The crossover/SUV market is storming and, as a company that virtually invented the lifestyle SUV with the Vitara, Suzuki was well placed to carve out a niche. But the S-Cross, unveiled in 2013, never quite caught the imagination, so now they’re trying again.
This isn’t just a minor cosmetic makeover though. Firstly, they’ve put an entirely new front end on the thing, bonnet, intakes, headlights, the lot.
It now looks more like an SUV which Suzuki thinks was one of the elements missing last time. And under that bonnet there are new engines.
There is a three-cylinder 1.0-litre or a 1.4-litre engine choice.
They replace the 1.6-litre and, predictably, they’re both turbocharged. Even so, a 988cc engine in a mid-size SUV looks like a bit of a stretch.
Not a bit of it. Suzuki, with its motorbike experience, knows how to extract power from engines this size, and this is no exception. Outright power is slightly down on the old 1.6-litre unit, but they’ve found more torque.
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.0 Boosterjet SZ-T
Engine 3 cyls, 988cc, petrol;
Torque 125lb ft;
Gearbox 5-spd manual;
Top speed 112mph;
Economy 56.4mpg (combined);
CO2 rating/BIK tax band 113g/km, 19%
You can feel it on the move. There’s no great step in power, no dawdling delay for the turbo to wake up, it just pulls fairly strongly with that distinctive off-beat thrum of a three-pot. It feels quicker than the numbers indicate.
The new vehicle rides 15mm higher than before, to accentuate that 4x4 quality, and the effect is a certain amount of rough fidgeting to the ride. However, speed up and things improve with a surprisingly enjoyable level of handling and roll control, even on twisty B-roads.
There are a few updates to the cabin, but it’s largely as before – perfectly well put together, but done so with what feels like not terribly brilliant materials. However, there is a decent amount of kit and the high seating position gives the driver good views all round. Rear passengers don’t get as much room, but that’s balanced by a boot that’s as big as in Nissan’s Qashqai.
For the money, this revised crossover represents a sound bargain. The updates work, and you get a decent vehicle with generous amounts of kit, from a manufacturer that knows a thing or two about building cars in the SUV/crossover sector.
If you want something with a bit of luxury and sophistication look elsewhere, look at a Nissan Qashqai or a Seat Ateca, but for the money this would do the job nicely.