► Simple, practical
► Mild hybrid is a peach
► Loads of kit for the money
Our S-Cross drive commenced with a short, global presentation via the internet. The UK press missed a good minute or two because of a technical glitch. Which is the least Suzuki thing to happen perhaps ever.
The old S-Cross was subject to one recall over eight years of service and Suzuki has a well-earned reputation for delivering dependable products.
According to the latest Institute of Customer Service survey Suzuki placed third out of 260 organisations in the UK. That makes the Japanese firm the best-placed car brand by some way.
It scores really well for trust. And we get it. Rock-solid reliability. Nearly achievable WLTP figures. Loadsa gear. Four-wheel drive options.
Boring tho’, innit?
The designers must think so too because they’ve been brave with the styling. It’s a new look for the S-Cross and it’s very angular. Big front end. Old-school Lexus-style clear lights at the rear.
Rugged black plastic cladding wheelaraches contain tidy-looking 17-inch wheels. While the rear is plastered with words. Hybrid. All Grip. S-Cross. And confusingly, SX4.
It’s not called SX4. These letters don’t appear on Suzuki’s website or its material on the car.
It may well be a cryptogram left by Suzuki’s designers, who obviously had a lot of spare time because the interior has been lifted straight out of the Vitara.
And the interior?
That isn’t strictly true. The S-Cross gets a new vent design and a 7.0-inch or 9.0-inch infotainment screen depending on which model you choose.
The infotainment is a bit old-school but it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. We recommend using that.
Continuing on the old-school aesthetic is the use of a physical handbrake. Suzuki is one of the few manufacturers ploughing ahead with this one.
Behind the steering wheel houses a speedo and rpm gauge. In the centre there’s a small screen with additional info. This can be altered with actual stalks protruding into the dash rather than with buttons.
Seating position is high and commanding, spot on for this kind of thing. It’s all logically laid out and while it all looks a bit cheap, everything feels reassuringly solid.
Rammed with gear too. As standard there’s AEB, adaptive cruise (with traffic sign recognition), blind spot monitoring and a raft of other safety kit. While a 360-degree camera and keyless go are optional.
However, even top spec cars are left with a blank switch beneath the steering wheel. Still, better than BMW’s ‘we’ll give you the button but you’ll have to pay us a fee’ business model.
Driver and passenger up front can live harmoniously without getting in each other’s hair.
The middle seat in the rear is pretty narrow. But it’s suitable for three adults as long as the journey is short.
The boot, at 430-litres, is smaller than nearly all of its rivals. But it’s all enough for a small family or a garden centre regular.
Top spec cars also get AWD. This is a relative rarity in this segment. Opting for Suzuki’s ALLGRIP unlocks four modes. In Auto mode it’s FWD but will send torque to the rear if there’s slippage.
In Snow it utilises four-wheel drive more. And in Lock mode you can lock it into AWD too.
Sport will try to incorporate AWD based on throttle inputs. We can’t say we felt much of a difference.
What’s it like to drive?
There’s only one engine on offer, Suzuki’s perky mild-hybrid 1.4.
It’s a bit of a peach. It makes 127bhp but importantly it’s torquey too (173lb ft), making it one of the pokiest sub 2.0-litre mild-hybrid SUVs around.
You can definitely feel the shove away from the line. And it sits at motorway speeds fine too. FWD versions have a 9.5second 0-62mph time while automatics slow to 10.2 seconds.
Top spec cars get AWD, while bottom spec get FWD. Both are available with autos and manuals. The manual is a sweet shifting short-throw six-speed jobbie. The auto is also six-speeds and can be hesitant.
Get to a corner and most enthusiasts will find the steering overly light with very little feedback. A few times on Milton Keynes’ roundabouts we quickly had to dial a little more lock in order to make it round.
Comfy though. Low speed ride especially. The soft suspension does a solid job of keeping occupants’ rears jumping out of their seats.
Road noise at motorway speeds is annoying as considerable levels of engine, road, and wind noise whoosh into the cabin.
Suzuki certainly isn’t changing its formula here. It’s good value, has loads of kit, and might outlast some of its buyers.
Dynamically it’s nothing to write home about and the interior won’t make your passengers jelly.
Current Suzuki customers will love the new S-Cross. We just can’t imagine many new ones will be knocking down the doors of dealers.
Read more Suzuki reviews here