S-Cross signals Suzuki’s strong new SUV stature

by Michael Moroney

Suzuki has called the changes to the S-Cross a facelift, but in reality the new design makes the car look like an entirely new model. There’s a stronger, more off-road type look to the new S-Cross with its more solid looking grille, to give the impression that it’s always ready for action, even some tough stuff.

The new-look S-Cross sits taller on the road and feels like a bigger version of the previous SUV model along with stronger SUV identity. This one looks like it can tackle the off-road challenges and Suzuki’s optional Allgrip 4×4 will surely do just that.

The Suzuki S-Cross is considered to be a small market segment SUV and that’s a space that’s increasingly getting crowded with new model. The Suzuki has to be one of the originals with long standing models such as the Ignis and the ever popular Jimny. So Suzuki has a reputation in this market segment and the S-Cross just enhances that even further.

And there are other changes, particularly under the bonnet. The move to smaller engines with more power and economy is a significant part of the S-Cross update. Suzuki is renowned for being a master of small car and engine manufacture and that’s put to the test in the new S-Cross.

Suzuki has replaced the 1.6-litre petrol engine in the S-Cross with a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine that gets the benefits of a turbo-charger. Suzuki calls this engine the Boosterjet version and it has plenty of power and is claimed to have 9% more torque than the previous 1.6-litre version and comes with even better fuel economy.

The three-cylinder engine is lively but you will notice it’s slightly difference performance especially at lower revs and in traffic. Out on the road and motorway there is no hint of the smaller engine, just plenty of power on demand.

You will have rev the engine a little to get to 120km/hr motorway speeds and that pushes the power band to close to 3000rpm. That’s a level where it’s difficult to achieve economy. Despite that I had a range of almost 750km on a full tank giving me an economy figure that was just about 20% off the rated figure of 20m/litre (5.0/100km or 56mpg). I considered that to be a good level of economy and I found that the car delivers its best economy with the help of an engine start/stop system in city driving.

Suzuki claims that this new engine delivers 11% lower CO2 emissions giving an annual road cost of just €200. Compared with the older bigger engine model, Suzuki is also claiming a 10% improved combined fuel consumption figure with the new S-Cross Boosterjet model.

That’s what makes the S-Cross an appealing city SUV. It’s lightweight and manoeuvrable and easy to drive. The driver seat height is not as high s some of the other SUV’s on the market, while it does give good road visibility.

The test car came with a miles speedometer as the dominant numbers where the kilometres figures were smaller and more internal. That took a little getting used to, now that we are living with kilometres on all roads so it was too easy to overstep the speed limits if you are not careful.

The controls are neatly packaged with the dominant unit being the large centre flat screen display that splits into four sections for easy use. The test car came with the full package including Sat-Nav, which was simple to use. Setting the mobile phone to Bluetooth was also easy with no complicated routine.

This small S-Cross SUV is well equipped. The entry level SZ4 models come with seven airbags, ESP, Bluetooth, DAB digital radio, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, heated door mirrors, black protective skid plates and black wheel arch extensions.

The higher specification SZ-T versions add LED headlamps, satellite navigation, polished 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking camera, front and rear parking proximity sensors, dual zone automatic air conditioning, front fog lamps, rear privacy glass, silver roof rails and silver rear skid plates.

Five-star safety

The S-Cross has come through the Euro NCAP crash test programme with a five-star rating and includes two Iso-fix seat units in the rear. The fact that there is no spare wheel in the boot is a downside for me.

The entry price is enticing at €20,995 but you have to add €4,000 to that to get the higher specification SZ-T versions with bigger wheels and more internal features. Adding the AllGrip 4×4 option is even more expensive, but looking at the design S-Cross it feels that it’s made for more off-road than on-road.

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