Anyone who believes that carmakers are running out of niches into which they can manoeuvre new models hasn’t been paying attention. With the popularity of saloons on the wane, our love affair with crossovers shows no sign of cooling, and the Suzuki SX4 is proof of that.

The SX4 – an apparent fusion of supermini, SUV and 4x4 (according to the model you choose) – was viewed at the time of its 2006 launch as a serious newcomer rather than a mildly diverting sideshow.

In fact, the SX4 was a big deal on several fronts. First, and perhaps most important, it was intended to consolidate the transformation of Suzuki’s image in Europe wrought by the Swift (propelling Suzuki from maker of funny little hatchbacks to credible Mini challenger).

Second, it marked a partnership with Fiat, which planned to sell the SX4 – in restyled form and with standard 4x4 underpinnings – as the Sedici. The Fiat was predicted to be the more important car, but after a short appearance on the UK market it is no longer sold here although it continues in other markets.

The Suzuki, however, is still in the UK price lists, which is entirely appropriate because Suzuki is due most of the credit for the project. That's because the SX4 is built on a stretched version of the Swift’s platform, which means that Suzuki engineering underpins both cars rolling out of the Magyar Suzuki factory in Hungary.

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