Make us your home page
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times staff writers

The Daily Drivers: The 2010 Suzuki SX4 SportBack is a peppy performer

Suzuki is probably not one of the first names to spring to mind when you're considering a subcompact car. But the new SX4 SportBack — now one of four in the SX4 lineup — aims for the sweet spot between economy compact and "hot hatch." That it mostly succeeds is more proof that Suzuki is shedding its pedestrian image.

Appearance: Lyra declared it "cute." That's true, but this hatchback also has an aero body kit that gives it a sporty look — including a spoiler on the hatch — that sets it apart from some other subcompacts in this segment. It also has a lower ride height, standard fog lights and 17-inch spoked alloy wheels.

Performance: Simply put, the SX4 SportBack is fun to drive. The 2.0-liter, 150-horsepower 4-cylinder is peppy, if on the noisy side, like a lot of high-revving small cars. The six-speed manual transmission shifts smoothly and the clutch has just the right feel. Maybe because of its weight — 2,732 pounds — the SportBack feels planted on the road; and it zips through corners courtesy of a sport-tuned suspension. (Circular interstate exits were especially a blast.) The one area we thought it came up a little short — that weight again — comes in the estimated fuel economy of 22/30.

Interior: Up front, the SportBack feels roomy for a subcompact car, with comfortable, well-bolstered seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an armrest (for driver and passenger) in just the right spot. Peter had plenty of headroom. The back seats are, well, a tighter fit. There's lots of plastic — that's to be expected in a car in this price range — but the interior is attractive, with simple, easy-to-read gauges. Some nice standard features include keyless start, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a dash-docked Garmin Nuvi 765 GPS and a nine-speaker, six-CD audio player with MP3. We both especially liked the speed-sensing volume control. Lyra didn't like the small screen of the nav system or that it's mounted on top of the dash. But on the upside, it's portable. With the rear seats up, there's plenty of space for groceries in the cargo area, plus there's a hidden under-deck storage compartment. For larger hauls, fold down the 60/40 split rear seats for even more space.

Safety: We liked its standard four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic stability control and air bag coverage that includes front and rear side-curtains. In addition, the crumple zone and safety cage protect occupants in a crash.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Style: It really does look sportier than most compacts, especially with wider tires and wheels.

Fun: The manual transmission is fun even in city driving.

Power: The 150 horses are more than most small cars.

Lyra Solochek

Peppy drive: This little car has a lot of spirit. It whips around corners effortlessly.

Layout: Simplicity well done. Buttons are easy to reach and understandable.

Price: Lots of fun for the money.

The bottom line: If you're looking for a small car with decent fuel consumption for less than $20,000, but you want more performance than the run-of-the-mill people mover, the SX4 SportBack is worth a look. Watch out, Mini Cooper.

2010 Suzuki SX4 SportBack

Price: $18,734 base, $18,864 as tested

Powertrain: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC, 6-speed manual transmission, FWD.

Horsepower: 150 at 6,200 rpm

Torque: 140 pound-

feet at 4,000 rpm

Seats: 5

Curb weight: 2,732 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 98.4

Length, 162.8

Width, 69.1

Fuel economy:

22 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway

Fuel type: Regular unleaded

Safety features: Air bags and curtains, ABS with electronic brake distribution, brake assist, electronic stability control, crumple zone, passenger safety cage.

Options worth considering: Continuous Variable Transmission

Website: suzuki

The Daily Drivers: The 2010 Suzuki SX4 SportBack is a peppy performer 08/13/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. McMansions, state sewage order on tap at St. Petersburg City Council

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council is set Thursday to vote on two major issues: controversial zoning changes aimed at curbing big McMansion-style homes and a consent order with the state that will require St. Petersburg to fix its ailing sewage system.

    Two big, blocky homes on the 2300 block of Dartmouth, Ave N under construction in April. Several new homes under construction.
in St. Petersburg's Historic Kenwood Neighborhood are too big, residents complain. The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday is set to consider ordinances aimed at curbing the construction of big "McMansions." [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Tom James and wife, Mary, talk about their James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — As a child, businessman and philanthropist Tom James loved cowboy movies, an affinity that would later play out in a vast collection of Western art amassed over the years with his wife, Mary.

    Tom and Mary James at the site of the Tom and Mary James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.
Photo courtesy of Raymond James
  3. A reliable Rick Scott ally, Pete Antonacci, named CEO of Enterprise Florida

    State Roundup

    Pete Antonacci, who last week made headlines when he advised scientists to stay in their lane rather than criticize his water agency's work on Everglades restoration, is getting a new job.

    Pete Antonacci, an attorney seen here in 2009, has served many roles for Gov. Rick Scott: general counsel, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District and now, CEO of Enterprise Florida.  [
COLIN HACKLEY | Special to the Times]
  4. Pinellas County budget on the rise thanks to high property values

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– After another year of growth, Pinellas County commissioners won't have to fight to pay for critical needs in the 2017-2018 budget.

    The Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday learned the first details of its $2.3 billion spending plan for next fiscal year, which includes funding for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Tampa Bay chefs go head to head and Disney Springs gets another James Beard winner

    Food & Dining

    Epic Chef Showdown: Feeding Tampa Bay

    In a shoulder-to-shoulder format cook-off competition, chefs from Parkshore Grill and Mise En Place strove Monday night to become the Epic Chef of Tampa Bay. In this course, using ramen as a mystery box ingredient.