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Old 4th August 2007, 01:55   #1
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Thumbs up Maruti SX4 Zxi - 2200 Kms report

Maruti SX4 Zxi - 2200 Kms report

I am sure many of those who are waiting for their delivery would like to see 'long term ownership report', probably to decide whether to wait or move to some other car.

Believe me, your wait is worth it!!

Before going into the report, I want to thank one and all in TBHP without whom I would not have arrived at decision to buy SX4 (instead of NHC).

Thanks a lot guys, keep contributing to TBHP - your inputs are very much useful for everyone!!

SX4 is first car in my life - the person in dealer shop who gave demo of car on the delivery day surprised "Is it your first car? Nobody will buy such a big car first time, Sir".

Let me start with biggest concern of SX4, the FE.


While deciding to buy SX4, I was somehow prepared to even 10 kmpl after hearing in TBHP various arguments on its weight, tyre size, etc. I went ahead and bought because of its huge VFM especially safety features it offers.

I am constantly getting 10 kmpl minimum, last few times got 12 kmpl (latest one is 11 kmpl, I know it would be less this time because I roamed many places within city where bumper-to-bumper traffic was for quite distance).

My daily route to office is through outer ring road and hence for considerable distance I can travel in 5th gear @ 60-80 Kmph - this might be reason for 12 kmpl, otherwise also I guess it gives 10 kmpl at least.

I didn't check FE for long drive, yet long+city average gave 12-14 (that was before 1st service & without sun film). I will update on long drive FE figure after my next trip.

FE improved after 1st service and with sun film. Also I guess my driving style is improving.

Auto climate control (AC) is absolute pleasure to have. You needn't up & down AC levels (as in most other cars), just set internal temperature & other controls in auto mode and system maintains it for you. This adds to better FE as well.

(NOTE:- For all FE figures, AC was on ALWAYS)


When I saw SX4 the very first time (sales person called me to see it, before launch), I didn't like its look - only front look impressed me. T

hat too, I visited Honda show room previous day and spent good amount of time with display vehicle of NHC & drove it and NHC takes over SX4 in this factor.

But later on, I started liking the look of SX4. Nowadays even rear look is very good (Is it due to 'Its my car' syndrome?)

Anyway, look is always subjective. Whenever I see SX4 on road (only twice got to see it till now), it looks amazing, gigantic, lovely.

Ride & handling:

SX4 is driver's car, period.

The first time I sat inside, first thing impressed me was high GC - man! it gives amazing view for the driver.

Suspension was very good, it handles potholes, bad roads, speed brakers, etc just like that. NHC scores very low in this. I needn't worry about reducing speed in bad roads, etc (I anyway slow down as a good practise, especially in speed brakers). Of course if speed braker is sharp and if you don't slow down, then it is bumpy anyway.

Ride is joyful especially in high ways, you feel like keep pressing accelerator. Even in city (except bumper-to-bumper traffic) ride feels good, whenever I reach office/home, I wouldn't like the journey ends, feel like driving for some more time.

Some people complained about issues while cornering, I didn't feel that it was an issue. However I felt some amount of body roll while reducing speeds - may be I am observing it wrong (can someone confirm?)

Power & Pickup:

It picks up very well as speed increases, but I am not happy with its pickup in lower speeds.

Power is definitely amazing. It takes well even when fully loaded (driver+4 passengers+luggage in boot).

Interiors (space, comfort, etc):

IMHO space inside SX4 & NHC are same, I didn't feel big difference, may be few millimetres - my family didn't find any difference wrt leg room or so between NHC & Sx4.

Rear middle seat issue was discussed many times, but after I put seat covers (didn't go with optional leather option), middle seat is comfortable. I even drove with 4 people in rear seats (4th one was 13 years old girl), they could squeeze in somehow - but it is definitely not comfortable for long drives.

Seats are very much comfortable, I drove continuously for 5 hours with my parents in rear seats, they never experienced pain or discomfort.

Plastics used are not of quality of NHC, also as people mentioned it doesn't give royal look for 8 lakhs car. Driver side power windows switch had gone bad (car was just 2 1/2 months old) and dealer replaced it free of cost, anyway. These kind of issues won't pop up with Honda at all, for sure.

Otherwise, interior quality is not bad, I can say.

Another feature impressed me is: all four doors have space to keep pet bottles, I use it extensively since I drink lot of water. Though it can't hold regular 1 lr bottles, yet it is sufficient. Additionally, they have space to hold small items like ladies hand bag or small books or so - this is quite useful.

Glove box space is ok, NHC scores here since it has 2 boxes. However I haven't come across a situation where I needed more space.

Centre room lamp is powerful enough to light the interiors, yet if driver needs to read something or so, he can use 2 more (map) lights.

Central locking/unlocking for doors & windows are very good features. Child lock rear doors add pleasure.

Driver door window slides down fully when you press its power windows button just once (needn't keep pressing it like for other windows) - this is lot useful in toll gates, etc.

External temperature display and digital clock are other features I like very much.

wrt comfort for driver: seat height adjust, seat slider, back rest tilt and steering wheel tilt - all these make you adjust whatever position you want. This helps me a lot to change position/angle. Though I don't do it too often, if I feel back pain or so, I can adjust them. I am 5'9". For me, leg room, head room, etc all are comfortable. Illuminated ring for key insert helps a lot in night (you needn't search for it to insert the key).


Tubeless tyres give you big relief especially when you go for long drives.

I use Electric adjustable ORVMs extensively, during reverse parking, while parking in tight space, etc.

L shaped head lights look very stylish!


Nippon system was fitted as standard, plays mp3, wma, cd format. I haven't upgraded system or speakers yet. For me, this quality is more than sufficient (when my parents are in, I can't even keep high volume).

Speakers & tweeters are fitted in the doors. I am yet to get 'mobile phone integrated with system'.

As a safety feature, after eject if you don't take CD out from system within 10 sec, CD will be inserted back automatically.

I am not sure if system remembers last stopped track of last few CDs (am confused with player at home), I will confirm it.

For regular uses, this system is sufficient. If you want to attract everyone in road with your music, then you will need to upgrade.

Steering wheel integrated audio controls is the best & useful feature. I use them extensively. It is great safety feature as well.

However, few features I am missing are: play them in reverse order, jump to select track number, etc.

Engine, gear box, etc:

M16A Engine is first time introduced in India. Though I don't have much knowledge to comment about exact spec/features of the engine, all I care about is its performance and noise. Performance is anyway covered already.

wrt noise, at idling, you don't hear the noise at all [my brother drives Palio and when he sat first time in my car, he started the engine when it was already ON, he couldn't believe that it is so silent].

At lower speeds, noise is minimal, it is more noisy in higher speeds, but (as someone said) it feels like race car - especially drive it at high speeds in night time when almost no other car on road, you feel like you are racing.

wrt gear box: This is where Maruti screwed.

1. First of all, gears are placed with thin gap between vertical lines - so it takes a while to adjust to this gear box. This shouldn't be a concern to decide whether to buy it or not.

2. Then, Maruti's unresolved problem - the reverse gear doesn't engage properly many times (seen in WagonR and Swift). Service people accept it is a problem and no solution available yet. Alternate solution to this is: engage 1st/3rd gear and then come back to engage reverse gear.

Good point wrt gear box is that reverse gear protection is there (if you by mistake try to engage reverse from 5th gear, you won't be able to do it).

Power steering is good, of course in lower speeds it doesn't show its capability - in higher speeds it does its job very well. I just need to touch it, needn't control it with pressure.


Key factor that made me buy SX4 ditching NHC. Even by paying ~8lakhs for NHC, you don't get any safety feature - this made me think many times whether I should buy it. SX4 was released at right time with right price & features to compete with the leader NHC.

ABS with EBD makes it easier for you, I don't have to worry about lowering speed in turnings and so (anyway I wouldn't turn at 100 kmph or so, but even for speeds say 40-60, I needn't bother much). I anyway press brake pedal slightly in turns if speed is above 40, guess if I practise more, I can get rid of this habit.

Though air bags may not be really useful, having it gives relief.

iCATS is another key safety feature I liked very much. Again, this can't guarantee 100% tamper proof, yet this makes it harder for thieves to steal your car. Hats off Maruti for introducing this (in fact in almost all models)!!

Other safety features include 16" & alloy wheels, front & rear fog lamps, height adjustable front seat belts, head light levelling, various warning lights in panel (door open, driver seat belt reminder, etc)

Other Features:

Trunk/boot has a sufficient powered light, not sure if I saw it in NHC.

These are many timer functions implemented which make it easier/safer, those are:

1. If you unlock the car and don't open any door within certain time, it locks automatically.

2. (when the switch is kept in centre position) centre room light glows when key is removed from its position or when door is opened. It switches off automatically when key is inserted in ignition or when locked or after timeout.

3. After engine is switched on and car is moved, within certain time period or when speed crosses 20 kmph, all doors will be locked automatically irrespective of locked state. This is very much useful.

Experience with city drive:

Key feature you will be happy about is high GC (especially the road to my home is pathetic).

Key bottleneck is its huge size, of course this issue exists for any car in its segment.

Another concern is its high turning radious - you need to prepare yourself very well before taking turns.

Finding parking place in city (especially Bangalore) for SX4 is big challenge.

Otherwise, it is fun to drive in city. My primary interest is to listen to music, hence I am not bothered at all by heavy traffic, frequent signals, etc (unless I am in hurry).

Anyway, nowadays I can take turns, reverse, etc even with short space, so slowly the concern on the size is going away.

Experience with high-way drive:

SX4's capabilities will be explored better in long drives. You will feel like keep accelerating as long as road ahead of you allows you!!

Within 4 days of taking delivery, I went for a long drive (250 kms one direction). I drove max at 110 kmph, I was betting on ABS/EBD and my own confidence .

Long drive was quite joyful experience. Power was always there to push me to high speeds (even though car was fully loaded and with 100% AC), but due to road conditions and so, I was restricting to speed below 80 mostly.

During this long drive, while I was going at 70 kmph, suddenly a dog just crossed the road, I pressed brake and car JUST STOPPED (my mom had hit driver seat, but no injuries), ABS saved us and the dog!!

Since it was my first long drive ever, I drove carefully in turns, etc - otherwise if you are an experienced driver (owned car before), then you will enjoy it much more than me in long drive.

Even after continuous 5 hours of journey, neither I nor my family felt tired, we were even ready to go for some more time.

Dealer satisfaction:

These are what I got for free during delivery: floor mats (however these are not of exact size), trunk mat and leather cover for steering wheel.

After hearing horrible delay in delivery (few are waiting for long time even after having paid full amount), I guess dealer helped me greatly in delivering my vehicle within 10 days of booking - of course I booked just before launch and hence I could demand for faster delivery.

wrt service satisfaction: Till now I had given my car three times.

1. 1st free service - this was done very well I would say. This costed around 800 bucks for oil change, etc. AC was an issue till then and they corrected the issue at this time.

2. accident damage repair - there were some damages like left ORVM broken, rear bumper was bent & scratched slightly and many other scratches. Insurance took care of it mostly (11.5k out of 17k).

At this time I wasn't satisfied with dealer due to these reasons:

2.1. While I gave the vehicle, they said I would need to pay approx 4k, but I ended up with ~5.5K, they didn't inform me before. I came to know about it only while taking delivery.

2.2. He assured to repair scratches on front right side bumper along with other issues (so that I would pay only for rear bumper repair). But since insurance permits only one side, they repaired all on left side (but not the front right side bumper), they didn't inform me before, as usual.

2.3. On the day of delivery, I called them to confirm if vehicle is ready to take delivery, only then I visited them. But I ended up waiting for 3 hours since water wash wasn't done and so.

3. clutch replacement and drive side power windows button went bad: Clutch replacement was done free of cost by Maruti for all SX4's delivered. They found a defect and they corrected it. Surprisingly, power window button of driver side window went bad and dealer replaced with new part free of cost. At this time, he also cleaned interiors and water washed it for free of cost.

Other expenses:
Fabric seat covers: 4.3K
Car body cover (genuine Maruti accessory): 1.6K
Llumar sun film: wind shield 5k, others (sides+rear) 4.5K
2 years extended warrenty: 8K

Overall pleasure points (+ves):

These are not in order of priority, though.

Many of them are not common features in this segment, this gives leading edge for SX4.

1. High GC
2. iCATS
3. Auto climate control
5. Airbags
6. Steering wheel integrated audio controls
7. 16" wheels, Tubeless tyres and alloy wheels
8. Electric adjustable ORVMs
9. central locking/unlocking doors and windows, child lock rear doors
10. driver's comfort: seat height adjust, seat slider, back rest tilt and steering wheel tilt
11. Largest boot space (505 lrs)
12. external temperature and digital clock display
13. Illuminated key ring
14. New M series engine, well proved in foreign countries
15. 102 BHP max power
16. Rear seat centre arm rest

What else can be given for this price???

Overall pain points (-ves):

Again, these are not in order of priority.

1. Raised rear body makes it harder for rear view (while driving and taking reverse)
2. 'A piller' on right side limits visibility while taking turns (Strangely Maruti advestises "Wedge in A piller for better visibility" as an advantage)
3. Reverse indicator light is only one - this may not be big concern, but having 2 lights will better capture attention of people behind you.
4. Rear middle seat not comfortable
5. FE is a concern generally, not for me if I look at feature set it offers (mainly safety) - I need to give up something to gain something else!!
6. Huge size makes it harder to move faster within city in tight traffic situations especially
7. Interiors (especially plastics quality) could be improved to meet expectations of 'Premium C segment', hoping this shouldn't raise price too much.
8. Body roll while reducing speed - I am not sure about this.
9. I am not happy with its pickup in lower speeds

My Rating:

I was/am fully convinced before and after buying it!!

However, keeping key -ve points in mind, I would rate it 8/10, if all those are solved then definitely 10/10 - you can't get more for this price to be realistic comparing with competitors!!

Next steps:

I am thinking if I need to get a powerful bulb for head light. OE fitted ones are not of concerns, but if we drive in significantly darker road, then high beam is must. Till now I haven't come across compelling need for upgrading the lights, though. Let me see.

P.S.:- Since I am newbie to cars, I might have missed few points, please feel free to add. Thanks to VBV for inputs to add two topics to cover!!
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Old 4th August 2007, 09:36   #2
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Wooow, thats one excellently written detailed report, hatts off to you.

I am not happy with its pickup in lower speeds
Get a stock replacement filter from Green, you will be pleasantly suprised at the increase in FE and better(slightly) low end torque.
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Old 4th August 2007, 10:00   #3
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Nice write up.. Sathya.. I think you have covered more or less all of them..
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Old 4th August 2007, 10:04   #4
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One of the best written Long Term Reports. Very precise. A must read for someone wanting the SX4. Congrats dude!
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Old 4th August 2007, 10:16   #5
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good review sathya. a bit lengthy but still detailed for someone wishing to buy the car. perhaps for me the FE of 10 + a loan of 5 lacs would ve dented me leave alone my car we ll have to see what honda does in response. one thing i felt is that the honda feels lighter its got an EXCELLENT gear shift and very very smooth clutch. now if they just add good tyres, and ABS + airbags, perhaps they are into the game again. but charging customers 1 lac more for a 100bhp engine is nonsense no matter how refined it is. these days everyone has a 100bhp+ refined engine. surprisingly the costs of maintaining a honda seem much lesser as i keep track of ajmats(mod) reports till date.

perhaps if honda added heavy tyres, the FE might go down, so they may not be doing it for that reason. not sure though

so finally you bought that sun film eh? i ve seen you messaging a zillion times on update of FE after sun film
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Old 4th August 2007, 10:24   #6
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Good writeup Sathya !! That is an extensive review, I must say for someone buying this car go through this review. T-BHP ko kya ho raha hai ?? At this rate car mags are not going to sell.

Very good review. I saw yesterday a brand new white SX4 Zxi near my factory, I mjust say it looked huge !! Very attractive car. I had almost brought it, but then with the distances I do, only a diesel can suit my needs. Cheers !! Again excellent review Sathya !!
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Old 4th August 2007, 10:43   #7
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Superbly comprehensive review! Thanks for sharing this, sathya. This will surely help a lot of potential SX4 buyers.
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Old 4th August 2007, 10:49   #8
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Fantastic report and very descriptive. A perfect guide those wanting to buy an SX4 but need fine details on the car.

Wishing you many years of happy motoring
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Old 4th August 2007, 10:56   #9
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Thats was a loooooong report. Very nicely written.
Some points that came to my mind too, after reading this.

1. FE is nice for a vehicle of its size. Considering my friend with fiesta 1.4 is getting only 9, and my wagonR giving around 12-13 only.

2. Reverse gear issue is mainly because the gear is not syncromesh as the other gears. The issue is not confined to WagonR/ Swift/SX4. But is seen in other company cars as well. I found Swift/SX4 to have wonderful gearshifts.

3. Looks are subjective, but i'd anyday chose the SX4 over the NHC (though current NHC looks better that before after the facelift)

4. With respect to ICE, i dont think such features are available in after market systems as well. (play them in reverse order, jump to select track number, etc.)

Anyways, nice to see that you are very happy with the purchase. I have this feeling most of the negatives you have mentioned will get solved when you get more used to the car (Since this is your first car)
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Old 4th August 2007, 11:09   #10
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Hi Sathya,

All I can say about your write up is WOOOOOOOWWW.

Nice review. Covered almost all points. Will be certainly helpful for the prospective buyers and for those who are not able to decide which car to buy (in C segment). I'am not seeing many SX4's in Bangalore as of now. Maybe due to its long wait.
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Old 4th August 2007, 11:20   #11
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Thumbs up One amazing review..

Sathya, I don't think so that you have missed any thing at all. Just amazing.
I love the higher G.C on SX4. Thanks for sharing......

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Old 4th August 2007, 11:22   #12
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Satya...that was just so good a review. It shows hiw much you love your car. All the best.
Enjoy...and drive safe.
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Old 4th August 2007, 11:26   #13
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Great review Sathya, any idea on what was wrong with the clutch that Maruti recalled the part? also any difference you feel after the change?
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Old 4th August 2007, 11:43   #14
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Great, comprehensive, well written and very useful review! Will be a great help to potential buyers!
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Old 4th August 2007, 11:53   #15
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Very nice review. I am going to take a printout of it, for future reference and for anyone who plans to buy the SX4.

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