Ride & Handling

It's a good thing that the SX4 handles better than it looks. It's as nimble as the pros in this class — we're talking the likes of a Lancer, Mazda3 or Focus. The steering wheel requires a bit more effort to turn than many, but it delivers excellent turn-in precision and good feedback. It also returns naturally to 12 o'clock and stays there on the highway. The Civic's steering wheel feels more secure at high speeds, but for a car that seems susceptible to crosswinds, the SX4 doesn't wander off course like I'd expect it to. My SX4 Sport's sport-tuned suspension kept body roll nicely in check, too.

Sadly, good handling does lead to a rather undisciplined ride. The suspension cushions major bumps well enough, and it keeps the wheels connected with the road over rough patches. But smaller imperfections are your constant companion in this car: Over long stretches of less-than-smooth highway, my tester settled into a rhythm of up/down motions. We've complained of the same proclivities in crossovers like the Honda CR-V and, to a lesser extent, the Toyota RAV4. No matter where it happens, it gets old fast.

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