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2007 - 2012 Suzuki SX4
joester

My wife and I are considering the purchase of one of these vehicles (2011) and I'm curious to know how well the AWD and the CVT transmission play in slippery conditions.

I rented a Sentra recently that had the CVT and I wasn't all that impressed. It felt tlike the rubber band needed to get wound up before the vehicle would move.

Does the SX4 have no issue (adequate RPM/gear ratio management) when attempting snowy roads? We live in a moderately hilly area and AWD is almost a requirement at times. If anyone has info to share with a 4-6 inch snow depth, I'm all ears!

Thanks.

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Response from Bob Kovacs

4:21 pm November 7, 2016

I have a 2008 Suzuki SX4, but with a standard transmission. The car has really grown on me over the years, with nimble handling and great brakes that make driving fun. It has been super reliable for me, with only minor repairs in 65k miles. (The only two non-standard maintenance items were new spark plugs at 30k miles and the windshield washer system blew out a 50-cent hose.)

The AWD works fine in snow -- perhaps a little less confident than my 1995 Subaru Legacy, but the Suzuki SX4 has wider tires than the Subaru. Wider tires are great for grip on dry roads but not on wet/icy/snowy roads. If you put winter tires on the car -- maybe a little taller and narrower -- it should work as good as a Subaru in the snow. Unlike the Subaru, the 2008 Suzuki SX4 lets you switch in and out of AWD. I don't sense any better handling or operation in 2WD mode, but I like that we're given an option.

The standard transmission in my car has been fine and the gear ratios are chosen fairly well for the engine's torque range. There's not a lot of oomph at low RPM, but it's adequate. I can't comment on the CVT transmission, as I have not driven this car with a CVT.

Good luck! I like my 2008 SX4 so much that I've been thinking about getting a 2011 or 2012 if it's a steal. My biggest negatives are that parts are harder to come by and the engine really could use a bit more oomph off the line. The ride is on the jiggly side, due to the short wheelbase. However, the same short wheelbase makes the SX4 super nimble and sporty. It's a great around-town car and surprisingly good at hauling stuff from Home Depot.

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Response from joester

9:19 pm November 7, 2016

Thanks Bob. I'm really curious to know the CVT side but it sounds like a decent car. We're not looking for off road use and they do plow around here, but in a heavy snowfall having 6ish inches on the road is not inconceivable.
I think there is a traction management override button that removes throttle control from the computer and allows the driver to regulate RPM as required. I know my Kia does and to be honest, without that ability my Kia would need a tow truck with less than 1 inch of snow. When the CPU detects wheel slip of any sort it drops the engine to idle and then attempts to accelerate again. Anyone with snow driving skills knows that there times when wheel spin to a small degree is required.
I'm hoping to hear from someone with a CVT too, but I do thank you for your input. Reliability sonds good and two small issues sounds very teasonable.
I'm leaning towards this car as a daily commuter for my wife's 14 mile per day commute.

Thanks again!
Joe

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Response from davidnorbert

7:59 am November 8, 2016

I have a 2009 SX4. Like Bob, mine is a manual. However, i am familiar with the CVT, as it is a JATCO JF011E. I had a Caliber AWD with that CVT. A CVT actaully plays well with AWD, especially with the traction control/ESP turned off. I have also driven an SX4 with the CVT for several hundred miles. My son has a Sentra and i have driven it. The SX4 CVT does behave differently(better).
As to AWD performance, IMO the SX4 is stellar! I live in W PA, and we have plenty of hills(including my driveway), plus we can easily get 4-6-8" of snow or more at a time. Our SX4 has never failed to go wherever it was pointed, stop and turn without fuss. I have owned Subarus, 4x4 trucks and Jeeps, the aforementioned AWD Caliber, plus other 4WD/AWD vehicles. The SX4 is as good as any of them, especially with the amount of ground clearance it has. In the interest of full disclosure, i must advise that i DO run a full set of winter tires on it, as i do all my winter vehicles. I have owned it since new, and it has been reliable. MIleage is high 20's/low 30's.
IMO, they are bargains right now.

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Response from joester

12:17 pm November 8, 2016

Awesome and thank you for the input. We're southern upstate NY so I am familiar with the snow and terrain you refer to. I have yet to drive the SX4, but will soon.
I think it would make a decent addition to our choice of rides and I completely relate yo turning traction control off (sounds backwards but we do what we must).
Thanks for input I needed!

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Response from Bob Kovacs

1:55 pm November 8, 2016

I grew up in Walden, NY (Orange County). and lived for a while in Putnam County, so I'm very familiar with the terrain there. The SX4 will be fine in the snow, especially if you have winter tires.

My 2008 SX4 does not have traction control, so I can feather the throttle as needed.

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Response from joester

4:30 pm November 8, 2016

I live in Broome county so it's only a little closer to the snow belt. We generally don't get hit hard but when we do it's not uncommon for the roads to build up a bit before the plows make their way onto the secondary roads.

I had a Dodge Neon I drove regularly on the route my wife drives for 11 years and only wished I had more snow-ability a few times. I grew up here and am well versed in winter travel. Just wanted to make sure the vehicle with AWD and CVT wasn't an issue. My wife doesn't do so well in snow. Just sayin'.

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Response from lot

10:32 am November 24, 2016

Many smaller autos are using CVTs today.

The transmission shop that has been servicing my vehicles, claims they are just not ready for Prime Time and can not be repaired. They have to be replace and are more expensive than the normal tranny. The cost of replacing the CVT can total and older auto. Many Nissan have CVT in their models.
For what it is worth.
Myself, I do not buy Nissan or anything with a CVT. Been there done that.
Good luck

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