Suzuki S-cross

Suzuki’s cross­over SUV is a well-sorted pack­age, re­ports Damien O’car­roll.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

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.

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