TEST DRIVE SUZUKI S-CROSS 1.4 BOOSTERJET SZ5
UZUKI is a past master at producing stylish SUVs that don’t put too much of a dent in your wallet – and the S-Cross maintains that reputation.
Yes, for some the jury’s out on the big chrome grille, clamshell bonnet and angular lights – the result of a recent revamp designed to make this crossover more eye-catching.
Personally, I think it looks quite snazzy, especially allied to neat alloy wheels and natty rear lights, but where everyone can get on board is with Suzuki’s latest turbocharged 1.4 Boosterjet petrol engine.
Linked to a smooth six-speed automatic, the 138bhp engine is a peppy performer, especially from a standing start where it feels quicker than its official 0-62mph time of a shade over ten seconds.
It makes the S-Cross an exciting proposition, helped by the ALLGRIP four-wheel drive system which, along with a choice of modes including a snow setting, ensures plenty of grip on the road – even in the most inclement conditions.
A three-cylinder 1.0-litre version and a diesel option are also available, as is a manual transmission.
Suzuki’s engineers have set the S-Cross up to be more hatchback than SUV when it comes to ride and handling and its lightweight construction and well-weighted steering make it highly manoeuvrable while the ride is firm but not teeth threatening.
On the road this equates to comfort rather than hair-on-fire with all but the worst potholes littering our roads handled with aplomb.
It also uses the juice fairly frugally, achieving an average claimed figure of 49.5mpg, which equates to a realworld figure in the early 40s for motorway and urban motoring.
The cabin of the range-topping SZ5 model is well designed with a good view ensured by the raised ride height.
Suzuki ensure this S-Cross has all mod cons including a touchscreen system giving access to the radio and sat nav, as well as providing smartphone connectivity.
Steering wheel-mounted controls, dual-zone air conditioning, automatic lights and wipers, keyless entry, parking sensors, heated front seats, panoramic sunroof and adaptive cruise control are just some of the other stars making an appearance to help more than justify the £25,000-plus price-tag.
There’s no skimping on safety equipment either with seven airbags helping to mitigate the effects of any accident while stability control, emergency braking and a slightly overactive front collision warning system help to keep you out of trouble.
Good quality materials are mainly used, giving a soft-touch feel to most surfaces while the fit and finish give a professional feel to proceedings.
There is plenty of space up front, as well as lots of seat and steering wheel adjustment for the driver, while rear passengers have good leg and head room. The S-Cross offers lots of storage space for your nik-naks including a dash-top cubby, a covered bin between driver and front-seat passenger and decent-sized door pockets.
The boot is a nice shape and size at 440 litres, while the rear seats split and fold to create more space when required.
The reboot has put the S-Cross back in the spotlight and it is giving rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar a run for their money. Model: Suzuki S-Cross 1.4 Boosterjet SZ5 ALLGRIP Price: £25,599 Mechanical: 138bhp, 1,373cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox Max speed: 124mph 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds Combined mpg: 49.5 Insurance group: 24 CO2 emissions: 128g/km BiK rating: 26% Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles