The "Classic Motor Sport Tour" includes visits to Goodwood Revival, Donington Grand Prix Collection, Grand Prix Historique de la Vienne, Manoir de L'Automobile and Museum de L'Automobile at Le Mans and, for a farewell dinner, Atelier Renault on Champs Elysees. Also included are city tours of London and Paris, Classic Team Lotus Works tour and Brands Hatch race master (with an opportunity of a drive in a high performance Renault). This great tour includes return economy air fares, departure tax, transfers, 13 breakfasts, 3 dinners and 13 nights accommodation.

See the brochure for more details ..... here.

Bookings close 25th June, 2008.

Sheryl Poulter
at Preston Travel on
(03) 9470.4737 for enquiries and bookings.

..... more

Elvis Festival
2008 Elvis Festival

Road Test

Suzuki SX4 AWD hatch

by Ken Walker

13th April, 2008

Suzuki SX4 hatch 
Click on the image for a larger view

This time the intrepid Next Car team took a look at Suzuki's replacement for the Liana. Known as the SX4, the hatch looks a lot like a small off-roader, but it isn't. Although this new model is available with all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, we sample two examples of the all-wheel drive version.

The new Suzuki SX4 is one of a growing number of 'soft-roaders' that have become common place on Australian roads. This little gem is a welcome addition to our motoring scene.

We test the new Suzuki SX4 all-wheel drive hatchback with, both, 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions. Apart from the transmission options, both vehicles are identical.

Externally, the paintwork is flawless and the body panels fitted very neatly with even gaps all around to a produce an overall package that meets our expectations from the Japanese firm that has a reputation as good as any other.

The design allows for excellent vision, although a tall driver may find the ‘A’ pillar can obstruct some vision when looking to the right at approximately 45°.

Fog lights are a standard fitment in the front bumper and alloy rims fitted with 205/60R16 highway tread tyres are also standard. Electric adjustable mirrors are fitted externally on the front doors, 2 speed variable intermittent wipers on the front screen with a single speed intermittent wiper on the rear screen.

To stop the SX4, disc brakes are fitted all round with the front disc being ventilated. The ABS braking system also includes electronic brake distribution (EBD) and brake assist system (BAS).

Driving the dark blue metallic (Nocturne Blue Metallic) Suzuki SX4 AWD automatic around Melbourne and the suburbs with a side trip to Ballarat, we travelled 412 kms consuming 39 litres of fuel from the 45 litre fuel tank. Suzuki claim 9.5l/100 kms but this was not checked as our consumption was an estimate. The measuring standard used by Suzuki for fuel consumption is the same standard used by the industry at large.

Suzuki SX4 hatch 
Click on the image for a larger view

The light blue metallic (Ocean Blue Metallic) manual version of the new SX4 AWD was driven around Sydney and Newcastle. For this assignment, we managed to clocked up approximately 750 kms.

Suzuki advise 8.4L/100 kms is the expectation for the fuel consumption for the manual. With steady, careful driving these figures do seem to be in the realms of the probable.

The SX4 AWD is very well behaved and quite predictable on smooth bitumen surfaces. Even rough corrugated gravel roads did little to faze the SX4, no bottoming out of the suspension and the 200 mm ground clearance was ample and, in fact, not really required on the roads we travelled. Rough and tough bush tracks were not attempted by the Next Car team. As indicated, the SX4 AWD is a soft-roader and it has, positioned between the front seats, a 3 way switch which controls the intelligent All Wheel Drive (i-AWD) system. The wheels can be held in 2WD, meaning that the power is supplied only to the front wheels, or 4WD Auto meaning power is supplied automatically to any wheel to maintain traction. The remaining position is AWD Lock, which means that the power is supplied equally to all 4 wheels. This system is driven through 2 differentials.

Internally, the Suzuki SX4 AWD have 2 front SRS airbags, side airbags, curtain airbags, the almost mandatory cup holders (2 front, 2 rear), AM/FM stereo radio and a single in-dash CD player with 8 speakers, front and rear power windows, remote keyless entry, keyless ignition (more on that later), climate controlled air conditioning (just set it to your preferred temperature and forget all about it) and power steering.

Now back to the keyless ignition system. This is an electronic system with a chip in the key (such as it is) which controls the central locking system, engine immobiliser and it also starts the engine. The key must be located close to the dash facia, I left it in one of the front cup holders. This permits a signal to be transmitted to the computer and thus it starts the engine when the ignition switch is turned. It's a little fiddly until the driver becomes accustomed to it.

The seats are trimmed with fabric, offering good support and comfort for either a short or long trip. Height adjustment is standard on the drivers’ seat. Cruise control switches and audio controls are found on the steering wheel, so the driver does not need to divert his/her eyes to the radio console area. Courtesy lights operate on all 5 doors and there are vanity mirrors on both internal sun visors. Also available, for stowing valuables out of sight, is a small slide out tray under the front passenger seat. It is very handy indeed. When the 60/40 split rear seats are occupied with passengers, the head restraints need to be raised and in this position the view to the rear through the internal rear-view mirror is somewhat obstructed.

The rear cargo area is quite good when the rear seat is up and cavernous with the back seat folded down.

Suzuki SX4 hatch 
Click on the image for a larger view

Mechanically, the 2.0 litre engine develops 107 kW of power at 5,800 rpm and 184 Nm at 3,500 rpm; this in turn produces quite lively and spirited performance. Suspension at the front is MacPherson strut and coil spring. The rear end is supported by a torsion beam and coil springs. An extremely comfortable ride is the result from this well proven suspension set-up.

Suzuki Australia has about 20 optional items available for buyers to personalise their SX4 AWD. For example, metallic paint is optional for a low $300.

The warranty on the Suzuki SX4 AWD is for 3 years/100,000 kms with roadside assistance included (conditions apply, of course).

This delightful piece of machinery, was enjoyed (in both the automatic and manual transmission variants) by the Next Car team because of the many qualities mentioned above. And we'll have a 'run' in the new Suzuki SX4 sedan too. It will be the subject of road test report in the near future.

Motorists looking for value and wanting the flexibility of this neat hatchback, plus the safety and/or security of the all-wheel drive system, will enjoy the Suzuki SX4 AWD which has a recommended retail price from $24,390 (plus $2,000.00 for automatic transmission).

Click on an image for a larger view

Other Suzuki content: here.

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