Thursday, 23 October 2014


If you take a look around you, you’ll undoubtedly notice that there’s a growing number of crossovers on the road. These offer a good compromise between urban practicality and go-anywhere attitude. And one I was rather interested to test was the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross. I drove an SX4 a few years ago and was generally impressed. The styling left a little to be desired, but the S-Cross looked rather nice. Happily it wasn’t long before I had one sat on the driveway, and I could see if it would match up to my expectations.

Looks – 8/10

The exterior styling is a definite plus point for the S-Cross. The front end is a bit bulbous, but overall the proportions are good. One good thing about the front end is the daytime running lights, which look rather smart. The side profile and rear end are very nice indeed; a good mix of bold lines and curves which embrace the crossover concept. The privacy glass offered a rather nice touch of class, particularly against the ‘Bright Red’ paint. As did the silver roof rails. The two-tone alloy wheels are definitely more on the urban side of things, but work well. The biggest success is the lower trim with black and silver plastic. This again contrasts the paint, and gives a more rugged ‘off-roady’ feel to the S-Cross.

On the inside the range-topping SZ5 trim has plenty of leather and the plastics aren’t too bad either. There’s some silver trim to break up the blackness a bit, which is nice, and the dials are a bright blue colour. The seat design is a bit plain, and I find the lack of buttons surrounding the touch screen a tad unusual. But the large sunroof lets plenty of light into the cabin, and again helps against the sea of black leather and plastic. The actual dashboard itself is a rather nice shape; swooping away to the passenger side of the car. The SX4 S-Cross may not have the most exotic materials inside, but think of it like good home-cooked food. It may not have a Michelin star, but it’s honest and appreciated all the same.

Handling/Performance – 8/10

There are two 1.6-litre engine choices- a petrol and diesel- for the S-Cross. I opted for the torquier diesel. I also had an ALLGRIP model which meant a selectable 4WD system; with a great auto setting as well as specific modes for snow and sport driving. The diesel offers up 120PS and 320Nm, the latter of which makes for an excellent drive when coupled to the 6-speed manual gearbox. The 0-62mph dash is dealt with in a not-so-brisk 13.0 seconds with a top speed of 108mph. Basically if you want a lot of off-the-line acceleration the S-Cross isn’t for you. But in-gear acceleration feels good and there’s plenty of overtaking power on the motorway.

The handling isn’t all that bad either. The wheels have plenty of rubber on them, and the suspension is such that the ride is comfortable enough whether the road be a silky-smooth motorway or gnarly lane. Despite the lack of aesthetics the seats are comfortable which helps as well. The steering is relatively sharp, but lacks enough feel and weight for my liking. The 4WD system works well though, offering up plenty of grip through the twisties in even the most horrendous of conditions. Of course a vehicle the size of this- and with its height- there is some lean when cornering. It’s not as severe as I would have expected though.

Economy – 10/10

By far the best aspect of the diesel SX4 S-Cross is that even in ALLGRIP guise the economy figures make for some happy reading. I’ll start with the CO2 emissions. With the clever start/stop technology, the S-Cross emits just 114g/km, which in a decent-sized family car is rather good indeed. That puts the Suzuki in VED band C with road tax costing just £30 a year. What’s more, the first year is free, which really helps keep running costs down. And whilst the diesel unit may not be the most powerful, but it will return you 64.2mpg on a combined cycle, and that goes someway to making amends.

Practicality – 10/10

A vital aspect of a crossover is that it has to be a usable family car. The S-Cross does this extremely well in every aspect. The boot is big enough for the shopping, the family dog, and whatever luggage you might want for a weekend away. The rear legroom was extremely generous, and even tall adults will sit comfortably in the back. The high driving position gives good visibility on the road, whilst the reversing camera and front/rear parking sensors help in a car park. The SZ5 comes with a rather comprehensive list of equipment too, from the satellite navigation and Bluetooth system, to heated seats, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and cruise control. This all means that the S-Cross is a good package, and is very nice to live.

Fun – 8/10

I have to admit I rather liked having the SX4 S-Cross for a week. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect at the outset, and I think that stood me in good stead. I was able to discover the Suzuki for myself without any preconceptions and I like what I found. This is without doubt a key player in the crossover market. It has a proper 4WD system to help with the rural side of things, and it has all the gadgetry to deal with the urban environment. I think a nice addition would be some rear entertainment for the kids, and for the drivers amongst us a few extra horses under the bonnet wouldn’t go amiss.

Concluding Remarks

So that just about sums up the SX4 S-Cross. It offers a great all-round package whilst undercutting rivals on price. Take my top-of-the-range SZ5 ALLGRIP. It comes with just about every bit of tech you could wish for with a good 4WD system as well. And it costs £23,549 with a 3-year, 60,000-mile warranty as well. You simply choose a colour and that’s that. No options list here to send the price creeping up. And I’ve always liked that about Suzuki. No fuss. No frilly bits. Just a good, honest car. And that’s how I’d sum up the SX4 S-Cross in a catchy little line; it’s homemade cottage pie on a cold evening.

Total Score – 44/50

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