Suzuki are gunning for a new market segment, the crossover. Since the Qashqai created the class way back in 2007 it has exploded, with most of the major players fielding their own crossover vehicle.
Suzuki have always been lacking in the family segment, they need the S-Cross to be a big seller. We attended the launch, so got to try the whole range, but the model we will focus on is the two wheel drive diesel.
Making 120PS and 320 Nm of torque the 1,870 KG S-Cross does the 0-62 sprint in 12 seconds. Urban MPG is claimed at 55.3, with class leading CO2 emissions of 110g/km. Our test model was in top spec SZ5 trim making it £21,749.
The S-Cross sits lower than most crossovers and looks a lot more car like in its appearance.
Large bold headlamps frame a small gloss black grille, the whole front is very Kizashi looking.
Front fog lamps are half framed with chrome trim, lower sections of the S-Cross are clad in black. A simple style line cuts along the Suzuki’s side just above the door handles, while lower down subtle bulges extend over the wheel arches. Moving to the back a large rear windscreen stretches edge to edge, below, the rear lights cut into the quarter panel and meet with the side styling line.
Overall it looks very smart, cleaner and more sophisticated than some of the competition. The 17″ gloss black polished alloys on our test model really finished off the car nicely, and matched the lower silver (SZ5 only) trim.
Our two wheel drive 1.6 diesel is set to be the UK’s best seller, we can see why.
Coupled with a 6 speed manual gearbox, the 1.6 DDiS pulls best from around 1,5000 RPM, it feels strong and accelerates well.
It really doesn’t feel as though 0-62 takes 12 seconds. Engine noise becomes more noticeable as the revs climb, but cruising at 70 in 6th it’s all very calm.
Wind and road noise is minimal at motorway speeds, making the Suzuki an ideal family cruiser.
The same team that were behind the Swifts handling also engineered the S-Cross. Steering is very direct and instant, nicely weighted too making it effortless at any speed. We liked the ride quality, you can feel the road through the chassis but it soaks up enough imperfections to keep it comfy.
Under heavy braking the nose dips slightly, but the brakes are pin sharp and very responsive.
Whilst at the launch we also drove the 1.6 petrol model, it was nearly on par with the diesel. The only noticeable difference was the engine noise, due to it being quite high revving it really gets noisy in the cabin toward the top end of the range. But if you don’t need a diesel then you can save yourself the £2k premium. For a 1.6 it accelerates really well, it has the same 120 PS output but torque dips to only 156Nm, and emissions climb slightly to 127 g/km. SZ5 trim starts at £19,749.
We also drove the 1.6 petrol with ALLGRIP, Suzuki’s new all-wheel drive technology. It has four modes: Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock.
Auto uses two wheel drive only, but as soon as slip is detected 4WD kicks in. Sport raises the engine RPM by 500, and can also send 20% more torque to the rear wheels. Snow is pretty self-explanatory – it enhances traction and stability on low-friction surfaces. Lock is designed for getting the S-Cross out of snow or mud, by sending high torque to the rear wheels all the time.
Whilst we couldn’t test Lock or Snow, we did test Sport mode. As soon as you select it you can feel the change straight away, you are given a slight nudge from the rear, the S-Cross feels like it’s being pushed along rather than pulled. Change it back to Auto and that extra acceleration drops off, and you feel like you are being pulled along again. It’s very handy to have and really helps grip in the corners.
It’s very smart and rather minimalist but the dash is a little bland. The fascia around the touchscreen is a case in point. Across the center of the dash is a nice soft touch crosshatch panel, but upper dash plastics are a little hard and scratchy looking, the same goes for the upper door trim.
The steering wheel is adorned with more buttons than the dashboard, allowing everything to be controlled without taking your eyes off the road.
Infotainment and Sat Nav is handled by the Garmin touch screen unit. It’s a great setup that we have seen in the latest Grand Vitara. It also gives you DAB radio, Bluetooth hands free, Aux in and an SD card slot, USB input can be found in the cavernous armrest cubby. Sound was good through the unit, with no distortion at higher volumes.
Up front the seats are comfortable and supportive, the rear ones however look a little less inviting…a basically flat bench with very little support. It makes the rear look basic and a little antiquated, not at all what you would expect for in a £21k family car; especially when the rear seats in the Qashqai look far more inviting.
Boot space is very good at 420 litres, a shallow lip and a wide, low entrance make the S-Cross very practical. The rear seats split 60:40 as well as angling back slightly aiding comfort – but decreasing capacity by 10 litres.
I really wanted the S-Cross to be the Qashqai killer, for me it so nearly is. Firstly it drives on par with the current Qashqai, it’s a good looker and sets itself apart from the crossover crowd…but one area lets it down. The interior.
It’s not bad by any means, it’s just a little basic looking, and some of the plastics seem a bit on the cheap side. Nissan have already stepped up their game with the latest generation Qashqai, making the S-Cross seem a little last gen…
At £21,749 it is however a good £3k cheaper than the equivalent top spec – 1.5 diesel Tekna Qashqai. You could even get the SZ5 1.6 diesel S-Cross with ALLGRIP for £23,549 which is still cheaper than the aforementioned Nissan. Meaning it’s a bit of a bargain! Personally I would save that £3k and forget about the interior, it still looks and drives great!
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross – Bargain crossover, good engine choice, bland interior, drives very well.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter