Suzuki and sports utility vehicles are something that have been said in the same sentence for decades now with the Vitara models over the years as well as the very basic yet high functional Jimny which is loved around the globe.
This wealth of knowledge has grown over the years and combined with that ultra reliable Japanese engine technology, four wheel drive Suzuki models have been something of a success and indeed many owners would be owners for life.
In recent years the latest “All Grip” four wheel drive technology has made it into the SX4 S-Cross models and with Suzuki’s recently launched “TCSS” twin clutch auto gearbox system with paddle shift, we managed to experience the all new combination for ourselves.
Suzuki’s S-Cross from the outside is a pleasant shape, a sweeping roof-line with a higher ground clearance than a car, yet less than the likes of the Vitara meaning it is very easy to get in and out of. The Cross-Over looks of this vehicle are enhanced by the plastic clad bottom half, offering protection from the elements and when off the beaten track.
Mirrors and door handles are colour coded whilst the front and rear bumpers offer parking sensors on this SZ5 model while the S-Cross is only available in five door. The rear end of the S-Cross is quite boxed off meaning massive practicality for load lugging with the rear seats down.
Roof rails give the option of carrying bikes, kayak’s or a roof box for the adventurists among us while the country gentry benefit from the all wheel drive system and ample room for dogs and guns alike with plenty of style not to look out of place on the estate.
For those living in the hills and far off the beaten track the S-Cross really would be a fantastic all round vehicle for daily family life with safety, practicality and with good 4 season tyres added, all round ability.
This ability off the beaten track is combined with huge agility when in the city, providing users who perhaps enjoy the outdoors but work and live in the city the perfect balance on four wheels. Load space is respectable and in the class it has more room than many competitors.
Adjustable boot floor height and split fold rear seats makes the S-Cross loading capability very versatile and for those into camping or perhaps sports photography or such likes, there is a 12v socket in the boot for ease of running a 240v converter or a compressor for an air bed.
Inside the S-Cross is well laid out, simple yet effective with just enough technology to keep most owners happy. Key-less entry means a start button on the dash whilst the centre dash houses the dual climate control and touch screen media system.
Full leather throughout this model tested with the front seats being heated was a nice addition to the spec however the seats would benefit from much more support to hold you in. Rear seats recline whilst there is ISOFIX points for anchoring child’s seats.
Safety is paramount these days and Suzuki have equipped the S-Cross with 7 air bags and safety in motion can be altered via the “drive mode select” knob beside the handbrake adjusting what mode the car is in depending on conditions under foot.
Media wise there is a substantially sized touch screen in the dash which offers DAB radio, CD playback, USB connectivity, sat nav and Bluetooth, all of which can be controlled via the screen or buttons on the steering wheel. A reverse camera is also visible via the screen to aid parking.
Engine wise and this test model is equipped with the 1600cc DDis engine producing 118bhp with 236lb/ft of torque going through all four wheels when required. 0-62mph is achievable in 13 seconds so there will be no land speed records broken.
This engine does have great benefits though as annual road tax is a mere £30/annum whilst there is a claimed 62.8mpg possible on a combined cycle and during my week testing the car on mixed roads and driving, I came close enough as an average.
Driving wise the S-Cross is best enjoyed in sport mode whilst on the roads and in general was a very nice car to drive with good handling and cornering ability. Driving aids included hill hold control along with cruise control and stop start technology.
The new TCSS gearbox was something I was most looking forward to as in general the twin clutch auto g’box market has been nailed to perfection by the VAG group and as such I was keen to see just how well Suzuki have done in developing their system.
I was pleasantly surprised to say the least; smooth changes which were faster than expected and using the paddles was just as easy as most. I do think that many manufacturers will soon be moving to this type of system and the old school “slush ‘box” will be a thing of distant memory and for a good reason too.
Overall the S-Cross is in a tough segment and I do feel that is fares well within it’s class, good looks and handling combined with decent economy and the all wheel drive system makes it an attractive package with pricing for the SZ5 (top of the range) models starting at £25,149.
Words: Graham Curry