By Steve Berry
The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is a smart-looking, small SUV (sport utility vehicle) improving on its predecessor by looking beefier than before and packing in some great tech alongside two refined and frugal Boosterjet petrol engines.
You also get a lot of car for your money – it is a Suzuki after all.
Perhaps the downside is a lack of premium-feel material in the cabin but if you prefer “tech” to “tactile” then you can’t go wrong with the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross.
It comes with a raft of standard features you’ll be paying extra for on other manufactures cars.
Available in 1-litre, 3-cylinder, 111 PS guise (56.4 mpg, combined) or the more powerful 1.4 litre, 4-cylinder ,140 PS unit (50.4 mpg, combined), these engines give the S-Cross all the power you will need around town.
The 1.4 unit is the better motorway cruiser being quieter and feeling a little more punchier on the overtake.
The base SZ4 1.0-litre (from £14,999) comes with front-wheel drive only and a five-speed manual gearbox while the SZ-T (from £17,749) can be had with a six-speed auto gearbox. But if you need 4×4 then you’ll have to stick with the manual.
The model I drove was the SZ5 (from £21,749) and has the 1.4 Boosterjet engine and Suzuki’s ALLGRIP 4-wheel-drive system fitted as standard.
You’ll need to add £1,350 for auto transmission. The prices quoted include a £2,500 customer saving available on S-Cross SZ4 and a £3,000 customer saving available on S-Cross SZ-T and SZ5 models.
Offer applies to private retail customers purchasing and registering a new S-Cross from participating dealers between July 1 and September 30, 2018.
Standard features are the Suzuki’s strongpoints with the base model getting five-doors, 16in alloys, Air-con, cruise-control, DAB radio, CD player, USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
There’s also powered and heated door mirrors as well as black front, side and rear under body trims.
The S-Cross SZ-T is probably the sweet-spot for value as it adds satellite navigation, rear parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, auto headlights and wipers, LED projector headlights, LED daytime running lights, auto dim rear view mirror, silver side and rear under body trims.
There’s also silver roof rails, 17in polished alloy wheels, door mirror with indicator, front fog lamps, dual-auto air conditioning, rear privacy glass, leather steering wheel and keyless entry and start.
Try those options on a new Nissan Qashqai or Mazda CX-3 and the price-difference will be very significant.
The top spec is the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, ALLGRIP 1.4 SZ5. You’ll gain leather seats, heated front seats, panoramic sunroof, radar brake support, adaptive cruise control and a front centre speaker.
Climbing onboard the S-Cross you’ll notice that you are sitting a little higher than in some other Crossover vehicles.
The Vauxhall Mokka and even the Nissan Qashqai don’t feel quite so lofty as the Suzuki.
Up front the leather-clad seats are supportive without feeling too firm and the non-electric adjustment works fine for height, length and back-adjustment.
The multi-function steering wheel has rake and reach adjustment while the manual gearstick is well-placed and comfortable to use.
The 7in touchscreen is generous at this price level and you’ll find it easy to navigate around.
What lifts the cabin more than anything on the SZ5 model is the huge panoramic sunroof which not only has an electric blind but also slides open allowing light to flood in.
Space in the rear is otherwise very good and on par with rivals.
Where you will find plenty of space is in the boot which at 430 litres is class-leading. The boot floor can be lifted, providing more storage space.
Dropping the 60:40 split rear seats gives 875 litres of flat load-space which should be more than enough for most.
Out on the road I found the 1.4 Boosterjet engine to be a delight. It was quieter than I had expected and even on the motorway it felt and sounded very refined.
Around town the Suzuki is hard to beat with good visibility and an oh-so-easy gearchange and light clutch action.
You don’t buy a crossover for a sporty ride though and the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is more at home when corners are taken at sensible speeds. The Suzuki is never going to be an A-road warrior.
The ride quality is just as good as its main rivals.
There’s also a snow mode for trickier conditions and there is also the ability to lock the car into permanent four-wheel drive should you ever find yourself stuck in mud or deep snow so you’ll find the ALLGRIP-equipped cars very capable off-roaders too.
The S-Cross is offering a practical, small Crossover that is packed with useful tech and practical driving aids at a price that should leave its rivals feeling rather embarrassed – if not a little Cross.
AT A GLANCE: Suzuki SX4 S-Cross SZ5
OTR Price: £21,749
Engine: 1.4 Boosterjet turbo petrol
Power: 140 PS
Transmission: 6-speed Manual
0-62mph: 10.2 secs
Top Speed: 124 mph
Combined Economy: 50.4 mpg