The new kid on the block is the Maruti SX4 diesel, and it promises plenty. It may be no spring chicken; the petrol version has been around since 2007. But it's beautifully engineered; performance and fuel economy are impressive.
The SX4 uses the same 90bhp Multijet diesel unit that powers the Linea. But while the Linea and the SX4 engines use the same hardware, ECU tuning and gearing differ. Maruti is also the first manufacturer to comply with OBD 2 norms that necessitate a constant check on the amount of pollutants emitted by the engine throughout the life of the car. If your car begins to pollute more than it is supposed to, you will be advised to take it to the workshop via a warning on the dashboard. According to Maruti, this is a first for any car produced in India.
The SX4 is impressively silent at idle. The smooth tickover, good insulation and correct mounting of the engine mean refinement levels are good too. Despite being heavy, the SX4’s favourable gearing makes it eager off the line. It takes 13.8 seconds to reach 100kph and it reaches its top speed of 165kph without any problem. In-gear times too are impressive, thanks to the minimal turbo-lag. The engine is free revving and it spins to its 5200rpm redline without any letup in power. The SX4’s gearshift has also been improved significantly with the use of a detent pin. The one-two step usually needed on a Swift or Dzire is no longer needed.
The SX4 diesel’s interiors reveal no significant changes over the petrol model, but these are interiors that work pretty well. Yes, there are a few Swift carryovers like the side vents, steering wheel, gear lever, etc, but there are plenty of good bits too. The fit and finish is very impressive, the chrome highlights look good and the HVAC dials function beautifully too. Also, the driving position is slightly elevated and the front seats are extremely supportive. However, visibility around the ‘A’ pillar is poor and you really have to be vigilant at crossroads.
Rear seat comfort in the SX4 is definitely could have been better. The seating position is nice and high but limited legroom and limited space for the third passenger (due to the high floor tunnel and armrest that protrudes when folded up) marks the Suzuki saloon down.
The suspension on the new SX4 diesel is extremely pliant. Its tall stance means there is plenty of wheel travel and it swallows bad roads easily with very few crashes or thumps being transmitted inside. Stability is decent as well. You just don’t have to slow down for rough patches, and that feels great. There is downside to this soft setup though. There is some amount of pitching over uneven surfaces, especially at the rear, and overall agility isn’t great either.
Fuel efficiency is impressive and the SX4 will return 13.2kpl in the city while on the highway it will give 17.1kpl for every litre of fuel. True to the Maruti brand, the SX4 is an impressive, hassle-free commuter.
The interiors though spacious are not the most comfortable and the interior quality is not the best. But if you want a big, cheap to run and hassle free long distance commuter then the SX4 is a perfect car for you.