A replacement for the SX-4. If you look closely it still says SX-4 above the badge on the back.
The current S-Cross has been around since 2104 and Suzuki believes the conservative styling appeals to older buyers looking for comfort over glitz.
Not to be confused with stablemate Vitara, this car is actually slightly larger than Vitara — yes, that’s right larger.
It’s 125mm longer with a 100mm longer wheelbase and that translates to more rear legroom and a bigger boot.
There’s two models, Turbo and Turbo Prestige which gets a few extras including leather.
We’re test driving the entry Turbo. We say ‘entry’ but it doesn’t miss out on much, with a large, glossy infotainment screen that offers satellite navigation.
So, what’s the catch, we hear you ask?
What’s it cost?
Turbo is priced from $26,990 driveaway, the Turbo Prestige from $27,990 driveaway.
Standard kit includes cloth trim, two-zone climate airconditioning, keyless entry and start, tilt and reach adjust steering wheel, 17-inch alloys, rear view camera, 7.0-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and 6-speaker audio.
For another $1000, Prestige adds leather, polished alloys, dusk sensing LED headlights, auto wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror and rear parking sensors.
Safety kit is limited to seven airbags, electronic stability and traction control — the latest proactive systems are all missing.
What’s it go like?
The 1.4-litre turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine produces 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque, the latter between 1500 and 4000 revs.
Weighing in at 1170kg, that gives it a healthy power to weight ratio and this is reflected in the brisk performance.
The fact maximum torque is available all the way from 1500 to 4000 revs plays a major role.
The engine is teamed witrh a 6-speed auto that, even with this grade, comes with gear change paddles that let the driver bang through the gears.
To put the transmission into manual mode the shifter needs to be pulled all the way back.
Unfortunately, the D or Drive position is located one notch forward of this, so it’s easy to inadvertently engage manual mode — frequently.
S-Cross is quick off the line, pulls strongly through the mid-range and is generally fun to drive.
Although it’s an SUV, it misses out on all-wheel drive, in thjis market at least, but the upside is lighter, sportier performance.
If you’te looking to go off road, Suzuki’s mini Jeep, the Jimny, is a better choice.
Suspension is Mac strut at the front with a basic, torsion beam rear setup, and it rides on 17 inch alloys.
There’s plenty of head and legroom up front with adequate legroom in the back, thanks to scooped out seat backs.
The instrumentation is clear and easy to read and like other Suzukis we’ve driven in recent times, the dash is dominated by a large, classy looking 7.0-inch computer screen.
There’s no digital speedo and we were surprised to find fuel consumption measured in litres per kilometre, rather than litres per 100km as is the norm.
It retains a mechanical handbrake which is located on the wrong or furthest side from the driver — not a biggy but still confusing.
While it all sounds pretty good and the performance is certainly there, we’re not huge fans of the new front grille and the overall feel with plenty of hard plastic surfaces in the cabin comes across as functional but rather utilitarian.
With a 47 litre fuel tank fuel consumption is rated at 5.9/100km. We were getting 6.5L/100km after 430km (after doing the maths).
The catch, if you can call it that, is that it misses out on the latest safety aids such as Automatic Emergerncy Braking (AEB), blind spot alert and lane keeping assistance — but take comfort in the fact it still scores a full five stars for safety.
What we like?
Good fuel economy
Practical little wagon
What we don’t like?
Down market feel
Lights don’t turn off themselves
No digital speedo
No rear air vents
No auto braking
Touchscreen at times unresponsive
Ride can be harsh
Occasional clunky gear change
The bottom line?
S-Cross will appeal to those looking at value for money. It’s priced to sell, performs very well and comes with most of the mod cons.
It just feels a little down market and by that we don’t mean cheap, just nothing flash. In this regard it’s probaby time for an update, with the introduction of some funkier styling — it’s worked before.