The first thing that jumped out at me when sitting in the Suzuki SX4 was the little front-quarter windows-and from that point on, everything becomes a direct comparison to the Honda Fit.
Both cars are a lot alike, and with the Fit fresh in my mind as I drove, the Suzuki acquitted itself very well. I think the Fit has more style and a somewhat nicer dashboard and gauge cluster, but the SX4 was nice enough, and the controls are clear and easy to use. A simple climate-control system like this one makes me wonder why the hell in the name of technology (or something) everyone else is in a race to unnecessarily turn the A/C switches into some kind of iPod or iDrive. Two knobs-one for temp, one for fan speed-and a few buttons will win with me every time.
I liked the feel of the six-speed, but the engine raced unnecessarily when upshifting as if I were riding the clutch.
Considering what this car is and what it's for, the power is adequate. It did fine in traffic in the 80-mph range, and like the Fit, the visibility and driving position are excellent. This would be a very good city/commuter car.
Overall, I thought this little Suzuki was almost as good as the Fit in nearly every respect, and it became a question of how much more does one need to be willing to spend for the Honda, and is it worth it?
Imagine my surprise when I learned that the Fit is only $75 more expensive, and if you add the (to me, indispensible) iPod interface to the SX4, the Suzuki becomes $75 more than the Honda.
The Suzuki is not as well finished or appointed, is less powerful, and, despite the six-speed, gets appreciably worse fuel economy than the Fit, all for no savings?
I wouldn't rule it out or recommend against this car, and I could see it coming down to a question of personal preference or the warranty for some, but personally, I'd go with the Fit.
Matt Tierney, Art Director