Three hatchbacks from 2010 (we might call them crossovers today), all of them about to disappear for various reasons. All three promise utility for their owners, and all provide four driven wheels. Thinking with your 2010 hat, which one do you take home?
Subaru’s third-generation Impreza went on sale for the 2008 model year sporting a revised design that was longer and wider, paired with a longer wheelbase than before. Impreza loyalists lost their wagon love in 2008, as the new cargo-carrying option was a truncated five-door hatchback design. Standard non-WRX versions utilized the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter flat four engine distributing 170 horsepower through all four wheels. Because we’re at TTAC, the selected transmission is the five-speed manual. A new generation of Impreza debuted for the 2012 model year after the styling on this third generation grew long in the tooth.
The original version of Pontiac’s practical Vibe debuted in 2003, built alongside the Toyota Matrix. Though the Pontiac brand was not long for the world by the time of its release, a brand new Vibe came to market for 2009. Coinciding with a new generation of Matrix, the Vibe was powered by either a 1.8- or 2.4-liter Toyota engine. Today’s trim is determined by our all-wheel drive requirement. The 2.4-liter inline-four produced 158 horsepower, married via all-wheel drive to the five-speed automatic. Production at the NUMMI plant ended in 2009, with 2010 Vibes on dealer lots representing Pontiac’s only offering that year.
Suzuki partnered with Fiat to develop its SX4 hatchback and sedan, pairing the two companies’ engineering know-how with a shape penned by Italdesign Giugiaro. Though Suzuki intended the SX4 as a European offering, the company saw sales potential and instead offered it in most international markets. Available for the 2007 model year in North America, all American SX4 hatchbacks had all-wheel drive. Thrifty Canadians could opt for two driven wheels instead. Though labeled as all-wheel drive, the SX4 had an electronically controlled four-wheel drive system. Selectable modes included two-wheel drive, automatic all-wheel drive, and a 50:50 power distribution “Lock” mode for speeds up to 40 miles an hour. Visual updates to the front and rear ends freshened the appearance for 2010. In six-speed manual AWD trim, a 2.0-liter engine motivated the SX4 with 150 horsepower. The Suzuki brand was not long for the North American market, and sales of all models wrapped up in 2013. The SX4 lives on in other markets today, where its success has granted it a second generation.
Three utility hatchbacks, all on their last legs. Which one’s a Buy?
[Images: Subaru, Pontiac, Suzuki]