Drive Type: 4x4
Newburgh, Indiana, United States
Despite the fact that the coffin has been sealed on Suzuki's US automotive arm, the brand is carrying on elsewhere in the world. The first new product to spearhead the Japanese automaker's product offerings in Europe is this SX4 crossover, making its official debut here at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. You may remember the little SX4 as the cheapest all-wheel-drive car on sale in the US, packing cute styling and efficient, affordable packaging. And it doesn't appear that the formula has changed too much for this new generation, despite what we think are less attractive new duds derived from Suzuki's 2012 S Cross Concept.
The new SX4 is powered by a choice of two 1.6-liter engines - one diesel, one petrol - the former mated to a six-speed manual transmission while the latter uses a CVT with a "seven-speed manual mode" operated by steering wheel-mounted paddles. All-wheel drive remains intact on the SX4, now with four driver-selectable modes and the Allgrip name.
Suzuki is touting the SX4 as having the world's first double sliding glass sunroof, offering "the largest opening areas" in the segment. Overall, the updated interior looks nicely designed and quite functional, though not exactly a shining beacon of refinement.
The car you see above is, according to China Car Times, the facelifted Suzuki SX4 crossover. We've always had a soft spot for the SX4, so the fact that it's finally getting a significant update makes us a wee bit sad - after all, Suzuki just announced late last year that it's leaving the US market, so we'll never get this upgraded little 'ute on our shores.
Changes we can see include aggressively resculpted lighting units, interesting mold lines on the front bumper cap, redesigned air intakes and unique trim fillets on the doors.
At least we can take solace in the fact that there apparently aren't any significant alterations under the new bodywork, so our crop of used SX4s should be just as capable out on the road. In China, Suzuki's 1.6- and 1.8-liter four-cylinder engines are expected to carry over to the new year, along with the current model's CVT and manual drivelines.
It had been planned for 2014 but it's going to be 2015 instead - that's when Suzuki returns to the manufacturer ranks of MotoGP after quitting the series at the end of 2011 because of The Great Recession. When Suzuki stopped after 37 continuous years of racing, it said it intended to return three years later and it has been in talks with MotoGP's rights holder, Dorna Sports, since last year. No doubt, though, that fan anticipation of the team's return outdoes any dismay at the delay. It will join Yamaha, Honda and Ducati in the premiere league.
Its bike has already been testing in Japan and was with the official MotoGP tribe in Barcelona, Spain on Monday when Suzuki announced its return. It's said the development bike is called the XRH-1, being ridden by official tester Randy de Puniet (who currently races in MotoGP on an Aprilia-based bike with TeamAspar). and after a day of testing de Puniet got the new Suzuki to within seven-tenths of a second of the top time posted by other MotoGP teams. Davide Brivio, who once ran the Fiat-Yamaha team and has been close with Valentino Rossi, will be the team manager.
Speaking of Rossi, The Doctor is back with Fiat-Yamaha after a bad run with Ducati but is only contracted to the end of 2014. Brivio is the man who got Rossi to join Fiat-Yamaha, then got him to Ducati. Until he took the head of Suzuki's works effort, Brivio was working with Rossi's VR46 management company, heading areas like merchandising. The rumormill has already begun its work, with folks wondering if Rossi will head to Suzuki in 2015 if his second stint at Yamaha doesn't prove fruitful before then. Scroll down below for the official press release from Suzuki.