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First look: Suzuki reveals its compact 4WD future

Crossover: Suzuki has tagged its new SX4 as the "all-new Sport X-over".

Compact SX4 SUV emerges as the third new-generation model from a resurgent Suzuki

29 Nov 2005

THE next wave of a rejuvenated Suzuki’s global new-model barrage has been revealed in the shape of a compact four-wheel drive built in conjunction with Fiat.

Dubbed SX4 and to be officially announced on Friday, when Fiat will also reveal its version, the small SUV follows the successful release of Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and Grand Vitara SUV this year.

Up to 60,000 examples of the new model will be produced from December by Magyar Suzuki Corporation in Hungary - all of which will be destined for European markets including the UK, where SX4 will be launched following its Geneva motor show debut in March.

Codenamed 196, Fiat’s version will go by the name Sedici and is styled by ItalDesign. Sedici will be official vehicle of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin – the home of Fiat – and a Lancia version is also due to appear in 2008.

However, SX4’s local fate remains unclear as Australia’s Swift and Grand Vitara models are both produced in Japan, where production plans for SX4 are yet to be revealed.

In Europe, SX4 will be available in two distinctly differentiated variants.

The car-like SX4 Urban Line features two-wheel drive and measures 4100mm long, 1730mm wide and 1565mm high.

Meantime, the more rugged SX4 Outdoor Line offers Suzuki’s switchable three-mode all-wheel drive system, which includes 2WD, 4WD Auto and 4WD Lock modes.

Both variants are based on a lengthened version of the Swift’s A platform, with the slightly larger SX4 Outdoor line measuring 1755mm long, 1755mm high and 1620mm high.

Three engines will also be offered in Europe, including 73kW/133Nm 1.5-litre and 79kW/145Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engines (the latter with variable valve timing), plus an 88kW/280Nm 1.9-litre JTD turbo-diesel with particulate filter.

The diesel produces peak power at 3500rpm and maximum torque from 2000rpm. Combined with a six-speed manual transmission, the oil-burning SX4 is claimed to deliver class-leading performance.

According to Suzuki, SX4 is also the only compact SUV to combine diesel power with a six-speed manual and 4WD. The new six-speed manual is not available in petrol SX4s.

Suzuki claims SX4’s chassis has been engineered to offer high levels of torsional and bending rigidity, while highly rigid suspension mounts are also designed to suit European handling tastes.

On the safety front, all SX4s will come standard with ABS and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), while ESP stability control will be available on selected models.

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