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Suzuki hatchback goes off-road

13 July 2005

Suzuki is preparing to introduce a new twist on the light Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) next spring.

Suzuki SX4 is likely to cost from around £10,000

Suzuki is preparing to introduce a new twist on the light Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) next spring.

The SX4 is similar in size to a Ford Fusion but offers the option of four-wheel drive that can be selected on the move with the flick of a switch.

Suzuki will also build a near-identical model for Fiat. Both versions will have 1.5- or 1.6-litre Suzuki petrol engines or a 1.9-litre Fiat turbodiesel.

Suzuki’ line-up will probably start with an entry-level 1.5 with front-wheel drive, while the 1.6 and the diesel will get the selectable four-wheel-drive system.

This allows you to run the car as an economical front-drive hatchback in normal driving, select four-wheel drive for slippery roads or mild off-roading, or choose an automatic setting, which varies the drive according to road conditions.

The SX4 is based on a stretched version of Suzuki’ Swift supermini but has a much higher roofline and almost as much ground clearance as the Grand Vitara large 4x4.

Its smart, modern exterior was styled with the help of designer Giugiaro in Italy, while the orderly cabin has ample space for four, or five at a pinch, and family-hatchback versatility. It’s not as flexible as the likes of the Renault Modus or Vauxhall Meriva, however.

With a kerb weight of between 1130kg and 1365kg, and power outputs starting at just under 100bhp and rising to 120bhp for the diesel, it delivers decent performance and should be fairly economical.

Expect prices to start at around £10,000 for a 1.5 and rise to nearer £14,000 for a top-of-the-range diesel.

Fiat has yet to make any announcement about the name and line-up of its version of the car.

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