GENEVA -- Suzuki Motor Corp. unveiled its SX4 small crossover here. It will launch the Japan-built vehicle in North America in September, wooing buyers with a flexible three-mode drive system.
The system allows drivers to switch among two-wheel drive; automatic four-wheel drive that adjusts to front-wheel slippage; and locked-in four-wheel drive. When in locked-in 4wd mode, the system reverts to automatic 4wd at speeds over 36 mph.
The vehicle also features independent MacPherson struts, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, fold-flat rear seats and a keyless-start system. Electronic stability control is optional.
A 1.5-liter dual-overhead-cam, four-cylinder base gasoline engine is standard. Also offered is a 1.6-liter dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder gasoline engine with variable valve timing. It will offer a 1.9-liter turbo-diesel in Europe.
A Suzuki spokesman said the price will be competitive with other compact hatchbacks.
The SX4 is a joint design project between Suzuki and Italdesign. Units for the U.S. market will be built in Japan, while units for Europe will be built in Suzuki's Esztergom, Hungary, plant, alongside a sibling vehicle, the Fiat Sedici. The companies developed the vehicles cooperatively.
Suzuki says it expects to build about 40,000 SX4s annually, but has not announced a U.S. sales target.
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