Plain (Petite) Jane

Shop the competition, and the first thing you'll notice about the SX4 is its diminutive size. A family friend who owns a Honda Fit said my test car looked tiny. Technically, it isn't: The SX4 has roughly the same footprint as cars like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but its height — 60.8 inches — is tall for this class, and that gives it a stubby, thin appearance. A benefit of that is the SX4's tall windows, which translates into excellent sight lines all around. That — and the car's relatively impressive 34.8-foot turning circle — makes this car great for city driving. At my North Chicago condo, I have to thread cars down a back alley to park in my garage. The SX4? Piece o' cake.

As cakes come, though, it's a bland one. Elements from the headlights to the fenders fit a cohesive styling theme, but that theme seems to be "forgettable design." This doesn't necessarily spell doom for the SX4: Toyota has struck automotive vanilla with the new Corolla, but that hasn't stopped droves of shoppers from choosing it.

See also:

Break-In
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Jump Starting Instructions
WARNING: • Never attempt to jump start your vehicle if the battery appears to be frozen. Batteries in this condition may explode or rupture if jump starting is attempted. • When making ...

Door Locks
WARNING: Always lock all doors when driving. Locking the doors helps to prevent occupants from being thrown from the vehicle in the event of an accident. It also helps prevent unintended op ...

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