Good value and surprisingly good to drive it was too, but if there’s one criticism you could have levelled at the previous Suzuki S-Cross, it’s that it wasn’t exactly what you’d called memorable to look at. Not so with this newly-facelifted version.
Gone is the bland styling, replaced by much tougher and more aggressive-looking body cladding, along with a much bigger, much bolder chrome grille. To these eyes it looks pretty good, though it seems to have split opinion elsewhere.
One thing’s for sure, it certainly stands out now, but that’s not all the newly-updated SX4 S-Cross has going for it. Along with the new looks come the option of new engines, new trims and new equipment – is the S-Cross more of a bargain now than it’s ever been?
New for this facelifted model is the option of Suzuki’s range of Boosterjet turbo petrol engines, which includes the small 1.0-litre three-cylinder option available in the Baleno hatchback and soon the Swift, or the larger 1.4-litre that debuted on the Vitara.
With the current trend leaning towards small three-pot motors, Suzuki expects that the 1.0-litre will be a popular option, and so that’s the one that we tested, complete with a five-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive.
With 109bhp on tap, the little Boosterjet has decent acceleration for a motor this small, particularly considering the size of the car it’s dropped into. It’s got enough poke to dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in a healthy 11 seconds flat, before hitting a top speed of 112mph.
It’s unlikely the everyday driver will need anything more than that in a car of the S-Cross’ type, though the addition of a sixth gear for motorway cruising would be nice to increase efficiency and refinement, as the three-cylinder engine rumbles quite loudly at speed.
Buyers can also specify the option of a 1.6-litre diesel engine, along with ALLGRIP four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, which may appeal to anybody using the S-Cross as a workhorse rather than as an everyday car, but for family drivers who do relatively low miles the Boosterjet is a fine choice.
Ride and Handling
The S-Cross has always been something of a dark horse in the crossover/SUV segment and has always been one of the better cars of its type to drive. Happily, Suzuki hasn’t messed with the setup of the car too much compared to the pre-facelift version.
With direct steering and good body control, the S-Cross is a much better car to drive than models like the ubiquitous Qashqai and grip is good even without the benefit of four-wheel drive.
It’s perhaps not as nimble or overtly sporting as something like the CX-5, however, and there is predictably a fair bit of body lean in more demanding corners.
However, Suzuki has slightly tweaked the damping which is now stiffer than before. It feels much better composed as speed as a result and glides over lumps, bumps and potholes wheel when cruising, however the trade-off is that it can tend to feel a little fidgety at lower speeds and over rougher surfaces.
Overall though, it’s a good car to drive every day and one that’s surprisingly agile and engaging in a segment typically known for softness and comfort rather than agility.
The S-Cross is a much better car to drive than models like the ubiquitous Qashqai.
Did you know?
Best known today for its cars, motorcycles and maritime engines, Suzuki was originally founded to build looms for Japan’s silk industry.
Interior and Equipment
Inside, it’s the usual Suzuki fare so that means things like some flimsy-feeling hard plastics and a slightly gloomy interior ambiance. But while the materials won’t have the best in class beaten by a long shot, it’s comfortable, spacious and you can’t argue with the amount of kit either.
Understandably, some buyers might be tempted to spend a little extra money on something a bit more upmarket, but there’s a lot to be said for the S-Cross, especially considering that it’s intended to be a budget option.
Three trims are available: SZ4, SZ-T and SZ5, all of which get Bluetooth, daytime running lights and cruise control with a speed limiter as standard, plus seven airbags for your safety.
The mid-spec SZ-T trim we tested, which Suzuki expects to be particularly popular with fleet and company drivers, gets sat-nav and DAB radio housed in a sleek new touchscreen, plus a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control.
SZ5, meanwhile, gets heated seats, leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof: nice things to have but probably not essential for a lot of buyers, so it’s nice that Suzuki doesn’t force you to the range-topper to get the good likes some other manufacturers do.
Practicality is good too, with twin cupholders and a reasonably sized glovebox up front, plus enough space in the back than many of its rivals. There’s plenty of leg and headroom for six-footers, though the panoramic sunroof on the SZ5 will predictably eat up a few inches of space.
The boot is now 10 bigger than before at 440 litres, while folding the rear seats down raises cargo capacity to 870 litres. That lags behind the best in class, but the S-Cross comes with a false floor in the boot for storing valuables and a luggage net, so what it lacks in outright space it makes up for in versatility.
Prices for the entry-level SX4 S-Cross start from £15,999 on the road, which means that it undercuts the majority of its rivals by several thousand pounds, a pretty significant saving by anyone’s account. The mid-spec SZ-T model is priced from £19,499 while SZ5 starts from £23,499.
On paper, the 1.0-litre Boosterjet returns 56.4mpg with 113g/km of CO2, but as is always the case with these small turbo engines what it says isn’t necessarily what you get in the real world. During the time we had it, we managed an average of 43.4mpg.
In terms of efficiency, the diesel is by far superior, with a much stronger combined economy figure of 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of just 106g/km.
In terms of efficiency, the diesel is by far superior, with a much stronger combined economy figure of 68.9mpg.
Well equipped, practical and better to drive than most, the S-Cross is still something of a hidden gem in the crossover/SUV market. Many buyers will probably prefer it with four-wheel drive, but as a family runaround this model is hard to fault, though we’d probably opt for the diesel for better efficiency.
In any case, the SUV trend shows no sign of slowing down at all and whether you’re a fan of the bold new looks or not, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross remains a fine choice for anyone looking for an affordable and capable everyday car.