Suzuki was proud of their new SX4 at its launch this week. But instead of bombarding us with lengthy presentations and marketing speeches, they offered ample time to let the newcomer speak for itself.

This is billed as a family car, but they’re not limiting its application to carting around kids, pets and groceries. Suzuki hopes it will curry favour with sporty, active adventurers who travel far and wide over rough terrain. We found that the new car is companionable and wonderfully dynamic, while fun and easy to drive.

Suzuki SX4 Motion Green - Surf4cars

Face value

The SX4’s predecessor appears bashful compared to this confident machine. The new model boasts a road presence that means business, with a more sophisticated style. The exterior sports sharper accents to make the car look tougher and edgier. Enhancing the sportiness of the SX4 are the LED headlights and two-part combination tail lights.

The new dashboard wears silver trimmings and exudes quality. Some features include a standard radio with Bluetooth compatibility. But the audio system seems better at playing a soft rendition of The Wheels on The Bus, than banging out your favourite high-bass hip-hop tunes.

Compared to the outgoing model, the new SX4 is roomier and fits the bill as a bona fide family ride. Comfortable seats highlighted by white stitching (GLS models only) give a classy look. Luggage space is ample: boot space is 430 litres with the seats up. And a massive 1269 litres with the backseats down.

Suzuki SX4 Interior - Surf4cars

More than a pretty face

It has the nimbleness of a hatchback with the confident cruising abilities of a tank. The SX4 eases over bumpy roads – we tested its ride quality on a dirt track. There is only one engine derivative: a 1.6-litre petrol with 86kW and 156Nm of torque.

Economy is the priority. It won’t hurt the wallet or leave a large carbon footprint either – this car is light on fuel with a consumption figure of 6.2l/100km. Suzuki has plans to source a diesel engine from Fiat in the future.

Suzuki didn’t compromise on safety. It has anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution as well as seven airbags.  Five model grades are on offer. There are three front-wheel drive versions, while the two flagship models are fitted with the AllGrip four-wheel drive system.

We spent most of our time with the the AllGrip, in manual and automatic guises. We leaned towards this all-wheel drive model; which assured with its planted feel on (and off) the tarmac.

Suzuki SX4 ALLGRIP - Surf4cars

More character

With pricing starting off at R265 900, Suzuki is aiming it towards the likes of the Nissan Qashqai (R269 900), Mitsubishi ASX (R289 900), Ssangyong Korando (R279 995), Citroen C4 Aircross (R298 900) and Volkswagen Tiguan (R312 000).

Even the “entry-level” GL has cruise control, audio control switches on the steering wheel, front and rear electric windows, Bluetooth and 16-inch alloys.

We think that its character – and the fact that it’s the newest in its segment – will help it win buyers. The GLX is R295 900. The GLX CVT goes for R318 900. The GLX 5MT AllGrip goes for R319 900, while the CVT AllGrip will set buyers back by R341 900.

All are supported a three-year/100 000 km warranty, a three-year/90 000 km service plan, and a three-year roadside assistance package. Services are 15 000 km intervals.

Andrea Hicks