SUZUKI SUV IS ALL GROWN UP
BIGGER S-CROSS COMES AT A PRICE
SUZUKI’S S-Cross baby crossover is no longer a bargain basement proposition.
The maker has dumped the cheapest version of the S-Cross and replaced it with a much more expensive turbocharged model presented as an alternative to its Vitara small SUV.
The S-Cross used to be priced from $22,990 drive away but the new model will start from $28,990 drive away.
A better equipped version will cost $30,990.
That’s a big leap but Suzuki managing director Andrew Moore said the move was designed to attract older, more conservative buyers who want more equipment and aren’t sold on the more rugged SUV styling of the Vitara.
The new S-Cross has had a visual makeover, with a bolder front grille, new alloy wheels and updated touchscreen infotainment set-up.
Gone are the 1.6-litre engine and continuously variable transmission, replaced by the 1.4-litre turbo and standard sixspeed auto from the Vitara.
All-wheel drive is no longer an option and the new S-Cross is more car-like.
Competitors include the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, which are both more cityfocused than the Vitara.
Standard equipment on the SCross Turbo includes satnav, Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto), seven airbags, cruise control, reversing camera and 17inch alloys. The Turbo Prestige model adds keyless entry and start, rear parking sensors, partial leather seats and LED headlights.
Once you get past the inyour-face new grille and the smattering of hard plastics in the cabin, the updated S-Cross is not without its charms.
The new touchscreen is more modern-looking and the dials are clear and easy to read. Standard satnav puts it on par with the more expensive versions of the CX-3 and HR-V, while you can mirror your smartphone menu on the big screen, if you have an iPhone.
In a major oversight, the Suzuki doesn’t have the same function for Android users, despite the fact they are in the majority in Australia.
A digital speedo, rear air vents and automatic emergency braking are other notable omissions, although they are balanced by the leather seats, and generous head and legroom in the
The S-Cross is fun on the open road. It’s lightweight with a reasonably low centre of gravity, which means it feels agile through the corners.
The fun factor is helped by direct and accurate steering and good grip from the Continental tyres. The suspension is generally well controlled over bumps and ripples but less-than-perfect back roads generate a fair bit of road and suspension noise.
The 1.4-litre turbo performs above the class average, with good response off the mark and strong mid-range for overtaking. On the freeway it feels more relaxed than many rivals, lumbering along quietly at low revs.
It’s thrifty too. We achieved 5.5litres/100km on the freeway and about 10.0litres in heavy city traffic.
Verdict: Even at $30,000, the Suzuki has its pluses: aboveaverage performance, stable road manners, generous equipment list and big, roomy cabin.
It’s well worth a look.
Suzuki's high-spec SCross is chasing more discerning motorists.