With a few exceptions, I’ve always liked hatchbacks.


More practical than their compact and subcompact sedan siblings, these vehicles offer wagon/CUV practicality, but with better fuel economy and in a more svelte package.


Hatchbacks, in my mind, usually win on looks as well. Compare the Impreza sedan with the five-door version, the Corolla with the Matrix, and the Yaris sedan with the hatch. I prefer the latter in all cases — especially the Yaris.


So too with the 2010 Suzuki SX4 Hatchback.

A step up from the bland sedan, this funky little five-door, with its trucky lines, optional roof rails and pronounced wheel arches looks like a mini SUV.

And with optional 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels pushed to the four corners, very short rear overhangs and relatively wide track, the SX4 has a firmly planted look.

That aside, there are plenty of reasons to consider Suzuki’s SX4, not the least being its availability of all-wheel-drive.

Another reason is value. A reasonably well-equipped FWD base model (with six-speed manual) begins at $17,695.

This gets you keyless entry; power windows and doors; air conditioning; four-speaker, satellite-ready AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA sound system; rear window wiper/washer; six airbags, ABS with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, and more.

This little hatch is no off-roader, but for cottage roads or slippery conditions, a rocker switch between the front seats can toggle from 2WD (front drive) to Auto, which sends power to the rear when needed, or even Lock, which sends constant torque to both axles up to 60 km/h.