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Suzuki SX4 is the Japanese automaker’s subcompact line of cars that started their life as hatchbacks and sedans but eventually jumped into the crossover craze. Like most subcompacts, the SX4 is extremely useful around the city and available at an affordable price. Not to mention an added four-wheel drive option that’s quite rare in its segment. However, like most subcompacts, it also features some drawbacks typical for its niche. This time we’re focusing on the Suzuki SX4’s common problems.
Although Suzuki SX4 is one of the more reliable cars in its segment, it doesn’t come without issues. The most common Suzuki SX4 problems are related to its affordable character and everything that inevitably follows it. Poor interior and exterior build quality, electrical issues, faulty airbag sensors, and some parts that wear down quicker than they should pretty much sum things up.
The SX4 is a quite reliable vehicle considering its price point, but there’s still some caution that should be exerted when buying one. Further below, you’ll find the most common Suzuki SX4 issues and more.
Common Suzuki SX4 Problems
Here’s the list of Suzuki SX4’s common problems and things to pay attention to if you’re in the market for one of them.
Poor build quality
Quality control issues are typically unavoidable in affordable products, and the Suzuki SX4 is no exception. The quality of materials leaves a lot to be desired as hard plastics dominate the interior. Things have gotten better over time, but older used models might have a few broken-off pieces of trim here and there. Squeaking and rattling noise in the cabin shouldn’t come as a surprise either, given the somewhat lower build quality.
The exterior features a few problems of its own. Windshield wipers are prone to failure, and the rearview mirror is known to detach due to poor connection to the body. Although rust protection is sound, it’s not a bad idea to check the underside of the car for traces of rust, especially if you’re buying a used car that was driven in a state or country with a harsher climate.
Faulty airbag sensor
First-gen Suzuki SX4 sedans and hatchbacks were notorious for airbag sensor failure that even forced the NHTSA to issue a recall in 2013. Although this particular issue should have been sorted out by now in most of the early SX4 models in the U.S., some units might have fallen through the cracks. Furthermore, not all model years have been affected by the recall, and similar recalls haven’t been conducted in many overseas markets where the SX4 had been and still is being sold today.
Airbag sensors in early SX4 models had a tendency of going haywire, causing problems that could end up with potentially fatal consequences. While a constant beep from the passenger’s seat in which no one was sitting was annoying, the one from the driver’s seat was downright dangerous as the faulty sensor meant the airbags wouldn’t deploy at all.
Premature brake wear
No matter what type of car you drive, some parts, like brakes, will give out and need to be replaced after a while. In the case of Suzuki SX4, however, that period is comparably shorter. Aside from using sub-par quality pads and disks, as a crossover, the second and third-gen SX4s are slightly heavier than corresponding Suzuki passenger cars, and that plays a role in premature brake wear as well.
Worn-down brakes in a Suzuki SX4 can be easily recognized by a distinct squealing noise. If you leave the problem unresolved for too long, worn-out pads will also damage the disks, further complicating things and multiplying the bill. That’s why it’s important to replace the worn-out Suzuki SX4 brake pads as soon as they start giving out, and that might happen in under 20,000 miles. In any case, don’t expect the cheap SX4 pads to last much longer than 30,000 miles.
Problems with wiring are common in affordable family and city cars as manufacturers tend to use cheap insulation techniques to keep the price down and maximize their profits. In the case of the Suzuki SX4, most of the electrical issues can be traced back to the cable under the bonnet. Over time, it gets loose and comes in contact with the inner wing or strut tower. This friction then wears down its isolation, and the cable starts shorting out.
Since the cable in mention is responsible for feeding numerous electrical devices with electricity, the results can be visible in lighting, infotainment, or pretty much any other SX4 device’s problems. Fixing the cable with some duct tape is possible in the early stages before the exposed wires get damaged beyond repair. Keeping an eye out for this common Suzuki SX4 problem is advisable.
Failed heating system
There are a few things that can go wrong with the SX4’s heating system, but if your Suzuki SX4’s heating doesn’t work, the most likely culprit is a bad or leaking heater core. The SX4’s heating system works by utilizing hot coolant from the engine. The hot coolant is collected in the heater core, across which the blower motor blows cold air that gets heated in the process and ends up in the cabin. A leaking heater core won’t be able to hold the coolant, and there won’t be any hot air blowing into the cabin. If your SX4’s heater is turned on but only blowing cold air, then the problem can be traced back to the heater core.
Other heating-related problems can include a mere lack of coolant in the overflow, a leaking heater core hose, or a bad thermostat. With no coolant in the overflow, all the coolant will likely remain in the radiator, reserved for engine cooling. A leaking heater core hose won’t be able to transport the hot coolant to the heater core. Finally, a bad thermostat will also prevent enough coolant from reaching the heater core.
Diesel engine problems
The first and second-generation Suzuki SX4s were available with a selection of diesel powertrains. The former could have typically been had with 1.6 L, 1.9 L, and 2.0 L units, and the latter was fitted with 1.6 L engines. Depending on the market, however, smaller engines were available as well. Typical oil-burner woes are present in most of them, but DPF and EGR failures are the most common.
DPF (diesel particulate filter) can either get blocked or melted, but in both instances won’t be able to fulfill its duties. The most common reasons for DPF failure are repeated and common short journeys, faulty fuel injectors, or clogged EGR valves. Speaking of EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve, it can also fail due to numerous reasons connected with fuel and exhaust systems. Both failures can also lead to catalytic converter failure, which is common in Suzuki SX4s.
The Suzuki SX4 is a relatively reliable subcompact crossover (sedan or hatchback between 2006 and 2014) that fits almost every budget and does what small cars are supposed to. The Suzuki SX4’s common problems are related to its affordable nature, as poor build quality often goes hand in hand with affordability. However, a properly maintained SX4 is almost always a good investment if you’re in the market for a cheap city car.
How reliable is the Suzuki SX4?
The Suzuki SX4 is as reliable as cheap subcompact vehicles come. Over time, it’ll start exhibiting some issues due to sub-par build quality compared to more expensive brands, but they’ll rarely be too serious, provided the car has been well-maintained up to that point.
Is Suzuki SX4 a good car?
If it fits your requirements, then yes – the Suzuki SX4 is a good car. However, don’t expect too much from it as it’s still an affordable subcompact option intended to be a budget car.
Does Suzuki SX4 have a four-wheel drive?
Suzuki SX4 is one of the rare subcompact crossovers on the market, available with four-wheel drive. Even the first-gen sedans and hatchbacks could have been configured with four-wheel drive. However, not every SX4 has it, as it’s still optional, and most SX4s rely on the front-wheel drive instead.