It’s been sixteen years since “The New Family Man”. As a loving father, you’ve done all you can to provide for your son or daughter, taught them well, raised them the right way. Now in a single that emerged from a person’s mouth, you’ve moved on to the second stage of their life, university or college. It’s a huge moment; one that many parents hope will have their ‘child’ continue to live at home,
It’s been sixteen years since “The New Family Man”. As a loving father, you’ve done all you can to provide for your son or daughter, taught them well, raised them the right way. Now in a single that emerged from a person’s mouth, you’ve moved on to the second stage of their life, university or college.
It’s a huge moment; one that many parents hope will have their ‘child’ continue to live at home, and joining the world of commuting on a daily basis.
Sure, it’s a tough sell but that ultimate bribe is within your realm of weapons. “Stay at home and we’ll buy you a car.”
The industry is flooded with options for the young adult shopping for a new vehicle. Chances are they aren’t paying for it, so the features are typically skewed to the parents that are doing the purchasing.
Safety, ease-of-use, visibility, build quality, reliability and most of all, price are bound to be the first questions that come out the parents mouth.
I spent some time coming up with viable options, two cars that are close in price, features, and overall attention to detail. As such, this process was narrowed to the Suzuki SX4 Sport Sedan and a Kia Rio SX with navigation.
Kia Rio SX | Navigation | $21,695 MSRP (as tested)
The Kia Rio has dramatically changed over the years. Earlier in its production, most people would instantly assume it’s a bottom of the barrel budget car. In recent years the Korean automakers have kicked things up a notch and up’d the ante.
The Rio, fully spec’d out, looks pretty good. The exterior looks sharp but the interior is where the car shines. Featuring a two-tone scheme, the Rio takes some influence from the exotic world and combines it into an economical package.
On the subject of economical, it also gets pretty impressive fuel mileage. We observed a combined 7.7L/100 KM with air conditioning running. Equipped with a button that says ECO, it’s supposed to save you more gas. By supposed to, I mean to say I didn’t even attempt it because in my mind, ECO means NOT FUN. Honestly, you don’t need to save more gas than 7.7L and sacrifice any type of power that the car can muster.
The Rio also provides a ton of in car electronics, this model equipped with Navigation, a very good stereo system, backup camera and Bluetooth. It has everything your teenage hipster would want to sync to. I still think it lacks a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.
Suzuki SX4 | Sport Sedan | $21,035 MSRP (as tested)
The Suzuki SX4 lacks navigation, backup camera and great fuel economy. I managed to get it down to 8.6L/100 KM, but it regularly receives a flag for going off-side into the 9s.
However, the Suzuki has two main features, which positively rank higher than the ones it is lacking. The front visibility in the car is unbelievable. Featuring quarter glass in the front pillars, a huge windshield, and loads of headroom, the Suzuki is unparalleled in the visibility department. You can see pedestrians, bikers, J-walkers, squeegee boys, homeless people and any other variety of people you want to avoid. Little dogs are a bit harder but not impossible. It is something that you must see in person to full grasp.
For those daily commutes, the car also has a very comfortable armrest. It’s a simple addition but one many car markers have seemed to forget. I’m looking straight at you Smart and MINI.
On that subject matter, the SX4 might be one of the most enjoyable cars I’ve driven in city traffic. Toronto’s downtown core is littered with taxis, and taxis that love pulling off slightly to the side to stop you from honking at them but unable to get around. The Suzuki solves that problem with something I call ‘awesomeness’. The car makes you feel like you’re in an autocross event and the cars around you are the pylons. One is inconveniencing you, just go around them. There’s a wooden crate on the road? No problem! Around you go. Street cars, beige Corollas, all an afterthought.
One kid chasing another one on a bike, yelling ‘Where’s my money?!’ Okay, for that one you stop and laugh.
The SX4 just does something for you. Put your hands on the wheel, foot on the gas and just go. Don’t worry about everything else. Just drive.
In many ways the Suzuki is a worse car, it lacks many features of the Rio and on paper you’d side with the KIA.
But with $4,000 rebates available to any consumer walking in to a Suzuki dealership, the SX4 offers a fantastic overall package. Enticing enough that when your kid is home after school or on weekends, you’ll jump in, use it yourself and laugh as you throw it around corners with reckless abandonment… that last part will be kept between us. Your kid doesn’t need to know that.