Columnist Mark Slack: Suzuki S-Cross – excellent and endearing SUV

Columnist Mark Slack: Suzuki S-Cross - excellent and endearing SUV. Image - Suzuki

A CAR doesn’t have to be a sporting coupe, luxury saloon or upmarket off‐roader to endear it to its owner. Proof of this is Suzuki’s S‐Cross SUV.

The Japanese car maker has a knack of competing with the big players of the automotive world by innovative packaging and clever engineering. In its latest form the S‐ Cross has gained a welcome new look, albeit some may say it looks like others in the market it has lost the arguably idiosyncratic styling of its predecessor.

Offering all‐wheel‐drive, and Suzuki off‐roaders are extremely capable, six‐speed manual or automatic gears (a proper torque converter automatic) and mild hybrid technology it’s an excellent package. Even in lead‐in form, there are just two trim levels, there’s an abundance of standard equipment that puts more established competitors in the shade.

Priced from €29,126/£24,999 the on road experience is equally good with the eager 1.4‐litre ‘boosterjet’ turbocharged petrol engine’s modest performance figures don’t do the drive justice. It’s more than capable of nipping past slower traffic and the suspension provides a good line between ironing out the bumps but preventing too much body roll. It’s one of the few affordable SUVs that is actually good fun to drive.

My test car was an automatic version made all the better by being a proper torque converter unit as opposed to the more usual double-clutch or e‐CVT. The mild‐hybrid provides slightly improved performance lower down the engine rev’ range in addition to assisting with economy, and lower emissions.

In top‐line Ultra trim it comes with navigation, a superb and large sliding and opening glass panoramic roof, leather-trimmed upholstery, heated seats, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and start and more. The interior has plenty of space and with, in these days of tech overload, sensible levels of digitalisation and proper buttons it’s a nice place to be seated for any journey.

Despite some criticism, I found the interior to be of a nice quality and not at all cheap in build or looks. A simple rotary control brings all‐wheel‐drive abilities and the gearchanges in the automatic transmission are smooth, if a little preemptive on the kick‐down. This is usually from rest when accelerating as the engine is eager to progress, but a quick flick of the paddle shifts soon rectifies matters.

The S‐Cross is an excellent and endearing car for day‐to‐day work and family travels at by today’s standards affordable pricing. This immensely likeable Suzuki deserves success.


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