From £11,9217
Steering, suspension and comfort

The Suzuki SX4 shares most of its chassis components with the agile and able Swift, and we're pleased to report that some of the dynamic talent has rubbed off.

The steering is light and its feedback lacks some detail, but the responses are direct and accurate and the body's movements are well controlled, despite the more pronounced roll angles brought on by the loftier stance.

Ride comfort isn't so good with the diesel

Leave the drive setting in auto and there’s real fun to be had, the blend of on-demand all-wheel drive and ESP welcoming even the most extreme approach. Here, fine levels of grip play off a surprising degree of mid-bend attitude adjustability.

This is backed up by excellent high-speed stability. Ride comfort is good, too – firm but pliant over small bumps, which unfortunately is not the case with the dearer, more fidgety diesel version.

Four-wheel drive models offer the driver three options, accessed by a switch beside the handbrake. The choices are front-wheel drive only (best for economy, especially around town), ‘auto’ four-wheel drive (the default all-weather/all-conditions setting) and ‘lock’ (if the going gets tough).

Under the floor, an electronically controlled nine-plate clutch pack takes drive to the rear wheels when it’s needed. Select auto and when the system detects a disparity between the speeds of the front and rear wheels, it clutches in the rear drive.

The third setting simply locks the front and rear axles together until you exceed 37mph, or try to corner too energetically, whereupon it allows the clutches to slip. And there’s always the Electronic Stability Program to mop up any untidiness after that and deliver enhanced front-drive traction.

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