Suzuki SX4 Ltd Sporthatch 2010 Review

June 11th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

When most people think of a compact hatchback made by Suzuki it’s one model they usually have in mind — the Swift. But the Suzuki range has another small hatch within its ranks named the SX4. Riding higher than the Swift and with a larger engine the crossover-inspired SX4 hasn’t been able to match the Swift’s popularity since it was first introduced back in 2007. Back then, some claimed the SX4 was too thirsty for a small car and commented on the absence of a stability control system. Now for 2010, the SX4 is fighting back with a revised model range that features a CVT transmission, improved economy and better safety credentials. Car and SUV spent a week in the facelifted SX4 to see if it’s ready to emerge from behind its Swift sibling’s sizable shadow.

So what’s new on the 2010 model? Well, plenty, just not much in terms of exterior sheet metal. Some subtle tweaks feature up front in a new grille design and on our tested Ltd-spec model, sharp 17-inch alloys fill the guards. Elsewhere it’s a smart-looking hatchback with a tall but progressive stance, raked back headlights and a distinctive wrap-around rear windshield. The Ltd Sporthatch receives extras like front fog lamps and a sports-styled skirting kit with high mounted rear spoiler. Overall, the SX4’s looks aren’t exactly groundbreaking and while slightly generic, do still carry a broad modern appeal.

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Suzuki Alto 2010 Review

February 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Often being successful means playing to your natural strengths, which is why you never see 7-foot tall jockeys and likewise with 5-foot tall basketball players. For Suzuki, its strength is in small cars, it’s where success has been found in the past, currently with the Swift, and where opportunities exist for the future. Suzuki’s latest weapon in the increasingly city car battleground is the new Alto. Now in its seventh-generation the Alto is an international success story having sold more than 10 million units over a 30-year period. Not all models have made it to NZ but this writer’s mother once owned the first generation and spent many childhood holiday road trips wondering why large trucks were overtaking our car when I was sure it should be the other way round. Now, with any flashbacks well-repressed Car and SUV spent a week with the fresh-faced Alto to find its strengths and uncover any weaknesses.

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It’s not pink it’s Salmon

January 29th, 2010 by Adam

I told myself that this day would come, that there would be a time I would have to man-up and deal with the rough cards dealt out. The man at the Suzuki dealership and I stood together, little was said but we both knew that it was time I left and took the new Suzuki Alto press vehicle for review with me.

The Alto is a micro car with an ultra economical three-cylinder engine, not exactly as masculine as a HSV or Toyota Hilux but that wasn’t the problem. The small issue laid in the Alto’s colour, it’s a special hue, a blend of red and white you could say. Or alternatively you could call it pink.

As I pulled away from the dealership, I told myself not to feel self-conscious and it was just a colour. I quickly tuned the radio station to The Rock and reclined the seat back perhaps a little further than I usually would. There wasn’t an issue here nothing to see, or so I thought. At the first set of lights I reached a lowered Subaru Legacy pulled up alongside and two young men looked over at me, talking and laughing between themselves. I fought off an urge to drop the window and explain how I happened to be driving a pink micro car. Instead I let the 1000cc three-cylinders of fury sitting beneath the Alto’s bonnet do the talking, and they saw who was boss for about 0.3 seconds before they made me eat their carbon emissions and screamed off.

So the episode left me thinking: Is a man who drives a pink car still a man?

The answer isn’t an easy one, it’s not like getting into the driver’s seat of a pink car is instant castration, it’s more about the conscious decision to use a pink vehicle as your preferred mode of transport. For me the choice hadn’t been my own, it was a requirement of my work, so yes I remained a man. Which was lucky cause I wasn’t ready to give up slashing outdoors and not drying my back properly after a shower.

In fact, you could say the ability to drive a pink car and not be affected by other people’s assumptions could be a way of strengthening masculinity. Isn’t that why pink shirts were a fad for guys a while back, oh that’s right, salmon coloured shirts.

So later that same day I was out again in my pink Alto press car, when I stopped at an intersection and a young lady smiled at me. Now, I’ve driven many expensive and powerful vehicles this year and this has never really happened before. So what was special about the pink Alto, well you can make up your own mind, but I think it’s because she saw me not as a guy in a pink car, but more as a man with a story to tell.

So I just did.

Suzuki Swift

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Technology you love to drive – Maruti Suzuki Swift


Suzuki Grand Vitara 2009

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

A preview on Suzuki Grand Vitara 2009


Suzuki Grand Vitara 2008

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Short video overview of Suzuki Grand Vitara’s 2008 features


Futuristic Japanese cars

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Tokyo Auto Show displays some of Japan’s car concepts


Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak hillclimb

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

With almost 1000hp, Monster’s Escudo battles its way up Pikes Peak, followed by an insane hillclimb in France, then an unbelievable glacial moraine crash in Iceland