Searing lumps of lazy light pierce the moist melancholy of an angsty Autumn as all at once the sonamulent sun deigns to radiate beyond the clumps of cloud that hang like pregnant party balloons forming an almost seamless ceiling across the badlands of the East Midlands. Yet the celestial fireball is not alone in attempting to illuminate this landscape for at mere mortal level are two fast moving orbs of Halogen, lightly searing this grey and grizzled Tuesday afternoon.
Headlamps on in the daytime? Yes. For that simple stalk twist action has a meaning far more symbolic than simply to spark into action the glimmering glower on the front of this machine. It says ‘I am on a mission’. I am kissing apexes, hugging kerbs, touching the limit. If I was any more intimate with this bold and brazen blacktop pretty soon one of us would be pregnant.
And my steed for this no-holds-barred brawl with the finest playground the Kettering area has to offer? The road gets more than it deserves for I am pedalling nothing less than the brand new Suzuki SX4 saloon. And yes, you read that right. The ‘saloon’ suffix is no tedious typo. The Big S really has given its sensational SX4 soft roader a right good booting. As soon as I saw the details of this beauty I could feel that it packed more promises than a shopping centre Santa. That longer rear overhang and firmly stamped slab of metal aft of the back wheels smelt strongly of enhanced balance. And now, as I spear across the scenery, I will discover if that initial suspicion can slap me with fact.
First impressions are strong like cheese. Engine feels as willing as a Japanese lap dancer, running to the redline like it’s sprinting from a storm. But the only storm here is grunt, and plenty of it, punting the Super-zuki along at will. The gearchange goes glove-in-fist with these four pots of power, slick as an oil salesman, smooth as a single malt sucked through a sax.
But in this class act, it’s the chassis that really brings the apple for teacher. Turn in is crisper than the Egyptian cotton sheets I slid from this morning, steering gives chat that would make one J. Ross sound Cistercian, and there’s BBC humbling levels of balance. Piling in hot to a particularly damp switchback I lifted off smartly, felt the back end go light, enjoyed the fertile budding of a full on slide. I simply gave it a dab of oppo and I was away.
The Suzuki SX4 1.6 SLX saloon is a bitch. And I spanked it.
Troy Queef is Executive Associate Editor-At-Large for DAB OF OPPO magazine
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