LOS ANGELES -- Suzuki will embrace the hot-hatch craze by adding a more street-worthy version of its SX4 compact car.
Also, the entire SX4 lineup will get a more powerful engine and upgraded transmissions.
The basics: The key to boosting the street image of the SX4 SportBack will be increased power from the redesigned 2.0-liter engine -- up 7 hp to 150 hp. Also, the manual transmission goes from five gears to six. The automatic gearbox moves from a four-speed to a continuously variable transmission. The CVT version includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters to change the gear ratio instantly, similar to the Honda Fit.
The SX4 SportBack has a lower ride height and an aero kit that includes chin spoiler, rear deck spoiler and side skirts. While the existing SX4 crossover version is sold with all-wheel drive, the SportBack will be front-drive only, says Steven Younan, director of product planning and pricing at American Suzuki.