Suzuki Automotive has a tradition of making some very good—and very capable—four-wheel drive vehicles. For example the legendary Samurai/Jimny, the Sidekick/Vitara (Geo/Chevrolet Tracker), and even the XL7. In 2007, Suzuki introduced the SX4 to the U.S., complete with an all-wheel-drive option.
Let's get one thing straight: the subcompact SX4 is not designed to be a hard-core off-road vehicle like the Samurai is/was. In stock form, the SX4 has an independent front suspension, fairly low ground clearance, and an all-wheel drive system without a set of low range gears. However, with the help of the aftermarket, there are people who are modifying the vehicle to be more than a bit capable off the pavement.
One of those people is Geoff Beasley of Concord, CA. Geoff, aka "rubicon4wheeler" on SX4club.com, is an off-road enthusiast who wanted to make his Suzuki SX4 a bit more trail capable. Geoff admits the vehicle isn't a rock crawler (he's got other 4x4s for that), but he said the modifications are enough to make it perfectly capable on SUV-type off-road trails.
Geoff said, "I don't take the car on rockcrawling trails, but it does great exploring California and Nevada's mountain trails and desert back roads, unplowed snowy trails, and the dunes at Pismo and Eureka. And it still gets me an easy 26-30mpg!"
Modifications to his SX4 include Rocky Road Outfitters' 2 1/8" lift kit, bigger and more off-road-capable General's Grabber AT2 tires (215/70-R16 vs. stock 205/60/16), and Primitive Racing's engine/transmission and rear differential skidplates for underbody protection. In addition, Geoff added a Reese/Curt receiver hitch, an HID conversion for both the headlights and foglights, and Amsoil synthetic fluids.
With regards to the photos, Geoff stated that he was able to go anywhere the SX4's gearing allowed for. He said, "With a low-range transfer case or a 'granny' first gear, this car could do so much more!"
Most of the snow shots were taken in the Sierra Nevada mountains, south of Lake Tahoe over Thanksgiving weekend, 2008; be sure to click on the photos for a bigger picture. You can see more photos and more videos by visiting the link to the thread on SX4club.com below.
Rubicon deserves a thread of his own (SX4club.com)
Rocky Road Outfitters