By Clint Williams
Green Right Now

With highway fuel economy of 30 mpg, the Suzuki SX4 certainly conserves gasoline. And, more importantly these days, this compact sedan conserves cash. A comfortably well-equipped SX4 – complete with standard touch-screen navigation system – rolls off the dealer lot for less than $16,000. That makes it financially competitive in its class, and as economical as most cars featured in our “30(cars) Over 30(mpg)” gallery.

Suzuki, best known in the United States for making motorcycles, this fall added a Garmin navigation unit as standard equipment to both the four-door SX4 Sport and the five-door SX4 Crossover. The gizmo comes on top of an already impressive list of standard equipment, considering the price, that includes air conditioning, power windows, doors and locks, anti-lock brakes and an array of airbags that includes side curtain airbags.

The test car boasted cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and remote keyless entry. All for a sticker price of $15,270.

The 2-liter I-4 engine delivers 143 horsepower, giving the SX4 a bit of spunk. The five-speed manual transmission was crisp enough and a four-speed automatic transmission is available for those who haven’t learned to work a clutch.

The interior isn’t luxurious, but it doesn’t feel cheap. The backseat is comfortable for two and raised a bit – much like movie theater seats – to give passengers a good view. Trunk space, at 15.5 cubic feet, is generous and the rear seats fold down to expand the cargo space.

Suzuki provides a 100,000-mile, seven-year power train limited warranty and free roadside assistance.

The SX4 offers few driving thrills, but plenty bang for the buck.

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