Off in the sad, fat kid corner is the SX4 sedan which is so frumpily styled it looks like it fell out of an Etch-a-Sketch. While rental car agencies love the sedan versions, if you are a private buyer you will no doubt prefer the utility and European charm of the hatchback version. So lets try to figure out why Suzuki split the adorable SX4 hatchback into two separate models.
First off there is the SX4 Sportback model which starts at $17,949 fully equipped with standard navigation, automatic climate control, power windows, locks, keyless go, ABS, a multitude of airbags, traction control, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls and an 8 speaker audio system with 6 CD changer and a subwoofer. The only options left are iPod integration, Bluetooth and an automatic CVT transmission. Not a bad deal for a sturdy little hatchback that gets 22 city/30 highway, now is it?
So what is left off the Sportback that makes the Crossover worthwhile for purchasing at all? Well, it is now the only model available with AWD and that is only on the top line model which tops out at $20,814. It is also odd that things that are standard in the Sportback wind up costing you much more to have in the new Crossover.
Suzuki was obviously trying to create a stripped out Crossover variant that cost around $15K but instead all Suzuki has now are two competing ranges of the same car that merely have different names and cost different prices. But the real question is why don't they just have an SX4 Sportback with all the options standard and make all-wheel drive and automatic be the two big choices customers have to make? Simplicity is what often drives a strong economy and right now Suzuki could use some simple economy quite desperately now.
This naming issue with the SX4 isnt so much bad badge engineering so much as how complicated can we make this so people will flee Suzuki dealers in absolute frustration? Isn't it so much easier at Honda when they just offer you an LX or EX? Manual or Automatic? Thank you, we will take your money now please.
A note to Suzuki: Your SX4 is a wonderful little runabout and I applaud that you offer it with both AWD and navigation. Your new interior materials look sturdy and the dashboard has somewhat of a French flair to it (not meaning shoddily built, just stylish and organic looking). By adding this complicated pricing hierarchy it makes it nigh on impossible for a person to go to a Suzuki dealer, pick their color and transmission and hit the road. Really guys, it should be that simple. As simple as those front seat center armrests you had installed this year (could you imagine a better road trip car?)