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Maruti Suzuki SX4 Zxi (Old)

31st Aug 2009 7:00 am

Maruti's new baby is the temptress you can't stop thinking about

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  • Make : Maruti Suzuki
  • Model : SX4

The SX4 saloon’s design evolution is quite unique. We've seen several hatch-based saloons in the past, but as crossover-based saloons go, this is a first. Designed by Guigiarro and ITAL Design, the SX4 was actually developed as a crossover whose platform is shared by Fiat and Suzuki. For developing markets like India and China, however, a sedan version of the same was penned too. A lot of crossover is visible in the SX4’s styling. The massive wheel wells built to accommodate 16 wheels with high-profile tyres, tall upright windscreen, massive widescreen mirrors and the upright seating position of the passengers. For a design that started life as a crossover, the SX4 doesn't do too badly as far as looks are concerned. Apart from the oversized wheels which look out of proportion, the design is well balanced and the sloping nose and beltline give it a jacked-up-from-the-rear dragster look. The headlights wrap around onto the fenders, there are big front wheel arches and the integration of the rear of the car is well executed and in line with the design of the nose as well. A stylistic touch is the way the front quarter glass dips down into the beltline.

The SX4 has a transversely-mounted motor and an independent MacPherson strut at the front and non-independent torsion beam at the rear. It uses electric power steering system and has a massive 500-litre boot. The SX4 is built on a modified Swift platform and this means it shares a lot of parts, particularly suspension and steering systems. ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution(EBD) is standard on the ZXi as is front airbags..

Step into the SX4 you’ll feel like you are sitting one floor higher than in most other saloons. This is not a bad thing as it makes getting in and out really easy, thanks to the high seats. Visibility from this lofty perch is good too but the thick A-pillar does mar vision around corners.

If you have upgraded from a Swift to an SX4, you will find yourself in familiar surroundings. The steering wheel, power window buttons, air con vents, some switchgear and the gear stick are carried over. The interiors are a mix of black and chrome highlights. The pair of chrome strips that straddle the centre console look attractive and the chrome-ringed air con controls also look good and function well. 

The SX4 also inherits the Swift's flimsy build. A nice touch, however, is the fact that there is space to store a bottle in all four door pockets and that this car can be bought with leather seats. While the SX4 is generously equipped, the materials used don’t have a quality feel, including the factory-fitted leather trim.

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) mark the Suzuki saloon down.

The SX4’s setup on the other hand is too stiff to be comfortable at low and medium speeds. It gets skittish over mildly rutted roads and every small bump puts you offline and causes a tiny steering effect. In addition you feel the additional unsprung mass of those large tyres and wheels. 

But apart from this, SX4's set-up for Indian roads is pretty good. It has the ability to ride over some of our worst roads without giving its occupants a pogo ride. Poor section of the roads are no longer intimidating and you can drive over them, confident in the knowledge that the suspension is up to the job. There’s massive torque steer and the inconsistent steering feedback forces you to constantly make corrections under hard acceleration. It’s not all that bad though.

The SX4 has the best ground clearance, so you can confidently sail over bad patches. The tall dimensions means there is a considerable amount of body roll but there’s plenty of grip from the very wide 205/60 R16 tyres. For everyday driving, the SX4 proves to be one of the most practical options, not giving a second glance to speedbreakers or potholes. In traffic as well, the SX4’s height is a huge advantage and gives you a psychological edge in the cut and thrust of urban driving.

Maruti Suzuki SX4 Zxi (Old)
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