The little Japanese hatchback doesn't get the recognition it probably deserves
The first mode offers typical front-wheel drive handling with no torque steer, while the second mode automatically sends part of the engine's torque to the rear wheels when the front ones start to slip.
As the name suggests, the Lock mode positively locks the centre differential to distribute torque evenly between both axles (50/50). This setup enhances grip in difficult situations, for example on sand or snow. As soon as the car reaches 60 km/h, the system unlocks the differential and returns in Auto mode.
Which AWD model to pick?
Now that they have a clearer picture, potential buyers can pick the model that best suits their needs. Should they opt for AWD, they will have to choose between the JX (starting at $21,735) and the JLX ($24,835).
The $3,100 price difference translates into a longer list of features and amenities, such as keyless entry and start, automatic climate control, premium audio, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, heated front seats and fog lights. And as mentioned earlier, ESP and the CVT come standard in JLX AWD trim and are optional in JX AWD trim. You're still with me?
When equipped with both ESP and the CVT, however, said JX AWD model is just $1,500 cheaper than the top-of-the-line model. The JLX may still appear more enticing for those who value comfort as well as drivers considering a Matrix AWD or Impreza Sport. Some of its features are either absent or optional with these two competitors.
Incidentally, the SX4 JX AWD is priced in the same exact ballpark as the base Impreza hatchback.
Pros and cons
At heart, this Suzuki remains a down-to-earth kind of car – like most other compact hatchbacks, for that matter. Shorter than both the Matrix and Impreza, the SX4 offers about half the cargo capacity with the rear seats up. Once you fold them down, however, it matches the Subaru while the Toyota still offers 13-percent more room.