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.

Top 5 Crossovers

  • Nissan Qashqai
    The Nissan Qashqai gets a new look and more functionality in an effort to attract a new generation of buyers

    Nissan Qashqai

    1
  • The Yeti is a crossover that's available with both two- and four-wheel drive

    Skoda Yeti

    2
  • CX-5's exterior has been shaped using Mazda's 'Kodo - soul of motion' design

    Mazda CX-5

    3
  • It looks like a 4x4 but it isn’t. So what’s the point of this crossover?

    Peugeot 3008

    4
  • Suzuki SX4 S-Cross
    The Suzuki's low price tag will make it appealing to many

    Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    CLA looks, bonkers 45 AMG performance, but with added estate practicality. An enticing mix, but is this Shooting Brake worth the extra?
  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    Savagely rapid, four-wheel-drive diesel version of BMW's four-door coupé could be brilliant, or it could be a niche too far. We drive the 435d xDrive Gran Coupé to find out.
  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    This is our first opportunity for a UK drive in a manual version of the new Discovery Sport. Does swapping cogs yourself make more sense?
  • First Drive
    3 March 2015
    Sharper handling, more refined and better-looking. Still a bit rough around the edges, mind, but now good enough to be a class contender
  • Car review
    27 February 2015
    The second pure Mercedes-AMG model is a triumph of engineering and design, and should have rivals from Porsche and Audi worried