We’re road testing the sleek new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross – a transformed SUVâ¦
Where the outgoing Suzuki S-Cross has lost its appeal, it has gained in practicality, off-road capability, comfort, equipment and value for money.
This third-generation model builds on the strengths of its predecessor, adding style and a complete upgrade in safety and technology.
And let’s face it, he has to be good as he battles with Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-30 and Seat Ateca in the highly competitive family crossover industry.
The new S-Cross has a few tricks up its sleeve. Unlike most of its rivals, not only is it also available with four-wheel drive (AllGrip in Suzuki parlance), but it offers more standard equipment, better fuel economy and lower emissions.
Add to that Suzuki’s hard-earned reputation for reliability and top-notch customer service and it becomes a serious contender.
So let’s start with the obvious. While the S-Cross retains roughly the same profile as the Mk 2, it now has a bolder, more rugged SUV appearance and looks particularly good from the front.
Priced at Â£ 24,999, at launch, it’s only available with a 1.4-liter ‘Boosterjet’ turbo engine, featuring a 48V mild hybrid system (there’s a lithium-ion battery from 0.3 kWh under the driver’s seat) developing 129 hp in total.
Offering a 0-62mph acceleration time of 9.5 seconds (2WD models) for manual and automatic transmissions and a top speed of 118mph, it is capable of reaching 53.2mm / min, while that CO2 emissions are as low as 120 g / km. And those last two stats are best in class.
To make life less complicated, the S-Cross is available in two trim levels: Motion and Ultra.
Entry-level Motion comes with a central 7.0-inch touchscreen (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, cruise control adaptive gear, keyless access and heated front seats.
Ultra adds a 9.0-inch touchscreen with integrated satellite navigation, a 360-degree camera, leather upholstery, a sliding panoramic roof and the option of four-wheel drive.
There is also a step-up inside. Although not state of the art, it is spacious, comfortable and logically laid out.
It’s also well constructed, although we prefer soft-touch surfaces. It’s also refreshing to find buttons and dials in addition to the touchscreen (a big improvement over its predecessor, but still not the most stylish system ever).
There’s plenty of room for passengers, but the panoramic sunroof eats away at headroom, so don’t forget to sit in the back for a test drive.
The trunk capacity is 430 useful liters, rising to 875 liters with the rear seats folded down. There are also useful storage spaces around the cabin.
Our only gripe is that the driver’s seating position is a bit high, but that won’t be a problem for most potential buyers.
On the road, the new Suzuki S-Cross is easy and fun to drive. The engine is impatient, and thanks to the car‘s lightweight construction and that boost from the battery, it feels alive and only becomes vocal when pushed hard.
Like most SUVs, there is a bit of body roll in the faster corners, but overall it feels composed and surprisingly nimble, while six-speed automatic or manual transmissions are a pleasure to use. .
It’s ideal for the city, with light steering and good visibility, as well as versatile parking sensors and a rear camera.
Plus, if you’re no stranger to extreme weather conditions or just want extra peace of mind, then all-wheel drive is standard if you go for the Ultra trim.
It has four driving modes: Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock. Auto is the default. It uses two-wheel drive, switching to four wheels if it detects wheel slip. Sport makes the S-Cross more dynamic, maximizing grip when needed, altering engine response and cornering performance.
Use Snow for obvious and slippery conditions, while Lock is for controlling the car in snow, mud or sand.
Verdict: The new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is something of a revelation. An affordable and practical family SUV that performs well and offers impressive off-road capabilities. Generously equipped, spacious and offering low operating costs, it is equipped with a safety kit and the latest infotainment technologies.
Journal in association with www.automotiveblog.co.uk