seven-year, fully transferable, zero-deductible powertrain limited warranty.

New Navigation System Unlike Any Other

The SX4 Crossover front-wheel-drive variant breaks new ground as the only vehicle in its category to come with a standard, fully integrated navigation system. Referred to as the Suzuki TRIP (Travel, Real-time traffic, Information and Play), the SX4™s navigation system is the result of a collaboration with Garmin. It utilizes Navteq mapping software and comes preloaded with street maps that feature millions of points-of-interest, such as hotels, restaurants, gasoline stations, ATMs and Suzuki dealership locations throughout the country. The navigation unit includes a flip-up 4.3-inch touch-screen display and is fully integrated into the vehicle™s audio system, which results in all navigation commands being channeled through the SX4™s speakers.

An available upgraded Suzuki TRIP system also offers Bluetooth hands-free calling technology and a number of available MSN Direct-enabled features, including real-time traffic, weather forecasts, news reports, stock quotes, local event finder and a gas station finder capable of locating the lowest priced fuel in town.

Suzuki also added a bit of brand essence to the system, programming lifestyle-oriented destinations and landmarks identified with a Suzuki Way of Life! icon on the navigation screen. Locations include hip music venues, popular surf spots, interesting road trip attractions and other activity-focused destinations. A Travel Guide expansion module also is available that provides Fodor reviews and recommendations for restaurants, hotels, shopping, nightlife, sporting events and other tourist attractions.

Powertrain: Robust, Responsive and Ready

Suzuki™s confidence in its extended powertrain warranty is rooted in a long heritage of engineering for performance and durability. Consider the SX4 engine™s construction: aluminum cylinder block and head, chain-driven double overhead camshafts, a forged steel crankshaft, aluminum pistons on drop-forged connecting rods, a high 10.5:1 compression ratio, a resin intake manifold and variable induction system.

A sophisticated Suzuki-developed 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC engine powers the SX4 Crossover, producing 143 horsepower and 136 lb.-ft. of torque and providing a pleasantly eye-opening driving experience. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a specially tuned four-speed automatic transmission is available. The front-wheel-drive 2009 SX4 Crossover with automatic transmission returns EPA fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg/city and 30 mpg/highway, and the go-anywhere, weather-proof, all-wheel-drive version of the vehicle delivers 21 mpg/city and 28 mpg/highway.

Dynamic Handling and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive

A rigid steel unibody with reinforced suspension mounts allows for crisp handling with excellent highway stability and minimal body roll in the SX4 Crossover. Standard 16-inch alloy wheels and large four-wheel disc brakes help ensure optimal grip and stopping performance.

Engineered from concept to be all-wheel-drive capable, the SX4 Crossover with Suzuki™s three-mode i-AWD system evokes and promotes a natural sense of heartfelt enthusiasm that springs spontaneously from the heart and the gut. The i-AWD system employs an electronically controlled coupling device mounted in front of the rear differential. The driver uses a console switch to choose the best mode for the driving situation. The 2WD mode dedicates power to the front wheels for optimum fuel economy in high-traction conditions. In AWD Auto mode, up to 50 percent of torque is automatically apportioned to the rear wheels when pronounced front wheel slippage occurs. The AWD Lock setting sends 30-50 percent of torque as needed to the rear wheels for optimum traction in slippery conditions. The system automatically switches back from AWD Lock to AWD Auto mode at speeds above 36 mph.

Built for Safety

Active class-leading safety features in the SX4 Crossover include the newly standard ESP with traction control, daytime running lights, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system and electronic brake-force distribution and a tire pressure monitoring system. Together with the traction control system, ESP helps ensure vehicle stability when cornering, accelerating, driving on slippery road conditions or conducting emergency maneuvers.

Passive safety starts with a reinforced body with front and rear crumple zones designed to help absorb impact energy. Six airbags are standard, including driver and front passenger advanced frontal airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags designed to provide additional protection for outboard front- and rear-seat passengers. Front three-point seatbelts with pretensioners integrate force limiters.

The SX4 Crossover also is equipped with ISO FIX-compliant child seat anchors and the LATCH system (Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children). Together, all of this safety equipment makes the SX4 Crossover one of the best-equipped vehicles in its class with respect to safety.

The Italian Side of the Family

Suzuki worked with legendary Italian design house Italdesign to make the SX4 Crossover distinctive yet functional. The fresh design expresses a bold attitude that appeals to buyers seeking a small car that stands apart without resorting to clichéd styling elements. The low, rising beltline and triangular windows adjacent to the A-pillar give the SX4 Crossover a distinct wedge profile. Front and rear silver bumper cover plates, black fender flare moldings, roof rails, a wide track and strong fender design convey traction and agility. An array of more than 50 Suzuki accessories allows customers to personalize the SX4 Crossover and enhance its utility.

Controls in the SX4 Crossover are refreshingly straightforward in an age when some carmakers are adding needless complexity. The center panel™s large, circular controls are flanked by aluminum-colored trim. Drivers have a clear view of the gauges that seem to float as they are backlit by contemporary, high-tech red lighting.

The SX4 Crossover™s efficiently designed interior provides comfort for five, with generous front and rear legroom and shoulder room, freeing the driver and passengers to enjoy the ride. Rear-seat passengers enjoy nearly 36 inches of legroom and 37.6 inches of headroom, on par with some midsize sedans. Wide door openings allow easy access, and raised theater-style seating enhances the roomy, airy feeling for the rear passengers. Luggage room is an impressive 10 cu.-ft. and increases to 54 cu.-ft. with the standard rear 60/40 split-folding seats folded. The second-row seats also can tumble forward for maximum cargo capacity. Storage compartments are located throughout the cabin and all the doors feature large pockets and bottle holders.

Trim Levels and Packages

The SX4 Crossover is one of the best-equipped vehicles in the segment, inviting comparison with small SUVs and CUVs costing far more. Standard features include power windows, locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 XM Satellite Radio-ready audio system, tilt steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, trip computer, fender flares, and roof rails. In addition, the front-wheel-drive version of the SX4 Crossover model comes equipped with an integrated navigation system as standard equipment.

The Technology package adds cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with steering-wheel-integrated audio controls and an upgraded navigation system.

The Touring package (available on AWD models only) adds automatic climate control, SmartPass keyless entry and start system, heated side mirrors, six-disc in-dash CD changer and premium audio system with nine speakers (including subwoofer) and heated front seats, a rarity among compacts. A rear spoiler, fog lamps and aluminum color roof rails distinguish a Touring package exterior.

Both the standard and optional audio systems are XM Satellite Radio-capable, and an accessory iPod interface is available. A connected iPod works seamlessly through the radio and the steering-wheel-integrated controls, with playlists and track information appearing on the audio display.

About Suzuki

The Brea, Calif.,-based Operations of American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) was founded in 1963 by parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) and currently markets its vehicles in the United States through a network of approximately 500 automotive dealerships and numerous other motorcycle, ATV and marine distributors in 49 states. With global headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan, SMC is a diversified worldwide automobile, motorcycle, and outboard motor manufacturer. In 2007, SMC sold more than two million new cars and trucks and more than three million motorcycles and ATVs. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has operations in 193 countries and regions.

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