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Future models - Suzuki - SX4

Suzuki to send Liana bush

Moves afoot: Current Liana may get 2.3-litre power, and may make way for a next-generation crossover version dubbed SX4.

Suzuki's SX4 crossover wagon, due in 2007, redirects Liana toward the tall timber

15 Aug 2005

SUZUKI will replace its Liana small car with an all-new four-wheel drive wagon known as the SX4.

Due to appear late next year, the five-door wagon-style hatchback will be a high-riding all-terrain vehicle in the size and vein of the first-generation Toyota Rav4.

Suzuki has yet to officially sanction the SX4 name, electing to refer to it for the time being as the "New Crossover".

The vehicle will also spawn a more conventional three-box "notchback" sedan known internally as the "New Sport Sedan".

Expect to see the SX4 in the first quarter of 2007, after an unveiling at the Paris motor show in October 2006. The sedan will follow soon after.

Like the Swift, the SX4 and Sport Sedan are to be built in Hungary as well as Japan, and are primarily aimed at the European market.

Hence, the SX4 will include a Fiat-sourced 1.9-litre, direct-injection, four-cylinder turbo-diesel JTD engine. This will make it the smallest 4WD in the world with a turbo-diesel engine.

Three four-cylinder petrol units - in 1.8-litre, 2.0-litre and 2.3-litre capacities - are also expected to be offered. However, only the latter two are destined for Australian consumption.

A Fiat-badged version will also appear.

According to Suzuki Motor Corporation board member and head of overseas marketing, Hirotaka Ono, a unique four-wheel drive system has been devised for the SX4 to set it apart from its rivals.

Drive will be sent to the front wheels on base-model cars, while more expensive versions will feature all-wheel drive, with a power distribution ratio of 60:40 front-to-rear.

Mr Ono said this was a break from more conventional front-wheel drive-derived 4WD systems by rival manufacturers, who generally elect an 80:20 front-to-rear drive bias.

The Italdesign-Giugiaro Group has been involved in the design - Giorgetto Giugiaro is famous for his work on the first Volkswagen Golf, Alfa Romeo Alfasud and Fiat Uno - although the SX4 will share similar stylistic points with the smaller Swift.

The outsourcing of the styling was due to stretched engineering resources and the relatively tight schedule Suzuki is working under.

The SX4 is also expected to be the vehicle with which Suzuki officially enters the World Rally Championship in 2008 or 2009.

A decision has not been made on which model or configuration will be used, as both the rally plans and the car to carry them are still under development at Suzuki.

However, this does not mean the end of the company's involvement in the Junior WRC campaign. It will pass the just-unveiled Swift Super 1600 car on for privateers to race.

Meanwhile, the current Liana may get 2.3-litre power. The four-cylinder engine - slated for US consumption - is being investigated by Suzuki Australia.

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