$15,845 - $20,449

2013 Suzuki SX4 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Suzuki SX4 was new.


Performance: 7.1

Some reviewers think the 2013 Suzuki SX4 has an underpowered engine, a loud continuously variable transmission and a rough ride, but they do like other aspects of its performance, including its accurate steering and strong brakes.

  • "If SX4 is on your shopping list, be sure to try the manual transmission. The cranky CVT saps much of the enjoyment from driving this subcompact." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Powered by a 2.0-liter engine, the SX4 isn't terribly fast, nor does it offer best-in-class fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "This car is by no means a performance-centric ride, but it did get me where I needed to go with few complaints." -- AutoWeek (2011)
  • "A punchy 2.0-liter and eager handling with organic steering make it more fun to putter around in than most competitors. AWD option is a plus." -- Car and Driver (2011, crossover)

Acceleration and Power

All SX4 models have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 150 horsepower with the standard six-speed manual transmission. With the optional continuously variable transmission, the engine produces 148 horsepower. The SX4 sedan averages an EPA-estimated 25/32 mpg city/highway with the CVT, which is low for the class. Crossover models have standard all-wheel drive and average 23/29 mpg with the CVT.

The SX4’s engine receives mixed reviews. One test driver is disappointed with it, saying the engine doesn’t feel as powerful as its horsepower rating suggests because the SX4 is heavy. However, a different reviewer says that the SX4 has enough power for passing and driving on the interstate. Of the two transmissions, reviewers prefer the manual because it is easy to use and improves the SX4’s acceleration. Auto critics dislike the CVT because it’s noisy. One noticed that it caused the engine to shudder and, at times, he feared the engine might stall.

  • "The manual transmission is the one to get. It allows the car to accelerate more quickly than with the CVT and is very easy to drive. We observed some unusual idiosyncrasies with CVT-equipped SX4s. Several examples exhibited the tendency to bog while decelerating or braking. At some points, it felt as though the car would stall when it came to a complete stop. This never happened, but the sensation was unnerving." -- Consumer Guide (front-wheel drive)
  • "With 150 horses under the hood, the … Suzuki SX4 looks good on paper. The reality, however, is that the car's relatively hefty curb weight minimizes whatever advantage the 2.0-liter engine might have to offer." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "Expressway driving and passing were no problem, but I agree with Cindy about how loud this is with the CVT. When accelerating, all I could hear was the buzz of the engine, no matter how cranked up the radio was." -- AutoWeek (2011, Crossover)

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers are impressed with the SX4’s steering. Test drivers say that the steering is sharp, and they appreciate that it’s easy to park the SX4. The brakes also receive positive evaluations from auto journalists, who say they are responsive. Reviewers who complain focus on the SX4’s ride quality, which they say can be harsh over rough roads.

  • "Credit is due to the quick, well-balanced steering and solid body structure. Braking control and pedal feel are better than you might expect from a subcompact car." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Because of their small sizes, all 2013 Suzuki SX4s are easy to maneuver and park." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There's some body roll, but the brakes are responsive and the steering is quick." -- AutoWeek (2011, SX4 Crossover)
  • "Potholes and city streets also brought out the worst in the SX4's ride quality. Bumps and ridges I never knew existed (on some very familiar streets) had the Suzuki bucking like a bronco." -- Road and Track (2011, SportBack SX4)

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