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Text and photography by Cor Steenstra.
We had the chance to drive this highly tuned Suzuki SX4 Sportback and took the opportunity to drive it to a fitting event, the IRL Indy race at Sonoma. The Sportback is tuned by Road Race, and the tuning consists of some minor body tweaks, graphics on the exterior, dedicated carbon fiber trim on the interior, and engine and suspension tuning. Honestly, we thought we were gearing ourselves up for quite a mighty fuel bill for the 1,200 miles return distance.
Instead, what we found was that the SX4, despite the tuning, the racy exhaust note, the happy short shifting gearbox, the nippy acceleration, and the race enthusiasm, was very happy with an average fuel consumption of 27 miles per gallon. This did include also quite a lot of in town traffic, and single lane highway. Not bad at all.
For people who do not live in California, you have to realize that roads can be long and straight, especially Interstates. In the Suzuki on a stretch of over 200 miles, that does lead to some relaxation behind the steering wheel, putting the car on cruise control, and just let the miles fly away. NOT A GOOD IDEA!! California Interstates are in no way as bad as the roads in the Detroit area, but driving this car, with its sporty solid suspension, dips before bridges are jumping ramps, and that is not a happy experience while you are relaxing on cruise control.
Needless to say, it took 3 of those before the pattern was spotted, but once it was, even when prepared for the inevitable flying lessons, it still hit with a vengeance.
The Suzuki SX4 in this tuned version is an ideal car for nipping around town, for having fun on curvy mountainous roads, even for some SCCA circuit travel, but Interstate travel on less than perfect roads driving is not its favorite past time.