An all-new five-door Suzuki combining the elements of a sport utility lifestyle vehicle with a conventional car is to be built in both Japan and Europe. The SX4 will be sold in New Zealand.
Final specifications for the local market have yet to be confirmed, but the crossover hatchback will be offered with the choice of three engines in some markets.
The SX4 follows the Swift and Generation 3 Grand Vitara as "world-strategic" Suzukis launched in the past year.
Suzuki is building the SX4 with 1490cc, 73kW and 1586cc, 79kW petrol engines and a 1910cc, 88kW diesel engine with particulate filter for selected markets.
It will be built in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive forms and is expected to help lift the make's European sales by 20 percent this year, to 320,000.
There will be a choice of transmissions and an optional electronic stability control for the 4140mm-long car.
The SX4 will be available with a switchable three-mode four-wheel drive system. An electric control coupling device provides 4WD-automatic, 4WD-Lock and 2WD modes, delivering good traction and stability when grip diminishes.
An intelligent all-wheel drive allows drivers to switch between two-wheel drive and auto 4WD that adjusts to front-wheel slippage.
Like the best-selling Swift and new Grand Vitara, the SX4 has been designed to appeal to international markets.
MacPherson strut suspension is used at the front while the rear comprises a torsion beam. Extensive chassis testing was carried out on European roads.
Active safety features include anti-lock braking with electronic brake-force distribution as standard on all versions.
Suzuki has made wide use of high tensile steel and tailored blanks to achieve strength without the penalty of added weight.
The two-tone interior is predominantly black and is highlighted with metallic-coloured accents and wedge-shaped motifs.
Suzuki engineered the SX4 from the outset to be 4WD capable, while still delivering sharp, dynamic handling.
The 1.6 litre four-cylinder, double overhead camshaft engine has variable valve timing and drive by wire throttle control for better response.
This M16A engine is a low emission power unit and averages 5.8 litres/100km (48.7mpg) in the European highway cycle.
In four-wheel-drive form with the same engine, the SX4 averages 6.1 litres/100km (46.3mpg).
The two-wheel drive SX4 accelerates to 100km/h in 10.8 seconds; the 4WD takes 11.2 seconds.
The SX4 had its first public showing at theis month's Geneva motor show where Suzuki announced it would boost production at its Hungarian plant by more than 100 percent to 300,000 units a year.
The SX4 is expected to become available in New Zealand from the end of this year.