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Cross Review

Time:2018-02-13 04:13Turbochargers information Click:

review cross

Suzuki knew its SX4 S-Cross wasn’t the most memorable car in an extremely competitive crossover sector, and the 2016 facelift aimed to address that. The more muscular SUV styling and chrome grille will divide opinion, but the rest of the car is an improvement on what was already a good value package. 

The S-Cross’ relative lightness benefits it on the road, meaning it feels agile and responsive, while improvements to the suspension soften the ride. The engines provide peppy performance and decent efficiency – the new 1.0-litre turbo petrol being a particularly strong offering. Refinement still isn’t a strength, however, and despite improvements, the interior could be more solid and plush. At least there’s no shortage of space and equipment on offer.

Given that it’s considerably cheaper to buy than a Nissan Qashqai, it’s easy to overlook the Suzuki S-Cross’ foibles and appreciate how much car you get for your money.

Our Choice 

Our choice: SX4 S-Cross 1.6D SZ-T 2WD

Suzuki’s SX4 S-Cross has been around since 2013, and since then the crossover and SUV market has grown exponentially.  Nearly every mainstream manufacturer is now fielding a competitor in the segment, and even Suzuki itself now has the slightly smaller Vitara on its books.  

It all meant that the S-Cross was getting left behind but a substantial facelift for the 2016 model year aimed to bring the car back into the limelight.  Suzuki worked to improve the old car’s anonymous hatchback-like looks and give it more of an SUV stance with a bold new front end. It also sits 15mm higher off the ground than before. The plan is to help it compete with pricier crossovers such as the Nissan Qashqai, Honda HR-V, Renault Kadjar and Vauxhall Mokka X. 

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There are improved cabin materials and a new infotainment system, plus new features like a reclining seat backrest in the rear. The old 1.6-litre petrol engine was ditched in favour of two turbocharged units found elsewhere in the Suzuki range; a 1.0-litre three cylinder and a 1.4-litre four cylinder. The 1.6-litre diesel remained untouched and the S-Cross can still be had with either front-wheel drive or Suzuki’s ALLGRIP selectable four-wheel drive system.

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There are three trim levels on the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross. Entry-level SZ-4 spec is only available with the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine and comes in at under £15,000. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloys, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, electric heated mirrors and air-con.

Move up to SZ-T spec and you can choose from all three engines, while standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors with a reversing caper, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and an upgraded stereo system.

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Top-of-the-line SZ5 is only available on the 1.4-litre petrol or the diesel, and comes with equipment such as leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof and heated front seats. 

Engines, performance and drive

3.8

The S-Cross handles well for an SUV, and the firm ride and engine range is greatly improved on the 2016 facelift

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is competent rather than exciting on the road, but the same goes for most cars in this class. It’s actually quite a sharp drive by crossover standards – like its smaller Vitara sibling, it’s been set up to handle like a regular hatchback rather than an SUV.

The main reason for the impressive dynamic abilities of the S-Cross is that it’s considerably lighter than most competitors – it weighs as little as 1,160kg, which is barely more than most superminis. As a result, it feels agile and light on its feet, helped by steering which is accurate and has good weighting to it. It’s grippy and easy to place on the road with slick controls, although you can notice body roll at speed. A Mazda CX-3 is more composed, but the Suzuki is still a pretty good drive. The lightness also means that the engines rarely struggle to shift it.

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Before the 2016 updates, that good handling came at the expense of the ride quality, which was unsettled and firm. For the facelift, Suzuki not only raised the ride height by 15mm but also revised the suspension settings to improve stability and comfort. It’s less bumpy as a result, although sharp potholes and low speed ruts still unsettle it more than the best in this class. Road and wind noise are noticeable at high speed too. 

Suzuki's ALLGRIP selectable four-wheel drive system is available with both petrol and diesel variants. That's a bigger range of choice than most rivals, which tend to get four-wheel drive only with the flagship diesel models. The system works very well on muddy tracks, and the extra ground clearance helps, but the system asks for a small performance and weight penalty.

Engines

The most important addition to the latest Suzuki S-Cross is found under the bonnet. Previously, the only petrol engine choice was a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre unit, producing 118bhp and just 156Nm of torque. It felt gutless at low revs, needing to be worked hard to get the best out of it and refinement suffered as a result.

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