Suzuki’s crossover SUV is a well-sorted package, reports Damien O’carroll.
The Suzuki S-cross started its life as the SX-4 back in 2006 as a small, perky SUV Crossover that went over well enough. The second generation that appeared in 2013 ditched the cute looks for a more serious, grown-up look and a series of slightly different, but confusingly similar names around the world including New SX4, SX4 Crossover and SX4 S-cross. Here in New Zealand it was officially SX4 S-cross, but just became known as the S-cross. And now the latest version of the S-cross has arrived and it is even more grown up, but it still hides a small SX-4 badge on its rear, just as a reminder. The new S-cross comes in LTD 2WD and AWD forms, but a new addition to the range is the one we take a look at here – the Prestige 2WD. The Prestige gets a range of spec upgrades over the already impressively equipped LTD, including rear privacy glass, artificial leather upholstery, automatic selflevelling LED headlights and LED taillights, rain sensing wipers, and a new design of 17-inch alloy wheel, but the biggest change is the fact that it also gets the engine from the Suzuki Vitara Turbo. This means it is the same 103kw/220nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder “Boosterjet” turbo petrol engine that is so good in the Vitara Turbo, also hooked up to the same excellent six-speed automatic transmission. But where the Vitara Turbo is set up for somewhat more rugged applications (like actually going off road) the S-cross takes a far more road-based approach to the SUV, with a more compliant ride and sharper steering, making it both more comfortable than the Vitara and a more engaging steer. Ride comfort is particularly impressive on the open road in the S-cross, with a mature, refined ride that makes the small urban- oriented Crossover more than capable of tackling a country-length road trip. The Boosterjet engine is a thoroughly brilliant little unit with plenty of grunt and impressive flexibility, while the six-speed auto is nicely matched to it, with nicely spaced gear ratios. While some may find the prominent and very chrome-y grille a bit much, we actually rather like the S-cross’s bolder look, although perhaps not so much in our test car’s colour. The level of standard equipment, comfort and drivability of the S-cross Prestige is particularly impressive considering its price of $33,900, but becomes even more so with Suzuki’s special introductory price of $31,990. A deeply impressive package that is great to drive and at a price that virtually makes it a no-brainer. We have to say we are very impressed by the Suzuki S-cross Prestige.