Suzuki has been on an impressive roll this year. President of American Suzuki Motor Corp.’s Automotive Division, Koichi Suzuki said, “sales through July are up over 32 percent, the biggest increases of any import brand sold in the United States.” He noted that the two new vehicles formally introduced to the media yesterday should add significantly to this growth.
The Suzuki SX 4
The SX4 is Suzuki’s entry level – spell affordable at $14,999 – all-wheel-drive, five door, hatchback crossover. Powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine with 143 horsepower, the SX4 is available with a five-speed manual transmission or an available specially tuned four-speed automatic transmission. The EPA fuel economy rating is 24 city and 30 highway with automatic transmission.
Driving through Southern California flats and winding, rolling mountains the little car handled very well, had a very quiet engine – not the usual hornet sound from cars this size – a nice looking instrument panel with easy to read gauges. Two trim levels are offered, the SX4 which is available now and a SX4 Sport model for a few dollars more that will be in dealer showrooms in November of this year.
The Suzuki XL7
The all-new for 2007 XL7 is bigger, bolder and more powerful than the current model. It evolved from the Suzuki Concept-X which was shown at last year’s North American International Automobile Show in Detroit.
“This vehicle brings us to the mainstream of crossover SUVs,” said Gene Brown, vice president marketing and public relations of Suzuki. “With a front wheel drive vehicle that features four-wheel independent suspension and available all-wheel-drive.” The new model is powered by a 3.6 liter engine delivering “segment leading” 252 horsepower powertrain.
The interior would make a modernistic decorator happy with a minimalist design that’s smart yet sophisticated. Controls and gauges are easy to read, and more importantly, easy to use. Seating is very comfortable with lots of leg room.
Road handling on the winding, curvy, up and down roads was exceptional thanks to a traction control system that controls both oversteer and understeer. And it holds the road very well.
Pricing begins at $22,899 for the XL 7, the luxury model is $24,599 and the Limited is $27,949.
Bigger and Expanded Marketing Budgets
While plans were not divulged, Brown noted marketing and advertising budgets will be bigger than ever before, an astounding growth of “165 percent from just two years ago and an increase of 68 percent over last year.”
Suzuki has begun a program to establish a unique dealer showroom design, according to Mr. Suzuki: “Of our 525 dealers, 115 have completed the new design and construction and another 100+ are under construction for completion in the next several months.”