Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

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Suzuki SX4 performance levels aren't particularly startling. Suzuki replaced the ageing 107bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 118bhp 1.6 in the autumn of 2010. The new engine is not especially brisk, offering 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds or a leisurely 12.3 seconds if you opt for the slow-witted four-speed automatic gearbox. While it doesn’t offer much in the way of low-down shove, this engine is happy to be revved hard, though you will see a consequent drop in fuel economy. A four-wheel drive version is available with the 1.6 petrol engine that sees off 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds and makes a decent case for itself as it’s significantly cheaper than the diesel model. A supple ride helps on bumpy roads and the SX4 can deal more ably with off-road driving than most of its crossover competitors. However, refinement is so-so at best.

Diesel engine

Suzuki ditched the 1.9 DDiS turbodiesel in 2009 and replaced it with the 2.0 DDiS motor. This is now the only diesel engine on offer in the SX4 as the 1.6-litre turbodiesel was also dropped shortly after the 1.9 unit. The 2.0-litre diesel has 133bhp to play with and offers 0-62mph in 11.2 seconds, so it’s not especially quick off the mark. However, it cruises easily, if noisily, and gives 53.3mpg average economy to be on a par with the class average, However, emissions of 139g/km are nothing to write home about.

Parkers recommends

We should not be hesitating in recommending the diesel here, but its cost to buy and humdrum emissions mean we’d steer towards the front-drive, manual gearbox-equipped petrol models.

Despite the name, the majority of SX4 models around are actually two-wheel drive, but even if you choose a 4x4 version, both handle in a similar fashion to the excellent Swift hatchback. So even with the higher ride height and rather tall stance, it's very agile and corners with minimal body roll. The steering is equally as impressive with decent feel plus there are good levels of grip.

All this combined make the SX4 an easy and enjoyable car to drive. It gets better as the ride is exceptionally good and copes as well when soaking up country lane bumps as it does with city street potholes. Where four-wheel drive is fitted, a button allows the driver to select from three settings. In Auto mode it's front wheel driven but will divert power to the rear wheels if they lose traction.

There's 2WD for cruising and finally a Lock mode which keeps it in four-wheel drive up to 40mph. The SX4 is a capable off roader and will no doubt easily cope with the light demands made on it by the majority of owners. An electronic stability control system is an optional extra on any model, but works particularly well with the four-wheel drive system and would be a good investment for those who will make regular use of the SX4's all-wheel drive capabilities.