For pas­ture or tar driv­ing

BRIAN BAS­SETT drives the wilds of How­ick in the new Suzuki SX4 GLX man­ual

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

RE­CENTLY I spent two weeks in Her­manus, a de­light­ful coastal hol­i­day vil­lage in the Western Cape.

Be­fore leav­ing I drove the new Suzuki SX4 GLX Man­ual cour­tesy of Gary Stokes, dealer prin­ci­pal of Suzuki Fury in the city.

The SX4 has never ap­peared to me to be a par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar car in the Mid­lands, as you do not see many of them.

But as I found in the past two weeks, this is be­cause SX4 own­ers largely hang out in Her­manus.

The SX4 is to Her­manus what the Honda Jazz is to How­ick.

I du­ti­fully took sev­eral pho­to­graphs of SX4 con­voys in the vil­lage with my new dig­i­tal cam­era and then came home, pressed the wrong but­ton and erased all of my hol­i­day pho­to­graphs, which speaks vol­umes about my tech­ni­cal skills.

Styling

The latest SX4 model in­tro­duced in 2014 is much big­ger and bet­ter than its pre­de­ces­sor and has grown up.

It added 16,5 cm to the cabin and 1 cm in width, which does not sound much, but all adds up.

The swept-back lines of the ex­te­rior, ris­ing to a high roofline be­fore cut­ting down to a well-de­signed rear end looks el­e­gant while the re­designed front end with its LED-op­tion head­light clus­ters and fog lights pro­ject an im­age of rugged prac­ti­cal­ity in an en­joy­able aes­thetic.

The side mir­rors fold back and the de­sign is neatly fin­ished off by the 17-inch diamond pol­ished al­loy wheels.

In­te­rior

The in­te­rior is typ­i­cally Suzuki. Sim­ple, ro­bust, easy to use and spa­cious, easily ac­com­mo­dat­ing five adults easily.

The seats fold down rather like those in the Honda Jazz and stor­age space in­creases from a gen­er­ous 463 litres with all seats in place to a mas­sive 1 269 litres with the seats down.

In­te­rior fin­ishes are ex­cel­lent and the seat cov­er­ings will easily shake off the daily wear and tear of the school run and week­ends of moun­tain bik­ing.

The cen­tral stack houses an good six-speaker, MP3 com­pat­i­ble, CD, Aux sound sys­tem with Blue­tooth and an ef­fec­tive air con­di­tioner, which fea­tures a pollen fil­ter.

The win­dows are all elec­tric with child locks at the rear. The three-spoke leather- cov­ered typ­i­cally Suzuki steer­ing wheel is multi-func­tion and han­dles amongst oth­ers ra­dio, cruise con­trol and hands-free phone switches. Driver con­trols are a mix­ture of dig­i­tal and ana­logue, are easy to read and pro­vide all the driver in­for­ma­tion re­quired

Safety and se­cu­rity

The Suzuki SX4 has a five-star Euro Ncap rat­ing, thanks to seven airbags, in­clud­ing a knee bag for the driver for all- round pro­tec­tion.

Hill Hold As­sist, ABS with EBD, an elec­tronic sta­bil­ity pro­gram, with front and rear park­ing sen­sors list among the ac­tive driv­ing aids. No won­der the Her­manus oldies love the car, they can do al­most any­thing stupid and have a good chance of sur­vival! There is also the usual in­ter­nal se­cu­rity sys­tem

with alarm.

Per­for­mance and han­dling

The SX4 is an invit­ing car to drive with a con­fi­dent and com­fort­able ride.

The two-litre en­gine in the pre­vi­ous model has been re­placed by a more re­spon­sive 1,6 litre that makes 86 kW and 156 Nm. The 0-100 km/h dash will take you around 11 sec­onds but the SX4 is made for cruis­ing, not rac­ing and it will take you and your fam­ily al­most any­where you want to go and drink for about 7 l/100 km en route.

Thanks to ground clear­ance of 185 mm (175 mm on the base model), the SX4 easily strad­dles rut­ted Jeep-tracks and is as happy on gravel as it is on tar.

In town the SX4 is easy to ma­noeu­vre in traf­fic and shop­ping cen­tre park­ing lots will never scare you again.

Pric­ing and op­po­si­tion

The en­try model comes in at around R269 000, while the CLX I drove costs around R299 000 and is the model I would rec­om­mend.

The Allgrip (AWD) will cost you R323 000, with an auto gear­box it comes in at R345 000.

There is a 100 000km/three­year man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty and six-year anti-cor­ro­sion cover as well as a three-year 90 000km ser­vice plan and a road­side as­sis­tance plan.

This is small-ute/cross-over mar­ket is heav­ily con­tested and you will do well to also look at the Nissan Qashqai, Re­nault Cap­tur and Peu­geot 2008.

PHOTO: AL­WYN VILJOEN

The Suzuki SX4 is as happy on gravel and grass as it is on tar.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.